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Red Raider Mascot--The Masked Rider

On Jan. 1, 1954, Texas Tech fans attending the Gator Bowl in Tampa, Florida, witnessed the evolution of a beloved tradition that Red Raider fans would embrace for decades to come. Dressed in black clothing with a long flowing cape and mounted on a solid black gelding horse, Joe Kirk Fulton caught the eyes of the nation when he stormed out onto the playing field to lead the Red Raider football team. Ed Danforth of the Atlanta Constitution wrote: "No team in any bowl game ever made a more sensational entrance." The dramatic entry by the horse and rider electrified the crowd as well as the team, which beat Auburn 35-13.

Forty-eight years later, the Texas Tech Masked Rider is perhaps the most recognizable collegiate mascot in the country. The Masked Rider is a colorful symbol of school spirit and pride that carries a certain mystique. Wearing black riding clothes, mask, bolero hat, and scarlet cape, and perched atop Amos: a jet black quarter horse, the Masked Rider is one of college football's most unique mascots. Leading the team out onto the field before each home game, the Masked Rider can additionally be seen at other Red Raider sporting events. The rider and horse also represent Texas Tech at rodeos, parades, civic events and school activities around the state.

Serving the Masked Rider position for 2002-2003 academic school year is Jessica Melvin, a physical therapy graduate student from Pierre, South Dakota. Jessica is the first graduate student as well as the first Health Sciences Center student to hold the reins as Masked Rider.

The Masked Rider is selected through a process involving a horsemanship trial scored by independent professional judges and interviews with the university's Masked Rider Committee. Wells Fargo Bank established the Wells Fargo Masked Rider Endowment at Texas Tech University in 1995 to fund operations of the Masked Rider program and provide the $2,000 Masked Rider Scholarship. Wells Fargo has pledged a total of $250,000 to complete the endowment and guarantee the future of the Masked Rider tradition. In addition, Wells Fargo provided funding to obtain the current mascot, the Masked Rider pickup and a new horse trailer.

There is no charge for Masked Rider appearances, but the Masked Rider program does encourage donations to the Masked Rider endowment fund.

Donations may be made to the "Masked Rider Endowment Fund," TTU Box 45014, Lubbock, TX 79409. Call the Center for Campus Life at (806) 742-2192 or email masked.rider@uc.ttu.edu for more information.

YearRider, Home TownHorse
1953-54Joe Kirk Fulton, LubbockBlackie
1954-55Joe Kirk Fulton, LubbockBlackie
1955-56Jim Cloyd, CanadianBlackie
1956-57Jim Cloyd, CanadianTech Beauty
1957-58Donald Hollar, GuthrieTech Beauty
1958-59Donald Hollar, GuthrieTech Beauty
1959-60J.H. Rhea, LubbockBeau Black
1960-61J.H. Rhea, LubbockBeau Black
1961-62Kelley Waggoner, HendersonTech Beauty
1962-63Bill Durfey, WellingtonTech Beauty
1963-64Douglas Hollar, GuthrieCharcoal Cody
1964-65Douglas Hollar, GuthrieCharcoal Cody
1965-66Douglas Wilson, MatadorCharcoal Cody
1966-67Douglas Hollar, GuthrieCharcoal Cody
1967-68Douglas Hollar, GuthrieCharcoal Cody
1968-69Johnny Bob Carruth, DeLeonCharcoal Cody
1969-70Johnny Bob Carruth, DeLeonCharcoal Cody
1970-71Tommy Martin, ThrockmortonCharcoal Cody
1971-72Randy Jeffers, AmarilloCharcoal Cody
1972-73Randy Jeffers, AmarilloShowboy Huffman
1973-74Gerald Nobles, MidlandHappy Five
1974-75Ann Lynch, Dell CityHappy Five
1975-76Joe Kim King, BradyHappy Five
1976-77Jess Wall, PerrytonHappy Five
1977-78Larry Cade, SonoraHappy Five
1978-79Lee Puckitt, San AngeloHappy VI
1979-80Coke Hopping, LubbockHappy VI
1980-81Kathleen Campbell, PortlandHappy VI-II
1981-82Kurt Harris, StratfordHappy VI-II
1982-83Perry Church, FrionaHappy VI-II
1983-84Jennifer Aufill, LubbockHappy VI-II
1984-85Zurick Labrier, DalhartHappy VI-II
1985-86Jerrell Key, LubbockHappy VI-II
1986-87Daniel Jenkins, HigginsHappy VI-II
1987-88Kim Saunders, MarfaMidnight Raider
1988-89Lea Whitehead, SonoraMidnight Raider
1989-90Tonya Tinnin, Bell Ranch, N.M.Midnight Raider
1990-91Blaine Lemons, Colorado CityMidnight Raider
1991-92Ralynn Key, GailMidnight Raider
1992-93Jason Spence, TahokaMidnight Raider
1993-94Lisa Gilbreath, Flower MoundDouble T
1994-95Amy Smart, DallasDouble T
1995-96JoLynn Self, AmarilloHigh Red
1996-97Martha Reed, KnickerbockerHigh Red
1997-98Becky McDougal, ComancheHigh Red
1998-99Michael D. Abney, AthensBlack Phantom Raider
1999-00Travis Thorne, Stanley, N.M.Black Phantom Raider
2000-01Lesley Gilbreath, Flower MoundBlack Phantom Raider
2001-02Katie Carruth, LubbockBlack Phantom Raider
2002-03Jessica Melvin, Pierre, S.D.Midnight Matador
2003-04Ben Holland, TexlineMidnight Matador

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