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Ask Cam

From Peanuts to Cam

September 2, 2011

Question:

CAM, is your name an acronym for Colorado Agriculture and Mines? If so, you must be fairly old. How many CAM mascots have there been over the years?

1909-1919 - Black Bear Mascot
Cam’s answer:

Hey! My hide isn’t that gray yet! Thanks anyway for asking about my long lineage of mascots.

I couldn’t help noticing you were a little off on your colleges, too. You may have been thinking about Colorado School of Mines, one of our state’s venerable research institutions located in Golden, Colo. Ol’ CAM here at Colorado State University isn’t related all that closely with the Orediggers – maybe in the way distant past, when the West was truly wild and wooly.

But I digress. I'm actually glad you asked about my esteemed forebears, who include a black bear and Peanuts, the bulldog. Sometimes we’ll gather at special reunions (those of us alive and well, that is), and talk about the good times.

I dug through our vast archives of all information great and small and found a terrific article on CSU’s mascots. The story by Kate Legg was originally published in Around the Oval magazine, the Alumni Association's publication.

Here’s the story. Enjoy! (And by the way - the answer to your acronym question is included in the story.)

Black bear

A single picture in the University's historic photo collection reveals a long-forgotten mascot: a black bear wearing an Aggie team sweater at a football game. Although little is known about this bear, he attended football games and parades and served as a mascot from roughly 1909 to 1919.

Peanuts

In 1912, another animal would come to represent the College, an English bulldog dubbed Peanuts. Peanuts came to the College by way of J.B. Crabbe, an instructor in the English department and coach of the school’s football team.

Floyd Cross, a student and future faculty member, purchased the dog for $10 from Crabbe and presented him to the Alpha Pi Lambda fraternity. The fraternity brothers gave Peanuts free run of the campus and the town, although an early Collegian article reported that the brothers were forced to tie Peanuts up after he chased and bit their milkman.

Peanuts’ freedom to roam got him in trouble more than once. The bulldog enjoyed biting car tires and chasing people on occasion. Peanuts rose to Aggie fame as he casually strode into a campus assembly early one morning and disrupted a music performance much to the delight of the student body, who eagerly embraced the dog as their new mascot.

Peanuts served as mascot through two football championships, and appeared in yearbook photos with athletic teams, sometimes wearing a green and gold blanket. He also led Aggie rooters onto the field during halftime, and enthusiastically barked on the sidelines.

Billy Hughes

Several years would pass before another animal replaced Peanuts and become the College mascot. The young son of Coach Harry Hughes, Billy Hughes, served as the unofficial mascot of the football team. Billy appeared at games dressed in a tot-sized Aggie football uniform, and he took front and center in team photographs dating from the early 1920s.

Gallant Defender

Although a small black dog appears in several baseball and track team photos during the 1920s and 1930s, no official mascot represented the Aggies for several years.

In 1936, Glenn Morris, Olympic champion and Aggie alumnus, presented his alma mater with another English bulldog named Gallant Defender. Gallant donned a green and gold cape emblazoned with a large “A” and faithfully served the College as mascot.

In 1945, the student body chose a mascot name, “Aggie Rams,” and an English bulldog was no longer an appropriate fit.

CAM lives forever!

On Jan. 11, 1946, the men’s pep club organization, the Lancers, made a surprise appearance during halftime at the Denver University-Colorado A&M basketball game with a 115-pound domestic ram named Buck. Buck wore a blanket with the words “Aggie Rams” on it.

The Lancers organized a contest for students to name the ram, offering a $5 prize. William Simpson won the contest, naming the ram “CAM” for Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College.

Twenty-two Rambouillet sheep have served as CAM the Ram, and dozens of dedicated CSU students have worked as ram handlers.