Thursday , 11 February 2016
"This is the biggest game of the season, and I'm just so excited to finally see it from the student perspective. I've been on the sidelines for so long that I have no idea what it's like to be in the stands."
"This is the biggest game of the season, and I'm just so excited to finally see it from the student perspective. I've been on the sidelines for so long that I have no idea what it's like to be in the stands."

CU pre-games the Rocky Mountain Showdown

There’s more to the term “game day” than the calendar date. Buffs fans across the country brought out the black and gold to welcome the 2014 football season at Sports Authority Field Friday night.

Whether your school spirit shows on the field, in the stands or through a CU diploma, pre-game activities and tailgating are surefire ways to put Colorado pride on display.

3:35 p.m., 12th Street and College Ave, Boulder

Students on The Hill donned Buffs merchandise early in the day. With afternoon traffic to Denver in mind, pre-game get togethers were scattered along 12th street hours before kickoff.

"I'm very excited and about to get really drunk...*F---* CSU."
“I’m very excited and about to get really drunk…*F—* CSU.”
"(Winning will) give us some momentum for the next game, and start us off on the right foot. We'll just take off from there...if (freshmen) can see we play a good game, they'll just keep on going to games."
“[Winning will] give us some momentum for the next game, and start us off on the right foot. We’ll just take off from there. If [freshmen] can see we play a good game, they’ll just keep on going to games.”
3:45 p.m., 13th St. and Pleasant St., Boulder

Events akin to the Rocky Mountain Showdown provide local businesses with a night of heavy traffic. The Sink restaurant on The Hill, for example, has traditionally been a popular place to watch the game. Despite the fast-paced night, the waiting staff always enjoys the excitement and playful animosity toward Colorado State.

"What is the atmosphere like here on game nights?" "It's really fun, you know, just a bunch of Buffs fans watching the game and getting excited. The best part of all about it is some people come in (to the Sink)--CSU supporters--which is fun because you give 'em a little bit of guff, but it's all in good fun. It get's really quiet when the game's on...and insanely busy at night... win or lose."
“What is the atmosphere like here on game nights?”
“It’s really fun, just a bunch of Buffs fans watching the game and getting excited. The best part of all is some people come in [to the Sink], CSU supporters, which is fun because you give ’em a little bit of guff. It gets really quiet when the game’s on…and insanely busy at night, win or lose.”
Of course, not all students watch the game or participate in athletic culture at CU. Other local businesses, like the Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe next door to The Sink, do not attract large crowds on game nights.

"It's great, but it's not something I'm personally that into...the football games are fun and people go to have a good time, but I don't think it necessarily does anything...in terms of a community. It feels to me like it's a little bit of a separate culture."
“It’s great, but it’s not something I’m personally that into. The football games are fun, and people go to have a good time, but I don’t think it necessarily does anything…in terms of a community. It feels like it’s a little bit of a separate culture.”

With a recorded attendance of 63,363 at Sports Authority Field, there was little surprise when the drive down US-36 and Federal Boulevard seemed more like a horse-and-carriage journey. Two hours of bumper-to-bumper anticipation brought us to a sea of green, black and gold outside the stadium, visible from the media parking lot.

6:15 p.m., Sports Authority Field, “Ram Country”

To my surprise, our Colorado logos attracted limited attention as we walked through the Rams fans’ parking lot. After braving a few drunken hecklers and many passing glances, a CSU alum allowed us to break the ice.

"How long have you regretted being a Rams fan?" "Never (laughs). I actually feel sorry for all the people over there wearing black and gold."
“How long have you regretted being a Rams fan?”
“Never (laughs). I actually feel sorry for all the people over there wearing black and gold.”

6:30 p.m., Sports Authority Field, “Buff Zone”

Little changed but the surrounding colors when we walked over to the Colorado tailgating areas. The Herd, an alumni organization, ran an event complete with seating, food and merchandise close to the student section entrance. With less than half an hour to go before kickoff, the tailgates were winding down as excitement built.

"What do you think a win today will do for student involvement?" "It's absolutely necessary, absolutely necessary. It's a big game for us and we need to win it."
“What do you think a win today will do for student involvement?”
“It’s absolutely necessary, absolutely necessary. It’s a big game for us and we need to win it.”
"This is the biggest game of the season, and I'm just so excited to finally see it from the student perspective. I've been on the sidelines for so long that I have no idea what it's like to be in the stands."
“This is the biggest game of the season, and I’m just so excited to finally see it from the student perspective. I’ve been on the sidelines for so long that I have no idea what it’s like to be in the stands.”
"How long of a day has it been for you?" "Oh, we've been here since about 9:00 in the morning, so it's been a whole day event."
“How long of a day has it been for you?”
“Oh, we’ve been here since about 9:00 in the morning, so it’s been a whole day event.”

7 p.m., Sports Authority Field, 50-yard-line

Iconic tradition peaked just before kickoff Friday, when the Colorado mascot, Ralphie, charged around the field to welcome players, fans and alumni alike. Being a Ralphie Runner is arguably one of the most exclusive jobs within Colorado Athletics. Only adrenaline junkies and buffalo whisperers need apply.

"What do you talk to Ralphie about?" "I tell her about my day, how my classes are going. I think she really likes the sound of my voice, it keeps her calm."
“What do you talk to Ralphie about?”
“I tell her about my day, how my classes are going. I think she really likes the sound of my voice. It keeps her calm.”

Whether you made the trip to Denver, tuned in to Fox Sports 1, listened to the radio or simply went about your Friday as usual, Colorado pride was tangible all over the state and the country. Pre-game activities are a part of football culture, and as with every event, the Buffs added their signature spice to the day.

Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Jordyn Siemens at jordyn.siemens@colorado.edu. Contact CU Independent Photojournalist James Bradbury at james.bradbury.colorado.edu.

About Jordyn Siemens

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