Be ‘A’ part of tradition

Bill Woods first helped paint the A on the hillside below Horsetooth Reservoir in 1954 when he was a freshman at Colorado A&M — now CSU. That’s when he first grasped the feeling associated with participating in a cherished tradition.

“This is one of our really great traditions because it represents where we started as a university and where we have come,” said Woods, 77. “These are traditions that need to keep going, and I think all students should participate at least once during their time at CSU.”

The A was first built in 1923, although the original was smaller than the current version. It now stands 410 feet high and 250 feet wide, and is thought to be the largest collegiate symbol in the country. It’s even used for aerial navigation by pilots flying overhead.

Woods graduated in 1958 and remains a passionate CSU supporter. He’s been volunteering his services to oversee the annual painting project since 1981.

This year, the A will be painted Saturday, Sept. 20. Three shifts of three hours each are scheduled. Expect to help with using spray hoses hooked up to generators and buckets of paint to do the actual painting, as well as re-filling supplies and clean-up.

It takes a lot to get the A ready for the year, but being a part of the tradition is well worth it!

Event schedule

Shift 1: Check-in at 8 a.m.; deadline to check-in is 8:15 a.m.
Departure from Moby: 8:30 a.m.
Painting the A: 9 – 11 a.m.
Return to Moby: 11:30 a.m.

Shift 2: Check-in at 10 a.m.; deadline to check-in is 10:15 a.m.
Departure from Moby: 10:30 a.m.
Painting the A: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Return to Moby: 1:30 p.m.

Shift 3: Check-in at 12 p.m.; deadline to check-in is 12:15 p.m.
Departure from Moby: 12:30 p.m.
Painting the A: 1 – 3 p.m.
Return to Moby: 3:30 p.m.


Check-in will be located in the Moby Arena parking lot. If you do not check-in by the time your shift is scheduled to start, you risk losing your spot to someone on the waiting list. All participants must use the provided bus transportation. There is no parking available at the A.


Plan on getting dirty and getting clothes covered in paint. Sturdy, closed-toe shoes are required. Jeans or long pants are also recommended. We also recommend bringing a water bottle.