Rameses Dies After Head Butt; Son Pablo Becomes Ram XVIII

The white woolen symbol of Carolina was a picture of calm and gentleness on the hectic Kenan Stadium sideline. His easygoing disposition and slow-to-startle nature while fans screamed and fireworks burst above him made Rameses XVII an exceptional member of the long line, said Rob Hogan, who took over from his father as Rameses’ keeper in 1995.

But the Tar Heel mascot will guard the Kenan hedges no more. He died April 24 after an infection took hold of the wound where one of his spiral-shaped horns was knocked off in a head-butting bout with his son Pablo.

The two were butting “quite hard” in the field on the 180-acre farm where they lived, Hogan said – not unusual behavior for two rams – but Rameses was no match for his younger and stronger son. Pablo, a 3-year-old Horned Dorset, is 20 pounds heavier than his father, who was 8 years old.

“Rameses is quite old, so his age worked against him, his horns might have been brittle,” Hogan said. “His horn just was broken off at the skull – just a little nub.”

“It’d be like an elderly man fighting a teenager,” Hogan added. “It just was too much.”

Hogan wrapped the wound and gave Rameses penicillin. He rebounded but relapsed.

“He got to where he was suffering, and he’s not where he’s suffering anymore,” Hogan said, who has a degree in animal husbandry from N.C. State University and has treated livestock and cattle all of his life.

Rameses XVII was retired after the Duke game last fall, Hogan said. Pablo, named by Hogan’s sons, is newly dubbed Rameses XVIII. He’ll be trained to be led, to get in and out of the pickup truck to get to the games, to have his horns painted blue, to be combed with a wool brush and to be washed to make his creamy yellow wool turn white.

“So the best thing I can say is that he’s in training and coming along real well,” Hogan said. “He seems like he’s in the making of a real nice ram. He’s nice as his dad right now.”

In 1924, Hogan’s grandfather, Henry Hogan ’24, began the family’s tradition of caring for the successive rams, all named Rameses, that otherwise would have become the targets of marauding students and rival schools. The elder Hogan had been a member of UNC’s football team in 1924, the year in which UNC adopted the ram as its mascot.

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