How a stolen ram almost got me tossed from URI

During my junior year, I lived with 10 other dairy students above the processing plant at the dairy barn. One of our responsibilities was to take care of the ram mascot. A week before the big UConn football game, we realized the ram was missing. We figured UConn students had stolen the ram, so we decided to go to Storrs to find it. When we arrived, the ram was nowhere to be found, so we headed back to Kingston—cold, wet, and unsuccessful.

On the way home, we came across a small used car dealership that was on fire. There was a house very close to the fire, so we woke up the family inside and called the fire department. (We made it back to campus just in time to milk the 80 cows before class.)

The next morning’s Providence Journal headline read, “URI students help save family and property in Connecticut fire.” Since there was a strict policy against being on the opposing team’s campus before a game, our good deed got us in some hot water. I was called to the dean’s office, where I explained that we were just trying to get our ram back. The dean spoke to the presidents of both URI and UConn, and they decided it wouldn’t be right to expel us after we had been such good Samaritans.

In the end, I met a group of UConn students at the state line and got the ram safely back to URI in my red Jeep CJ5, with the ram’s big head and blue horns between the bucket seats. The story of the ram rescue never got out and we never found out what happened to the UConn students responsible for the ramnapping. And I don’t remember who won the game! But after all these years, I still remember the ramnapping and the rescue like it was yesterday.

—Bill Menzi Jr. ’63

Editor’s note: In 1961, the URI-UConn matchup was URI’s homecoming game; UConn prevailed. The Rams-Huskies rivalry dates back to the 1890s, and the ramnapping tradition, which grew out of that rivalry, began in the 1930s. A ramnapping trophy was awarded to the winner of each year’s URI-UConn football game. The trophy is now housed at the J. Robert Donnelly Husky Heritage Sports Museum on the UConn campus in Storrs.