Denver Buff Club
Past Events Summaries
Denver Buff Club Waves the Flag for CU
By Tom Gleason
University of Colorado football fans traveling Highway 36 to Boulder on a crisp fall afternoon begin experiencing the excitement of college football long before they arrive at Folsom Field, thanks to hundreds of black and gold CU flags that line the highway for five miles prior to each home game.
The CU flag program is a project of The Denver Buff Club (DBC), which for seven years has arranged for the colorful display of CU loyalty to greet players and fans traveling to the game along the stretch of highway between the Broomfield and Louisville exits now known as “The Buffalo Highway.” A banner proclaiming “Ralphie’s Route” is placed in front of Sil-Terhar Motors before every home game by Kent Jonsson, a salesman at the automobile dealership. It signals the start of the flags to drivers as they clear the Broomfield overpass.
“When we launched the project,” former Denver Buff Club President Jerry Johnson said, “we believed it to be the only highway flag project in the country. I have traveled to more than 75 Division I-A football stadiums and have never seen anything like it. We started from scratch, and with the help of the Buffs strength and conditioning coach at the time, Doc Kreis, we designed the sleeve-stake that is permanently paced in the ground, bought flag poles, attached the flags, negotiated with the property owners and found a crew to install the flags three hours before kickoff on game day.”
“This unique initiative, coordinated by volunteers, represents the passion of our support base that makes the University of Colorado the special place that it is and distinguishes the Buffs as a national game day leader in pageantry and pride,” said CU Athletic Director Mike Bohn.
The flags are raised by a small crew supervised by Chris Bates, whose son, Justin, lettered for the Buffs from 1999 t0 2003. Braving extremes of weather that can range from scorching summer temperatures to late season snowstorms, Chris and her workers deploy the flags several hours before kick-off and then gather them up after each game has begun. As they work, they often receive appreciative “honks” from passing motorists.
“’The Buffalo Highway’ flag program embodies the spirit of Buff fans on game day,” added Larry Muse, also a former president of The Denver Buff Club. “When those flags pop up on the horizon, CU fans begin to ‘get their game face on’ and our opponents know they are entering ‘our house.’”
In addition to managing the “The Buffalo Highway” flag program, the Denver Buff Club stages the annual CU-CSU kickoff rally and lunch at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Complex, and also hosts Denver lunches with Coach Dan Hawkins on Fridays prior to home games as well as “watch parties” for CU football and basketball road games. An annual golf tournament sponsored by the DBC raises funds for such purposes as the flag program and making contributions to the Golden Buffalo Scholarship Fund for student-athletes or the Student-Athlete Excellence Fund, which supports the operational needs of the CU Athletic Department. Under the leadership of Larry and Janet Muse, the club has also raised funds for the Ralphie Mascot Fund, which provides support for the most famous mascot in college football.
Tom Gleason was the president of The Denver Buff Club prior to the current president Deborah Krier.