A couple of days ago, I got to thinking about the Masked Rider. I got to thinking about how it is one of the best collegiate mascots that exists. And then, I got to thinking on the history of the Masked Rider. I wondered where the idea of the Masked Rider came from. I was very curious, so I started researching it out. I learned some things that I never ever knew about the Masked Rider. You see, to me, the Masked Rider was just a mascot for my favorite college football team. I never knew any of the history behind it. I never knew how it got started. I do remember though the first time I went to a Tech game. I remember seeing the Masked Rider and how amazing it was to see it come from out of the tunnel, and then race across the field, leading the players out onto the field. I will never forget the first time I saw the Masked Rider. I decided to write an article about the history of the Masked Rider. I know most of y'all probably know a lot of the stuff that this article will contain, but I hope this article will include some things that y'all didn't know as well. I hope y'all enjoy reading it, as much as I enjoyed writing it, and please share stories of personal experiences with the Masked Rider. Thanks for reading, and WRECK ‘EM!
The History of the Masked Rider:
The first unofficial appearance of the "Red Raider" (now called the Masked Rider), occurred on September 26, 1936. George Tate, on a "borrowed" palomino, led the team out onto the field, shocking the football fans. I imagine more than a few had their mouths dropped open. Along with what Tate was wearing was a cape made by the Home Economics Department and a pair of borrowed cowboy boots. Immediately after the run, Tate left. This happened a couple of more times during the 1936 season, but then it vanished until 1953. When Joe Kirk Fulton was called into DeWitt Weaver's office to discuss school mascots, little did he know that the mascot that was fixing to be created would become a legend.
DeWitt wanted to have school mascot (Tech was the only college lacking a mascot), to further increase Tech's chances of joining the Southwest Conference. Fulton was asked to ride the horse. He agreed, and on New Year's Day in 1954, a new, legendary mascot was born. Fulton, in a black hat and a red cape, led the Texas Tech football team out of the tunnels, and onto the field of the Gator bowl. Fulton was riding a horse named "Blackie", and it was loaned to him by Bert Eads, a Hockley County sheriff. Accounts from actual fans at the Gator bowl report that the crowd was silent and stunned, and then they burst into cheers. Texas Tech went on to beat Auburn 35-13. Ed Danforth, from the Atlanta Journal, said this: "No team in any bowl game ever made a more sensational entrance." Fulton rode as the Masked Rider for the next three years.
Now, the Masked Rider, like any legend, has faced it's problems, but it overcame its problems.
The main controversy was when a lady was appointed the Masked Rider in 1974. It was thought, that since a man had always been the Masked Rider, that a man should always be the Masked Rider. Lynch, the lady chosen to be the Masked Rider, did not falter, and stayed the Masked Rider for a year. One writer compared the selection of a lady Masked Rider, to the selection of TCU's man homecoming queen. The writer says this: "Did that make man and woman equal? Of course not, it merely made TCU look stupid." The system of selecting Masked Riders changed because of this, and now Masked Riders (in this order) have to apply to be the mascot, pass a horsemanship test, pass a equestrian skill test, and then the interview comes. The controversy has now ended, and 13 out of 39 masked riders have been ladies.
The Masked Rider also faced more problems. Tech Beauty was kidnapped before a game in 1963 by supposedly A&M fans. A SMU pompon girl was hit by the Masked Rider in 1982, when she went out onto the track to retrieve a hat. In 1992, the Masked Rider struck a game official.
On September 3, 1994, tragedy struck Texas Tech. The Masked Rider (Amy Smart) was making her debut on the horse "Double T". The saddle slipped which flung Amy Smart off of the horse and onto the track. Double T then ran into the southwest ramp, slipped, and struck its head on the cement wall. This collision killed the horse instantly. This was a freak accident. This accident resulted in the ban of the Masked Rider, but the Masked Rider wouldn't stay banned for long.
The Masked Rider would ride again:
The Masked Rider reflects Texas Tech University. The Masked Rider is a legend.