Is being a Ralphie Runner as cool as it looks?
It is an absolute blast! I love working with the team and working with Ralphie. There is a good amount of work that goes into it during the season but it is worth every second.
What does being a Ralphie Runner entail?
During the week, we have four practices before game day. Two of the practices are strength and conditioning. During these practices, we are not with the buffalo but instead, focus on speed and strength. The other two days are working/running with Ralphie. Finally, depending on when the kick-off is on game day, we will spend the day getting her ready and bringing her to the stadium. Two hours before kick-off we will have “showings,” and this is when people are able to come and take pictures with Ralphie.
When there are no home games for the week, we will have showings in different locations depending on the week. In the end, each week adds up to about 30 hours of time put into running with Ralphie.
After all this, what does a game day look like?
Game day is a blast! If the game is a day game, then we will get up about 6 o’clock to get Ralphie ready from her ranch. When we arrive at the stadium, we start to set up for the showing. This is always a great way for the students and fans to see the best mascot in America, first hand.
After the showing, and before we get set up at the stadium, we take a ride around the hill to get everyone hyped up for the game. Once we arrive within the stadium, it is all about preparation. We line up the trailer so that Ralphie can make a flawless finish after she runs across the field. Then, when it is time to run we set up the panels and ensure that her harness is set up correctly.
Most importantly, we prioritize her safety and make sure that she is ready to run. The coaches will make the call if there is anything that could be harmful to her. For example, if it is raining or snowing too much, we will not run her. After everything is set up, we get ready to run! There is always 5 people on the sides of Ralphie and each position plays their part. The rest of the team is out in the field to set up a wall and tunnel for her to be guided by. Field handlers are also out there to ensure the safety of Ralphie and the safety of everyone on the field.