Colorado announces death of buffalo mascot Ralphie IV

Colorado Ralphie IV
Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports

Colorado announced Monday the passing of its former live buffalo mascot Ralphie IV.

Ralphie joined the program in 1998 and spent 11 seasons with the team before retiring in 2008. She led the Buffaloes onto the field in all 75 games during that span, which included 10 postseason appearances.

Ralphie developed an abnormal growth on her left side with subsequent tests revealing that she was suffering from liver failure. She was humanely euthanized Sunday morning, one month shy of her 20th birthday.

“She was ready to go today,” her caretaker John Graves said. “It was very peaceful. … Almost 20 is fairly old for a buffalo.”

Ralphie was buried at an undisclosed location in Hendersonville, Colorado where she’s resided since her retirement.

Ralphie was donated to the university by media mogul Ted Turner in 1998 and was given the name Rowdy by ranch hands.

Ralphie made her first appearance during Colorado’s 1998 season opener against Colorado State. Her last appearance took place on Aug. 31, 2008 when she was succeeded by Ralphie V, Colorado’s current live mascot.

“She had a great career at the University and enjoyed all the times she led the football team onto the field, both at Folsom and at away stadiums,” Graves said. “After retirement she lived a great life grazing away in her pastures. We lost a great buffalo, a great mascot, and a great icon.”

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