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Showdown says goodbye to 2 decades of Mile High

Empower+Field+at+Mile+High+in+Denver%2C+Colorado.
Collegian | Michael Marquardt
Empower Field at Mile High in Denver Sept. 4.

With rivalries that run old and deep, traditions are expected, including where an iconic game like the Rocky Mountain Showdown will be played. 

For two decades, Colorado State University and the University of Colorado Boulder played this game at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, the NFL stadium serving as a neutral ground for the Rams and the Buffs. The last time both teams played in Denver was Aug. 30, 2019, when the Buffs solidified a five-win streak, beating the Rams 52-31.

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However, after a four-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and scheduling difficulties, this Rocky Mountain Showdown will be played at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado, this year. This arrangement will be a return to the original agreement before both teams started playing each other at Mile High in 1998

With the new field location change as well as ticket sales and the power of a significant rivalry, the energy leading up to this event has been palpable.

When asked how he felt about the new changes, Assistant Director of Community Engagement and Marketing for CSU Athletics Patryk Tousignant said this would be a positive change, allowing for a more exciting experience for fans. 

“It’s something that creates electricity in the environment of college football,” Tousignant said. “Some kids can’t go to the Rocky Mountain Showdown because (it’s in) Boulder, or some people can’t go to Denver and do that. With it going from place to place, you’re able to have students who don’t usually get that experience to be there.”

With the new agreement, CSU will be playing CU on and off for the next 18 years with a switch-off between which stadium will host. On Sept. 14, 2024, the Rams will play the Buffs at Canvas Stadium. So for those who were not able to buy tickets to this year’s game, there will still be a chance next year. 

There are other benefits to the site-to-site movement agreement the two schools have settled on. One is ESPN’s very own College GameDay, a college football pre-show that travels to different campuses every week of the season to show off the city and college and broadcast the game. The program will be hosted in Boulder this Saturday for the showdown.

“Imagine if College GameDay came here to Fort Collins and CSU to show off the city and to show off the school,” Tousignant said. “I think it’s going to elevate the status of not just CSU and CU but this rivalry as a whole.”

This new transition will be the norm for the next eight Rocky Mountain Showdowns until Sept. 11, 2038, when the Rams and Buffs are set to play at Canvas Stadium. The hope for the new site-to-site method will be that the energy will continue to build and that it will allow fans to see their favorite teams in their hometowns.

“It’s been a spectacular thing,” Tousignant said. “It’s been memorable because no matter how good one team is or how many expectations you have, it’s still a good game because anything is possible, and that is really what makes college football what it is.”

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Reach Ayla Sanchez at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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About the Contributor
Ayla “AJ” Sanchez is an editor for the news desk at The Collegian starting the fall semester of 2023. She hopes to bring accurate and positive news to The Collegian and get coverage on the things that matter to Colorado State University and Fort Collins as a whole. Sanchez is new to CSU and The Collegian, having no experience in news writing before joining. A transfer from the Community College of Denver, Sanchez hopes to learn more about university life and the traditions surrounding CSU. Her goal is to thrive in this new environment and make a new start for herself. Sanchez is a double major in journalism and political science with a minor in history. Her goal is to become a representative of Colorado to bring change within the state and the country as a whole. She hopes to gain experience while at CSU that will help her reach her goal. Outside of work and school, Sanchez loves to hike, visit various bodies of water — City Park’s lake being her favorite — and walk to 7-Eleven for a nice cold Slurpee. She's excited for the winter since building snowmen and snowball fights are her favorite activities. Sanchez is excited for the kick-off of the new school year and to be one of this year's news editors.

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