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BY HALLIE WOODS
In an effort to rally more support from the Fort Collins community, Colorado State University jazzed up fans for the first home football game at a pep rally in Old Town Square on Thursday night. More than 100 CSU supporters watched as members of the CSU football team and coach Sonny Lubick spoke to the crowd after being pumped up by the cheerleading squad and marching band. "Our players are ready to play," Lubick told cheering fans. The team will host the No. 10 California Golden Bears at noon Saturday.
The rally, the first in nearly a decade, was organized through a partnership with the Downtown Business Association and CSU. "The support (from the community) is good but we want it to be better," said Gary Ozzello, senior associate athletic director at CSU. "This is our way of trying to engage the community." City Manager Darin Atteberry and Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David May were on hand to cheer on the Rams. The CSU marching band will march through downtown into restaurants and local businesses Friday nights before home games to keep support for the team high.
"We want the game to be a central part of an entire weekend of entertainment," Ozzello said. Ozzello said he hopes to have more events like the pep rally in the future but wanted to use this rally as a test run. "This looks like a success," he said. "We hope we can do this more often." Fort Collins residents and CSU alumni Linda and Bob Cates said they believe support for the CSU football team is very strong at games but that the community could always provide more support. Events such as the pep rally will help increase that support and excitement, Linda Cates said. "I think the new athletic director has come up with some great ideas drumming up support for the community," she said. Marching band member Ann D-Albergaria said in her first year at CSU that she is already feeling the support from the community. "The support is absolutely amazing," she said. "It really makes us feel at home here in Fort Collins." Many of those in attendance said they planned on continuing their support of the Rams at the game Saturday. "It's going to be a challenge, especially coming off of a heart- breaking loss," said Frank Faucett, a Fort Collins resident and a 1951 graduate of CSU.