Who has spirit? Yes, we do! Thousands of dollars in fines’ worth of spirit, in fact.
Who has spirit? Yes, we do! Thousands of dollars in fines' worth of spirit, in fact. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

CU Buffs fans are so spirited, it actually cost the university money last year.

Excited spectators rushed the field during the last football season, causing CU to face at least $25,000 fines under a new rule created especially for Buffs.

The first offense for rushing the field in the first minute after a game ends is $25,000, the second is $50,000 and the third is 100,000.

So unless you want to see your parents' hard-earned tuition dollars going to pay for your five minutes of fun after a football game, here are some other options to express your school spirit.

The C-Unit

The C-Unit is like a giant, undulating Trojan Magnum condom wrapper — full of bluster and decked out in black and gold.

Much like a condom with a boastful name, black and gold doesn't always mean someone has game.

But the Buffs' had game this year, rising from the overly expensive underground wine cellar of the Pac-12 to playing in the championships. Er, where they lost, but still.

Taylor Thomas, a senior studying computer science engineering, has taken on the Sisyphean task of encouraging CU students to go to sports games and, more importantly, she coordinates the card stunts.

Card stunts are when whole sections of the stadium flips over a giant card and the full effect is a phrase or design.


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Thomas said she was very proud of the most successful card stunts during the past football season — when scores of students spelled out #TheRiseIsReal to denote the Buffs' rise from the aforementioned cellar of their conference.

Joining the C-Unit is easy and relatively cheap.

All you have to do is go find something black or gold and show up to games. If you want to go all out, hit up the C-Unit Facebook page at Facebook.com/folsomfrenzy to coordinate card stunts, chest paintings and more.

Thomas said students get very creative.

"I see students at Michael's all the time getting fabric to create costumes. One day, we dressed up as priests against ASU, and another time we all wore Moses costumes," Thomas said. "It's to tease the other team and distract them a little bit — you know, be a little rowdy and catch the other team off guard."

Ralphie handlers

If you thought running beside a live buffalo in front of a rabid, screaming audience would be an easy way to flesh out your extracurricular resume, think again (and also, like, maybe calm down a little bit).

John Graves, the program manager for the Ralphie live mascot program, said each handler puts in about 30 hours per week year-round, without pay.

The handlers build up their strength and conditioning, do practices with Ralphie and perform basic buffalo care for her. Yes, Ralphie is a her. It's 2017 — get with the times, man.

Five handlers run with Ralphie per game — two on each side and one at the back to control her speed. Ten other people make sure the path is clear and no objects (or stupid freshmen) are in the way.

Graves said the position of Ralphie handler is coveted.

"We replace handlers as they graduate, and this year there are only three seniors graduating, so we're looking to take three, and typically between 50 and 70 people apply each year and try out. Most years, it's very competitive, and this year it's very, very competitive to get one of those three spots."

What are Ralphie handler tryouts? If you were picturing a Gladiator-style standoff in front of the entire school like I was, we are both going to be sorely disappointed.

Graves and his team review all the applications and have everyone come out for speed trials, which are three timed 100-yard sprints. Then, all the applicants are invited to a spring football game to see what the handlers do on a game day to prepare.

Once the field is narrowed down to about 15 applicants, wannabe Ralphie handlers still must pass the in-person interview with coaches and the outgoing seniors.

Think you have what it takes? Go get started with an application at bit.ly/2gW0Ha8.

Karen Antonacci: twitter.com/ktonacci