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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.