His ears are tagged with the number 750. His halter reads “CAM.”
This particular Colorado State University rambouillet ram has served as the university’s mascot for three years.
“[Cam is] a sweet guy and a good boy,” said Kate Alexander, a junior CSU student studying equine science. “He’s been a good ram to take to events.”
Ram Handler Conor McCormick, a junior double major in wildlife and zoology, added that Cam is pampered.
Rams are chosen as the CSU mascot based on their temperament and how good they are with people.
“When they’re at these events, there’s so much going on that they have to be comfortable with people in a variety of situations,” Alexander said, who has been a ram handler since last semester. “We do a lot of halter skills and handling to get him comfortable with us first before we start bringing him to public events, but we make sure to take it really slow.”
The length of time a ram serves as a mascot is determined by the ram’s behavior.
“When they start showing us that they aren’t willing to go to events and are not as comfortable in a public setting, that’s when we consider retiring them,” Alexander said.
Cam the Ram, 5, and the previous CSU mascots have all come from a ranch in Texas. Normally, this breed is utilized for wool production. The breed is chosen as the CSU mascot for their curly horns.
The ram handlers said Cam is notable as one of the only domesticated university mascots.
Alexander said 11 to 12 students are designated as ram handlers. These students fill out online applications to be considered for the coveted position. Ram handlers come from many different areas of study, but all have a background in animal handling experience.
Cam is kept shorn for presentation at sporting events, but also so ram handlers can check for cuts.
One of the challenges of working with Cam is that he can show agitation, according to Alexander.
Some people forget that Cam is an animal and add to his agitation, according to Tyler Threw, a graduate student working on his master’s degree in business administration. Children can have an especially difficult time staying away from the ram, which can become a matter of safety.
This is Threw’s first year working with Cam.
Preparing Cam for events such as football games takes about an hour, but varies depending on how dirty he is. Preparation includes bathing and blow drying Cam. Between two and four ram handlers work together to prepare Cam for appearances.
Cam lives with two ewes on a private residence owned by a faculty member. Alexander said Cam’s favorite activity is eating. His diet includes grass hay and grains with molasses. Ram handlers take turns feeding Cam at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.
“I don’t think he has ever missed an event,” McCormick said.
Collegian Interactive News Team Member Katie Schmidt can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @KatieDSchmidt. Collegian Reporter Dina Alibrahim Fike can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dnalibrahim.