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Taylor James: A Ralphie Runner Through and Through

It’s game day at CU and the crowd is decked out in black and gold and chanting the fight song to support their buffs.  As the familiar words are announced over the loudspeaker “cinch presents the countdown to Ralphie,” the ralphie runners are told their positions and off they go.  Out charge Ralphie and her handlers (with the football team trailing close behind) and the stadium erupts as Ralphie and her handlers do the traditional sprint down the field. 
A Colorado boy through and through, Taylor James carries on one of the most cherished traditions at CU—running Ralphie.  Born and raised in Colorado, it was only fitting for Taylor to attend CU as his grandpa was the athletic director for Raphie’s debut in 1967 and his step-dad played football for CU during his college career.
“Ralphie is an icon for the University of Colorado, and to be a part of a tradition like this is amazing,” said Taylor.
Trying out for the team at the end of his freshman year, Taylor made the cut along with 14 other ralphie runners.  Every game only five people from the team run Ralphie from her pen on one side of the stadium to her pen waiting for her on the other side of the stadium.  Running the “loop” position, Taylor is in charge of controlling Ralphie’s speed.  Reaching speeds up to 25 mph, the team must train just like any other varsity sport to in order to keep up with their rowdy charge. 
“It’s hard to find the words to explain the moments leading up to the run. Despite all of the extreme things I have done, including jumping out of a plane, I have never experienced the adrenaline rush that you get when running a buffalo,” said Taylor.
On the inside of Taylor’s gloves are his dad’s initials, J.J., who passed away two years ago. “…I feel like every time I run the buffalo, he is right there with to me,” said Taylor.
Currently a junior in the business school, Taylor hopes to someday open his own business.  He spends his free time doing anything outdoors including fishing, skiing, hiking, boating, or biking.  When he is not running Ralphie or studying, Taylor is working in the CU Recreation center. 
Attending the CU football games while he was growing up was a regular family pastime; the University of Colorado has become more than a family affair for Taylor.  “In third grade I made a time capsule as we reached the millennium (year 2000) and in it was a piece of paper with a question: ‘Where do you see yourself in 10 years?’ I responded: ‘Either playing football or running Ralphie at CU,’” said Taylor.