Eckburg: We care about CAM, so we get to keep him

Bella Eckburg

Colorado State University ram handlers lead CAM the Ram across the Intramural Fields during Ram Welcome Aug. 19. (Michael Marquardt | The Collegian)

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The first live Ram mascot came on the scene at Colorado State University in 1946, a year after the then-Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College student body’s vote to rename themselves the “Rams.” Then, in 1954, CAM officially earned his name — the one we now know and love. 


The University is now CSU, but our legacy as Colorado A&M follows closely in the form of a Rambouillet sheep — if you listen closely, you can hear the clip-clop of his little hooves. Now, if you ask most CSU students, they will tell you CAM is much more than a ram — he is the embodiment of school spirit and tradition. 

CAM the Ram is one of many live mascots that represent colleges across the country, and there are many reasonable objections to having real animals as mascots.

Louisiana State University, for one, has a live tiger named Mike. When you get past the cool aspect of having a tiger on campus, there are certainly a lot of issues that arise, and that’s not just People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals talking. 

But CSU should be able to keep our tradition of having a live mascot because we, as an agriculture school at heart, truly value CAM as a mascot, and we are able to provide the best life for him. 

Sure, there are a plethora of reasonable objections for universities owning and parading a live animal as their mascot, but it’s clear CSU’s love for CAM the Ram runs deep.

CAM the Ram is cared for by a team of 18 handlers — all of whom are directed by Logan Litchfield, the Ram Handler captain. 

There is a lot of work that goes into caring for CAM, but luckily we have a team … (who) are all super excited and willing to share the load,” Litchfield said. “As ram handlers, we are responsible for training CAM and making sure he has everything he needs to be comfortable.”

The ram handlers do it all, from trimming CAM’s hooves and grooming him to preparing him for game days, but they’re also here for the fun. 

“My favorite part (of) working with CAM is seeing how happy he makes everyone he comes in contact with,” Litchfield said. “We have the privilege of working with CAM and sharing him with the community. He really is one of the things that bring people from CSU’s past, present and future together.”

The Ram Handler program is managed and supported by the CSU Alumni Association, further upholding our long-held love for CAM and supporting CSU students. Students can apply to the Ram Handler program online and must commit to a one-year position, ensuring CAM is extremely comfortable and familiar with his team of handlers and that the handlers are well-trained. 

“I think universities with live mascots really have a unique and neat opportunity from the perspective that people are able to connect with an actual living thing,” Litchfield said. “From my personal experience being a ram handler during tough times, it is great to see people get so excited when they see CAM in person and want to take pictures with him.”


Another argument about having a live mascot is they might be afraid of the crowds and loud noises, especially when attending athletic events, but Litchfield said this isn’t the case for CAM, especially when petting is in the mix. 

“There are things CAM likes in general: … being scratched on his head, behind his ears and under his chin,” Litchfield said. “He also really likes knowing that we are always close to him and will keep him safe. That being said, he really is not bothered by cheering from the crowd or fans and actually really enjoys interacting with them.” 

Funnily enough, CAM is also a music fan — especially when it’s his theme song bumping around the stadium. 

“One of my favorite — and funny — things that CAM does is what I call ‘bopping,’” Litchfield said. “When we are walking CAM and music is playing, he sort of bobs his head and body up and down. It’s sort of like he’s dancing to the music just like everyone else.”

Sure, there are a plethora of reasonable objections for universities owning and parading a live animal as their mascot, but it’s clear CSU’s love for CAM the Ram runs deep. We are fully committed to giving CAM the best life a Rambouillet sheep could ask for, and we deserve to keep him.

“You can really see a special, indescribable beacon of hope and passion that CAM gives people,” Litchfield said. “I will never forget coming out of the tunnel at the first in-person football game since COVID-19 hit. We walked CAM out of the tunnel and I heard a roar behind us. When I looked behind me, I saw a completely packed student section that put a huge smile on my face and made me proud to be a CSU Ram.”

Bella Eckburg can be reached at or on Twitter @yaycolor.