University History

From Peanuts to CAM

The history of CSU mascots

February 2008

Although CAM the Ram holds a special place in the heart of every Ram fan, CAM is not the only mascot to have represented our University over the years.

Yell Leader and Mascto, 1919.  University Historic Photograph Collection, Archives and Special Collections, Colorado State University

Yell Leader and Mascot, 1919. University Historic Photograph Collection, Archives and Special Collections, Colorado State University.

Long-forgotten black bear in early 1900s

Piecing together the history of CSU’s mascots requires looking at print sources as well as photographs. A single picture in the University Historic Photograph 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.

English bulldog dubbed Peanuts, 1912

In 1912, another animal would come to represent the College as well, an English bulldog dubbed Peanuts. Peanuts came to the College by the way of J.B. Crabbe, an instructor in the English department and coach of the Shorthorns, the school’s football team. Crabbe purchased Peanuts from a store in Denver and brought him to Fort Collins on the train. Floyd Cross, a student and future faculty member, purchased the dog fro $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, as with the fraternity’s unfortunate milkman. 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.

Playful pooch draws presidential ire

Peanuts, a white dog on a float during College Day Carnival, Circa 196-1917. University Historic Photograph Collection, Archives and Special Collections, Colorado State University

College Day Carnival, Circa 1916-1917. The white dog on the float is Peanuts. University Historic Photograph Collection, Archives and Special Collections, Colorado State University.

Peanuts did raise the ire of President Charles Lory, however. During an assembly, Peanuts marched on stage and this time grabbed the slide of a musician’s trombone mid-song, sending the students into galls of laughter and President Lory into an angry tirade. President Lory demanded Peanuts be removed from his post as mascot, but the student outcry in support of their beloved bulldog ensured his continued position as representative of the College.

In 1917, Battery A, part of R.O.T.C., adopted Peanuts as their mascot as well. The men of Battery A loved Peanuts and he accompanied them to the east coast in preparation for their deployment overseas during World War I. Barred from following the Battery to Europe, Peanuts was shipped back to Colorado in April 1918. Sadly, Peanuts died soon after his arrival in Fort Collins. The campus community decided to "stuff" Peanuts and keep him in the College museum for posterity, but much to their disappointment, the taxidermist could not preserve the dog.

Unofficial mascot in early 1920s

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

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