Masked Rider Celebrates 60th Anniversary

From its bold beginning, program evolved into one of the most recognizable mascots in the country.

Bleacher Report ranked the Masked Rider eighth among the 25 best team entrances in college football.

Bleacher Report ranked the Masked Rider eighth among the 25 best team entrances in college football.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of one of Texas Tech University’s most storied traditions – the Masked Rider.

As football season begins Saturday, Red Raider fans across the nation anxiously wait for the first ride of the season. The crowd roars “Raider Power,” the Goin’ Band from Raiderland plays the fight song and the rifles shoot, signaling the official start of Red Raider football.

One of those fans excited for that first ride of the season is Mackenzie White, this year’s Masked Rider.

White and horse Fearless Champion will make their debut Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium for the Texas Tech-Central Arkansas game.

“I’m excited and nervous all at the same time,” she said. “I’ve heard from past riders that there’s nothing like it in the world. It’s completely inexplicable.”

The Masked Rider tradition debuted in 1954 at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., after Texas Tech football coach DeWitt Weaver thought the team needed a mascot. When the late Joe Kirk Fulton and his horse made their bold appearance that New Year’s Day, Red Raider fans stood stunned in disbelief of the magnificent entrance. After that game, the Masked Rider was ingrained as a Texas Tech tradition.

“The Masked Rider has become one of the most recognizable mascots in the country,” said Stephanie Rhode, Spirit Program director. “I think it's important that we gather together and pay homage to the men and women who built this tradition which, started as a student dare and has evolved into the majestic and iconic symbol of Texas Tech University.”

The late Joe Kirk Fulton was the first Masked Rider and is credited with helping start the tradition.

The late Joe Kirk Fulton was the first Masked Rider and is credited with helping start the tradition.

White, a junior from Marble Falls, grew up around horses her whole life. Her love for Texas Tech and horses helped foster her goal to become the Masked Rider. She is now proud to be an ambassador for the university.

“My goal as this year’s Masked Rider is to do my best representing Texas Tech,” White said. “When fans come up to me and Fearless Champion, I want them to have a memorable experience. I want Texas Tech alums to feel proud of their university, knowing that it still stands for the same honor and integrity it did while they were in school.”

Serving as the 53rd Masked Rider, White looks forward to the 60th anniversary celebration. She says this year will be all about embracing the program, recognizing how it has evolved over the years and how loved the tradition still is today.

To celebrate the Masked Rider’s 60th anniversary, Texas Tech’s Spirit Program will host a celebration Sept. 13, inviting former riders to be recognized on the field at Jones AT&T Stadium before the Texas Tech-Arkansas game.

“This year is a special year,” White said. “I’m so proud to be a part of this tradition, and I look forward to what’s in store for this year.”

Masked Riders – Through The Years
  • 1953-1955: No. 1 Joe Kirk Fulton, Lubbock, unsure
  • 1955-1957: No. 2 Jim Cloyd, Stratford, Blackie and Tech Beauty
  • 1957-1959: No. 3 Donald "Polly" Hollar, Benham, Tech Beauty
  • 1959-1961: No. 4 J.H. "Hud" Rhea, Roswell, NM, Beau Black
  • 1961-1962: No. 5 Kelley Waggoner, Hillsboro, N.M., Tech Beauty
  • 1962-1963: No. 6 Bill Durfey, The Woodlands, Tech Beauty
  • 1963-1964: No. 7 Douglas "Nubbin" Hollar, Brenham, Charcoal Cody
  • 1964-1966: No. 8 Douglas "Dink" Wilson, Quanah, Charcoal Cody
  • 1966-1968: Douglas "Nubbin" Hollar, Brenham, Charcoal Cody
  • 1968-1970: No. 9 Johnny Bob Carruth, Lubbock, Charcoal Cody
  • 1970-1971: No. 10 Tommy Martin, Graham, Charcoal Cody
  • 1971-1973: No. 11 Randy Jeffers, Amarillo, Charcoal Cody and Showboy Huffman
  • 1973-1974: No. 12 Gerald Nobles, Midland, Happy V
  • 1974-1975: No. 13 Anne Lynch, Dell City, Happy V
  • 1975-1976: No. 14 Joe Kim King, Brady, Happy V
  • 1976-1977: No. 15 Jess Wall, Perryton, Happy V
  • 1977-1978: No. 16 Larry Cade, Copperas Cove, Happy V
  • 1978-1979: No. 17 Lee Puckitt, San Angelo, Happy VI
  • 1979-1980: No. 18 Coke Hopping, Memphis, Texas, Happy VI
  • 1980-81: No. 19 Kathleen Campbell, Portland, Texas, Happy VI-II
  • 1981-82: No. 20 Kurt Harris, Stratford, Happy VI-II
  • 1982-83: No. 21 Perry Joe Church, Friona, Happy VI-II
  • 1983-84: No. 22 Jennifer Aufill, Lubbock, Happy VI-II
  • 1984-85: No. 23 Zurick Labrier, Dalhart, Happy VI-II
  • 1985-86: No. 24 Jerrell K. Key, Lubbock, Happy VI-II
  • 1986-87: No. 25 Daniel Jenkins, Higgins, Happy VI-II
  • 1987-88: No. 26 Kim Saunders, Marfa, Midnight Raider
  • 1988-89: No. 27 Lea Whitehead, Sonora, Midnight Raider
  • 1989-90: No. 28 Tonya Tinnin, Bell Ranch, N.M., Midnight Raider
  • 1990-91: No. 29 Blaine Lemons, Colorado City, Midnight Raider
  • 1991-92: No. 30 Ralynn Key, Gail, Midnight Raider
  • 1992-93: No. 31 Jason Spence, Tahoka, Midnight Raider
  • 1993-94: No. 32 Lisa Gilbreath, Flower Mound, Double T
  • 1994-95: No. 33 Amy Smart, Dallas, Double T, Hoot Owl and Two Bar Boy
  • 1995-97: No. 34 JoLynn Self, Amarillo, High Red
  • 1996-97: No. 35 Martha Reed, Knickerbocker, High Red
  • 1997-98: No. 36 Becky McDougal, Southland, High Red and Black Phantom Raider
  • 1998-99: No. 37 Michael Abney, Athens, Texas, Black Phantom Raider
  • 1999-00: No. 38 Travis Thorne, Stanley, N.M., Black Phantom Raider
  • 2000-01: No. 39 Lesley Gilbreath, Flower Mound, Black Phantom Raider
  • 2001-02: No. 40 Katie Carruth, Lubbock, Black Phantom Raider and Midnight Matador
  • 2002-03: No. 41 Jessica Melvin, Pierre, S.D., Midnight Matador
  • 2003-04: No. 42 Ben Holland, Texline, Midnight Matador
  • 2004-05: No. 43 Stacy Stockard, Sanger, Midnight Matador
  • 2005-06: No. 44 Justin Burgin, Scurry, Midnight Matador
  • 2006-07: No. 45 Amy Bell, Kermit, Midnight Matador
  • 2007-08: No. 46 Kevin Burns, Clovis, N.M., Midnight Matador
  • 2008-09: No. 47 Ashley Hartzog, Farwell, Midnight Matador
  • 2009-10: No. 48 Brianne Hight, Clovis, N.M., Midnight Matador
  • 2010-11: No. 49 Christi Chadwell, Garland, Midnight Matador
  • 2011-12: No. 50 Bradley Skinner, Arvada, Colo., Midnight Matador
  • 2013-13: No. 51 Ashley Wenzel, Friendswood, Midnight Matador
  • 2013-14: No. 52 Corey Waggoner, Lubbock, Fearless Champion
  • 2014-15: No. 53 Mackenzie White, Marble Falls, Fearless Champion
Masked Rider: 60th Anniversary

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Masked Rider program.

To celebrate, Texas Tech’s Spirit Program will host a celebration Sept. 13, inviting former riders to be recognized on the field at Jones AT&T Stadium before the Texas Tech-Arkansas game.

Texas Tech Today also will commemorate the milestone by running a story before each home football game, showcasing the the Masked Rider program and its six decades of existence.


Center for Campus Life

The Center for Campus Life offers programs and services that enrich the Red Raider experience by focusing on student transitions, the university and campus traditions, establishing positive relationships with students and families, and maintaining collaborative partnerships.

Services related to the following areas are offered:

  • Greek Life
  • Community Engagement
  • Leadership Development
  • Spirit & Traditions
  • Student Emergency & Crisis
  • Study Abroad
  • Student Services
  • General Student Services
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