Texas Tech University

Raider Red Takes the Crown for First Time in National Championship

Amanda Bowman

April 10, 2021

Texas Tech University’s beloved mascot took first place at the NCA & NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championships.

Raider Red
Raider Red celebrating his first-ever national championship.

Texas Tech University's Raider Red competed today (April 10) at the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) & National Dance Alliance (NDA) Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida.

In typical Texas Tech fashion, Raider Red finished in first place in the Mascot division for the first time ever with a score of 94.27, beating out Sam Houston State University's second-place finisher Sammy the Bearkat by 1.83 points.

Headley and Stephenson
Emma Headley and Matt Stephenson placed third in partner stunt.

“I'm so excited for Raider Red!” said Bruce Bills, head cheer and mascot coach. “With games and events being altered all year due to COVID-19, this championship is the perfect way to end the year.”

Raider Red competed with a 90-second “Toy Story”-themed skit with multiple, well-designed props. Mascots were judged on characterization, skit creativity, crowd leading, dance, prop effectiveness and overall performance.

“With this being Texas Tech's first NCA Mascot National Championship, it was a really fun process to be a part of,” Bills said. “I'm very proud and excited to start working on next year's skit.”

Stephanie Rhode, director of the university's Spirit Program, said the anniversary of Raider Red coincided perfectly with this win.

“This is a historic victory for the Texas Tech Spirit Program and for Texas Tech itself,” she said. “With this being the 50th year since Raider Red made his first appearance on campus, it's even sweeter.

Raider Red wasn't the only winner today. The university's STUNT partner team, Emma Headley and Matt Stephenson, placed third in the partner stunt division with a score of 93.38. Two separate teams from Weber State University took first and second place, with scores of 94.83 and 94, respectively.