BOULDER, Colo. -- Ralphie V, the University of Colorado's live buffalo mascot for most of the past 12 seasons, is retiring, athletic director Rick George announced Tuesday.
Ralphie, who turned 13 in October, is in excellent health, but as the football season progressed this year, she wasn't having the consistency she previously displayed.
Previous Ralphies slowed down as they got older, but Ralphie V had been running too fast, causing safety concerns for her handlers.
She also had not been responding to cues from her handlers and she was held back from leading the football team onto the field for CU's last two home games against USC and Stanford.
"Ralphie V has served the department and the university well," George said. "She has been a very special buffalo and has truly been adored by many. We hope she lives for many years to come and look forward to finding her successor."
Ralphie V will make her final appearance at CU's final home game on Nov. 23 against Washington. She will not run, but there will be a celebration of her career.
She will make public appearances for the university until Ralphie VI is groomed for the 2020 season.
Ralphie V will continue to live on her ranch with a companion buffalo under the program's care as previous Ralphies have done.
CU has had a live buffalo lead the team onto the field at the start of games and at halftime for 53 seasons. Only 13 times has a Ralphie not led the team out at Folsom Field during that span.
Ralphie V led the team 76 times and retires as the second-longest serving live mascot. The original Ralphie ran at 78 games in 12 seasons.
Ralphie II ran at 53 games in nine seasons, Ralphie III ran 73 times in 11 seasons and Ralphie IV ran at 75 games in 10 seasons.
A replacement has been prepared for some time and potential candidates are in the process of being identified.