As the Colorado State University Rams prepare to take the field for their second home game on Sept. 17, a hungry crowd will take part in another Fort Collins tradition – Ag Day. This year’s Ag Day, the 35th since it began in 1981, will also be the last one at Hughes Stadium: Football games and the Ag Day tailgate move to the on-campus stadium in 2017.
“Over the past 35 years, Ag Day has helped Colorado State University showcase the vast and unique diversity of Colorado agriculture,” said Ajay Menon, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “Ag Day marries two quintessential American traditions — agriculture and football. At CSU, this tradition and the celebration of agriculture afford us another opportunity to provide students access to a world-class education, access made possible by resources raised for student scholarships.”
Ag Day was created by “Fum” McGraw, a CSU football legend who served as athletics director from 1976 to 1986. Animal Sciences Professor John Matsushima suggested to McGraw that CSU partner with the beef industry to put on the very first Ag Day. In 1981, 10 commodity groups supported Ag Day, and the event’s proceeds contributed to one student scholarship. Since the event’s early days, more than 200 scholarships have been provided to students, totaling nearly $500,000.
Some 3,500 people attend Ag Day each year and enjoy a pregame feast that includes a number of Colorado commodities including beef, pork, lamb, beans, dairy products, wheat, potatoes and more.
In addition to live music, interactive exhibits will feature college student organizations, a forestry display and a number of farm implements.
This year, Colorado 4-H also will be highlighted, with interactive, STEM-focused activities. 4-H is a community of young people across Colorado and the United States learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. 4-H raffle tickets will be sold for a chance to win a Ford F-150 truck, donated by local Ford dealers. The winning ticket will be drawn during Ag Day festivities. Proceeds from the raffle support Colorado 4-H programs statewide. During halftime of the football game, members of the Colorado 4-H Hall of Fame (www.colorado4h.org/hall-of-fame) will be recognized.
Barbecue tickets are available at http://agday.agsci.colostate.edu/ and can be purchased on their own or in packages that include football game tickets. This year, a commemorative 35th anniversary T-shirt will be available along with the annual Ag Day hat for $15 each. Tickets can also be purchased on game day at Ag Day will-call.