Cam Mills always wanted to be a Ram.
Mills, 18, a freshman at Colorado State University and a 2013 Windsor High School graduate, is one of the “Ram Handlers” for CAM the Ram, the university’s official mascot.
How appropriate that Cam is a Ram who is handling CAM the Ram.
Introduced in 1947, CAM the Ram is a bighorn sheep who has his own traveling trailer and cheers on the Rams’ athletic teams.
The letters of CAM’s name stand for Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College, the university’s former name.
According to the CSU website, the current CAM is a Rambouillet Ram and the 22nd CAM to serve CSU.
“I’ve been a Ram fan all my life. Ever since I was a kid, my mom would call me Cam the Ram,” Mills said. “I knew I wanted to go to CSU since I was a kid. When I found out you could actually be a Ram Handler, I absolutely just jumped right on it. I was so excited, nervous at the same time. I knew that if I really wanted to do it, I could get it.”
Mills, who is studying ag business and construction management at CSU, said he was interviewed for the position that is chosen by the alumni center.
“You go through an interview, you have to have two letters of recommendation and during your interview they ask you if you can lift 50 pounds of feed, handle livestock or handle big crowds in general,” said Mills, the son of Pamela and Doug Mills of Windsor. “I never worked with livestock before and that kind of came as a shocker. They kind of looked at me and were like, ‘So you never handled livestock and you want to be a Ram Handler.’ I said, ‘It’s been a dream all my life. I’ve been a Rammie ever since I was a kid. I learn fast.’ ”
Mills’ first experience handling CAM the Ram was recently at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. His next handling job will be on Feb. 22 at Moby Arena during the men’s basketball game between CSU and Wyoming.
Mills said CAM weighs between 250-300 pounds, and there are 15 Ram Handlers for CAM.
“You just have to keep CAM calm. Hold onto his lead rope and make sure he doesn’t freak out at all,” said Mills, a member of the Windsor FFA/Ag chapter for four years while at WHS. “Those horns of his are the perfect child height. As long as you keep his head still, everything’s fine.”
It’s a volunteer position and Mills said he plans to be a Ram Handler throughout his time at CSU. He’s the only freshman in the RAM Handler lineup this year. Mills said he has to sign up for at least five handling assignments per semester. There are three Ram Handlers per event.
Mills said most people pet CAM, take photos with him and ask questions about CAM.
“He’s kind of like me to be straight up honest. He’s extremely hard-headed, but he knows when to put his nice face on. He’s great with kids, great with people and everybody loves to see him,” Mills said. “He’s really easy to handle in front of big groups, but once you get him one on one, he knows who he can pick on. My first time watching CAM, I had a towel on my shoulder, went into his pen, he stopped eating, looked at me, backed into a corner and he’s like, ‘I know what you’re trying to do. I will not get out of this pen.’ It took me a pretty good chunk of time to get him out and get him on the stand. He definitely knows who he can pick on for sure.”