Youth Football and Cheer
Modesto's First Youth Football and Cheer Organization
The Modesto Rams Youth Football and Cheer program was started in 1970. The original team name, the "Modesto Colts" was changed to the Rams in 1976. The Rams name was chosen by the long time coach of the team, Fred Ragatz, who was a huge fan of the Los Angeles Rams.
That same year, because the equipment in use was in need of major repairs and replacement, it was decided that the officers of the Rams organization, coaches and some of the player's families (lead by Bob Aldridge) would meet to ascertain the best way to fund the outfitting of the players and cheerleaders. With approximately 20 to 30 individuals in attendance, it was decided the only solution to the equipment/uniform problem was to toss out the old and purchase new if the team could find financing at a reasonable rate of interest.
The following week a local doctor and his wife were approached with the proposition of loaning the Rams organization $15,000 for a few years, with interest, to fund the purchase of the much needed equipment and uniforms. Although they had no interest in the team itself, they did have interest in the young people of Modesto and the good, clean exercise and family environment youth football could provide the community. They accepted almost instantly! A contract was drawn up, signed by the couple, Rams officers and some of the parents, and the funds were transferred to the Rams club.
In 1976 the Rams were the only youth football organization in Modesto. Everyone was volunteering for coaching positions, cheerleading, field work and fundraising help along with everything else that was needed. Bill Fontana, Bill Loritelli, Fred Ragitz and Mike Ford were part of the original Rams coaching staff. Sherry Fontana and her wonderful coaches lead the cheerleading squad. Parents were raising funds by manning the snack bar and filling it with all things possible to make a few cents add up to the big dollars needed to keep the program going. Practice was located at Beyer High School and home games were played at Central Catholic's Patton Field.
As the program grew, more and more of Modesto's youth came out to play for the Rams. Kids were flocking to the program and at one point over 100 kids turned out to play for a single team, but there was not enough room for everyone. It was devastating for the boys who had to be cut as well as the coaches. Everyone was determined to give all the kids an opportunity to play football and in 1979 the Rams organization, by now financially stable, put the money together and funded the start of the Modesto Broncos.
Today the Modesto Rams Youth Football and Cheer organization strives to uphold the commitment and dedication to the area's youth which started the team in the 70's. We take pride in continuing the RAMS as a staple in Modesto youth sports and honor those whom gave life to the organization over 40 years ago.