Rameses is the Bighorn Ram mascot of the North Carolina Tar Heels. Two versions of Rameses appear at sporting events. One is a cheerleader in a ram costume performed by a male member of the University of North Carolina cheerleading team at athletic events. The other UNC mascot is a live Horned Dorset Sheep named Rameses who attends Carolina football games with his horns painted Carolina Blue. The origin of a ram as Carolina's mascot dates back to 1924. In 1922, the star fullback, Jack Merritt, was given the nickname the battering ram for his performance on the field. Rameses the First was purchased and shipped from a ranch in Texas. The first appearance of Rameses was at a pep rally before a football game against Virginia Military Institute on November 8, 1924.
The University of North Carolina not only uses the nickname Tar Heels, but the entire state of North Carolina does as well. One version of the nickname's origin has the name first being applied to North Carolinians during the Civil War. One record talks of a battle in Virginia, where their supporting column retreated, but North Carolina troops fought alone. The victorious troops were asked in a condescending tone by some Virginians, who had retreated, "Any more tar down in the Old North State, boys?" The response came quickly: "No, not a bit; old Jeff's bought it all up." The Virginians asked: "Is that so? What is he going to do with it?" The reply: "He is going to put it on you'ns heels to make you stick better in the next fight."