Nov. 30, 2012
Editor's note: The following article was published in the latest edition of The Horn magazine. For information on how you can receive upcoming issues of The Horn, call 970-491-4666.
By Gary Ozzello
Dick Wiedeman has seen it all.
Since 1970, it would be easy to find Wiedeman any Saturday Colorado State’s football team was playing a home game at Hughes Stadium.
Walk down the stairs at the stadium to section D, Row 9, seats 13 and 14. There sits Wiedeman, anxiously awaiting the Rams in action. And one row behind him is Dave, his Ram fan companion at games for the past 42 years.
“CSU is my passion. I don’t do much else. But what I do is CSU athletics,” Wiedeman said. “It’s something I do to support the student-athletes. I want to support them any way I can.”
Wiedeman’s support includes membership in the Ram Club, which provides financial support to the athletic department’s scholarship fund.
“I give because of the passion I have for the kids. You see them grow up and become great citizens in our community.”
Wideman hasn’t missed a home game in more than four decades, and his support for CSU’s program and in particular the student-athletes, has been unwavering.
“I know that winning is the goal, but the other things are really important. It’s the intangibles. Those kids need support, win or lose,” he said.
He firmly believes Rams’ coach Jim McElwain will lead CSU back to national prominence.
“He (McElwain) loves those kids and he wants to develop them as individuals. Coach Mac is going to bring out the best in these kids.”
Wiedeman now sees things a bit differently before each game. Usually, the passionate Ram fan spent the hours preceding the game tailgating with family and friends outside the stadium.
But beginning this season with the team’s new entrance into the stadium, Wiedeman has new duties. He drives the Dodge Ram truck that escorts three busloads of players and coaches to the parking lot in time for Ram Walk, then leads the team on the field while driving the truck.
For the 66-year-old Wiedeman, it’s the dream of a lifetime.
“It was awesome,” he said describing his first trip down the middle of the field in the pickup. “I enjoyed it and it was so much fun. What was neat was to hear all of the noise, all of the fans hollering and screaming.”
Wiedeman said he’s honored to have been selected to drive the pickup.
“I appreciate this opportunity. It means a lot to me and I’m so humbled to have been selected,” he said.
As often as possible, Dick, whatever friends and family members he can assemble trek to various road games.
Wiedeman fondly remembers wins, losses, bowl trips, and road trips following CSU.
“It’s been a fun deal. I remember the good times, the winning teams and being ranked in the top 25,” he said. “It was neat to see the growth of the program, and I know we’re going back up under Coach Mac.”
Having seen eight of the 10 bowl games in which CSU has played, Wiedeman’s fond memories are many.
But a handful of games rise to the top, including a Halloween Night game against BYU on ESPN in 1991.
A snowstorm had blown threw town and left frigid temperatures in its wake.
“The wind chill was about 20 below,” he recalled. “It was SO cold, but there I was in the stadium.”
He still vividly remembers CSU’s victory at Arizona in 1994 that catapulted Sonny Lubick’s squad into the top 10, as well as a game having to be played against Tulsa on a Sunday afternoon, after a major blizzard hit town.
While Wiedeman hasn’t missed a home game, he’s seen the Rams in action on the road plenty, joining family and friends in driving to several contests.
In fact, he’s made Ram football a family affair alongside his son, Dave, over the past four decades.
“I’ve never known anything different. I started going to games with him in 1971. It’s all we know as a family. It’s been like that my whole life,” said the younger Wiedeman.
“It’s become part of his life, part of our family life. When I was younger and played JAA (Junior All-American) football and played the late game, I went in my uniform, or I went late. He wasn’t going to miss the CSU game.”
“It’s spread to my family, too. My daughter was born on Sept. 1, 2000. The CSU-CU game was Sept. 2, and CSU won 24-20. I was worried I was going to have to miss the game. There are a lot of people like him out there."
Dave said Ram football has been a unifying force in their father-son relationship.
“CSU football kept my dad and I connected to each other. It’s our thing. It’s what we do.”
“He’d do anything to be sure he won’t miss the game.”
Wiedeman looks forward to continuing to lead the team on the field each game. It’s one of the many things he cherishes about the program.
“There are so many good things about the program, more than just wins and losses.”
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