Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Official Ornament: A Holiday Tradition Since 1997

Cara Vandergriff

December 10, 2015

The Office of the President created this year’s official ornament to celebrate the beloved tradition of the Masked Rider.

To order: click here.

A Texas Tech University-themed holiday ornament makes the perfect gift for any Red Raider, whether they're adding to an existing collection or looking to begin one.

The Office of the President at Texas Tech University has created holiday ornaments for the Red Raider family to enjoy every year since 1997. Each year's ornament commemorates a different aspect of Texas Tech and contributes to the funding of student scholarships. Last year's ornament raised more than $25,000, distributed to 10 different students nominated for scholarships by Texas Tech faculty and staff.

This year's ornament commemorates the beloved tradition of the Masked Rider and is available for $25.

Sarah Stracener, coordinator of presidential services and communications, said each year's ornament is based upon a tradition, new building or prominent Texas Tech symbol.

“This year we had the idea of highlighting the Masked Rider and incorporating ‘Fearless Champions' in the ornament,” Stracener said.

Though the Masked Rider was used in the 2000 ornament, that design featured a male Masked Rider atop the black horse.

“We wanted to go with a different direction for this ornament, making it a female and electing to leave her solo with her guns up,” Stracener said. “We wanted it to be different from the previous Masked Rider ornament but still try to exemplify what the Masked Rider is all about.”

Previous ornament designs include representations of the Administration Building, United Supermarkets Arena, Matador Song, Double T, University seal, Jones AT&T Stadium, Texas Tech flag, Will Rogers statue and more. The complete set of official ornaments, which includes 19 years of designs, is available for $380 and can be viewed at the ornament website.

The development and creation of each ornament is a year-round process, said Stracener, with brainstorming beginning in January and sample ornaments being created in the summertime.

“After we choose the concept around February, I sketch a simple drawing of the ornament idea and send it to the company that has produced the ornaments for us since 1997, ChemArt,” Stracener said. “They have designers that take the sketch and make it into what the ornament is.”

After going back and forth with several drafts and samples, the final design is selected and an order is placed in August for 3,000 ornaments.

With all of the processing, packaging and distributing taking place through the Office of the President, those who purchase the ornament can be sure it has been made with plenty of Red Raider spirit.

“There's a lot of loyalty for this ornament and the program,” Stracener said. “I get calls from people as early as August asking about that year's ornament. Many say they have the entire collection and love giving them as gifts to their family and friends each year.”

The 2015 Texas Tech ornament, along with each previous ornament and the complete collection, are available for purchase at the ornament website. Proceeds will continue to fund student scholarships at Texas Tech. 

“It probably started out as just a nice thing they did,” Stracener said, “but it's transitioned into something that's more than just an ornament – it's a tradition in itself for Texas Tech.”