Red Raider Mascot--The
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.