About 13 days ago, a living tradition was continued with the birth of triplet baby rams, commonly known as lambs.
All three lambs were born at Hogan’s Magnolia View Farm located on Old N.C. 86. The Hogan family has volunteered to take care of the Rameses lineage since the mascot’s inception.
The mascot tradition began in 1924 when a UNC cheerleader thought a ram would be a suitable mascot for the football team in honor of the fullback Jack Merrit who was nicknamed “the battering ram.” The first Rameses was purchased from Texas.
Don Basnight works at the Hogan family farm and cares for Rameses. He said the animals are a distinct breed of ram known for its curling horns.
“The little ones were born on a beautiful spring morning,” he said. “The breed is called the Horned Dorset, which is a progressively rare breed that is raised for their wool.”
Basnight said the baby rams are in good health and are full of energy. After decades of taking care of the mascot’s lineage, Basnight said the farm has grown more focused on simply raising the rams.
“We mainly treat the rams like pets,” he said. “They are sweet. Particularly when you pet them every day and bottle feed them when they are young. The farm is much less active than it once was.”
Basnight said they will pick a male ram from the newborns that exhibit the right qualities to become the next Rameses.
“We look for a strong, handsome ram with the right curl to his horns and is naturally good around people,” he said.
“Rameses lives most of his life in a barn, and for just eight times a year he becomes surrounded by over 20,000 people. It can be a big change.”
Chris Hogan , whose family owns the farm, helps ensure that Rameses is prepared and healthy for every football game.
Hogan shared his method for preparing the current Rameses — the 19th ram titled as the mascot since the tradition began — for game days.
“We wash him with Dawn dish detergent to make his wool look white as a snowball,” he said. “We also paint the horns Carolina Blue with latex paint for every game.”
Hogan said taking care of Rameses can require a lot of effort but is also a lot of fun.
“We are glad to be able to do it,” he said. “It is a great gift we like to give the University, and the fans love Rameses.”
Sophomore Austin Stephens said the mascot holds deep pride in the fan base at UNC.
“Being the only school in the ACC that has a live mascot makes for a unique tradition,” he said. “Personally, I would love to see this tradition continued.”