Bringing the Buzz on Game Day

This entry is part 26 of 28 in the series Fall - 2017



by Tony Phifer

Lack of parking. Snarled traffic. Too many people, not enough space.

John Arnolfo has heard it all before, so he’s quick to point out to critics of Colorado State University’s new on-campus stadium and its perceived challenges that he has managed to survive – and thrive – facing those same challenges on a daily basis.

Arnolfo, you see, is the longtime owner of the Silver Grill Cafe, the iconic Old Town eatery that might be the best-known restaurant in Fort Collins. He serves thousands of cinnamon rolls and other breakfast and lunch delights weekly, despite the fact that customers often have to search for parking, battle annoying traffic, and fight through crowds to nab a table.

“Parking was a problem downtown 38 years ago – and it’s STILL a problem,” he said with a laugh. “That just comes with the territory, but you learn to adjust and deal with it.”

TWO GENERATIONS of Rams fans, Pierce and Stan Hornung

“I’ve been to a lot of games at on-campus stadiums all over the country and it’s just a completely different atmosphere. There is a buzz all across campus on Game Days.”

– Stan Hornung

That said, Arnolfo (B.A. Business Administration, ’74) can’t wait to be part of the inaugural season at CSU’s new stadium. He started attending CSU games in 1969 – one year after Hughes Stadium opened – and has held Rams season tickets for at least 25 years.

“I went to all the games as a student, and I’ve been going to most of the games ever since,” he said. “I loved Hughes, but I’ve always been a big supporter of the stadium being on the campus. Honestly, I don’t think it will impact my business one way or the other, but I think it’s a great thing for CSU, the students, the community, and the overall game-day experience.”


Stan Hornung, a former CSU football player who lives in Arvada, said his family has been part of Rams Game Days for more than 60 years. His father and two uncles both attended CSU, and football Saturdays were a big part of that experience.

“We have three generations of Rams, and my family has attended a lot of games at Hughes,” said Hornung (B.S. Agricultural Business, ’84). “There were a lot of great memories for the Hornung family out there.”

Hornung, though, won’t be shedding a tear when the Rams transition this season to the new stadium.

“I’m not one of those guys who was endeared to Hughes, even though I played there,” said Hornung, whose son, Pierce, was a standout basketball player for the Rams and currently is on coach Larry Eustachy’s staff. “I could never figure out why it was built where it was. At the last game (of the 2016 season) I was thinking, ‘Thank goodness they’re shutting this place down and getting back on campus.’

“I’ve been to a lot of games at on-campus stadiums all over the country and it’s just a completely different atmosphere,” he added. “There is a buzz all across campus on Game Days, and we’re going to start experiencing that this fall. I’m excited as hell!”

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