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Learn Lubbock's Guns Up Texas Tech Red Raider. Origins and History of Masked Rider.
Guns Up Texas Tech Red Raider Traditions & Origins. Origins and History of Masked Rider.

Traditions and Origins of Texas Tech Red Raider Guns Up

Down in Lubbock, Texas Tech University isn’t just another place to earn a degree — it’s where traditions come alive and school spirit runs deep.

With its iconic symbols and rituals giving a sense of camaraderie and unity among its community, Texas Tech has embodied its motto, “From here, it’s possible”, in all aspects of its existence.

Talk about traditions? When you hear the cries of “Guns Up” and see the Masked Rider leading the charge, you know you’re really a part of something more than a university.

Now for those not fully in the know, let’s dive into these rituals and see how they started.

The Birth of "Guns Up"

Back in the ’70s, L. Glenn Dippel and his wife Roxie were looking for a unique symbol to inspire fellow Texas Tech fans. They wanted something that stood out, just like the University of Texas’s ‘Hook ’em Horns.’ The Dippels came up with the now-iconic ‘Guns Up’ hand sign, striking a chord with Red Raider supporters.

The “Guns Up” hand gesture, where the thumb and index finger form a gun shape, is a symbol of pride, spirit, and resilience. Today, you’ll see it everywhere from games to events, bringing the diverse community together.

The Legendary Masked Rider

Every mascot has a story, but there’s something special about the Masked Rider. This mystery character dates back to 1936 when adventurous students would dress as riders, make a surprise appearance at football games, and then vanish. They’d put on a show, and no one knew who they were. This gave them the name, ‘ghost riders’.

This enigma caught on, and over time, the Masked Rider stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight — with Joe Kirk Fulton becoming an official mascot in 1954. Wearing a black cape, red shirt, and a pair of Levi’s while on a black horse, he led the football team onto the field, boosting the crowd’s energy.

Evolution of Early Mascots: Dogies and Matadors

The legacy of Texas Tech’s iconic Masked Rider began with their early mascots: the Matadors.

At first ‘the Dogies’ was suggested by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, but Mrs. Ewing Young, the head coach’s wife, coined ‘the Matadors’ — inspired by the university’s Spanish architecture. Scarlet and black colors were then chosen by the students in 1926 to represent the Matadors.

The famous “Red Raiders” nickname, was coined afterward by sports editor Collier Parrish in 1936, stemming from the team’s all-red uniforms and demanding schedule. That same year, George Tate also became the first unofficial “Red Raider,” pulling off a daring stunt and leading the football team into the field on horseback.

Although the Masked Rider tradition has had its ups and downs — from the controversy over female mascots to some unfortunate accidents on the fields — each experience continues to inspire and unite both fans and students on every game day.

Shout Guns Up Texas Tech Red Raiders! Find the Best College Football at Texas Tech University.

Singing Loud and Proud: The Stirring "Fight Song" and "The Matador Song"

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but at Texas Tech, it’s all about the tunes. Composed by Carl R. Knight in 1936, the Fight Song is a favorite among students and alums who sing along with gusto during events and games.

But it doesn’t end there — the Matador Song, penned in 1930 by R. C. Marshall, serves as the university’s alma mater. Its powerful line “Strive for Honor” is more than just lyrics; it’s a call to arms for students to carry the acclaimed reputation of Texas Tech with them.

From Here, It's Possible

And finally, the motto that drives it all, “From here, it’s possible” — echoes throughout the Texas Tech community, inspiring everyone to dream big and aim high. And the traditions are a testament to that spirit.

Whether it’s throwing the ‘Guns Up’ sign up high, watching the Masked Rider in awe, or passionately singing the Fight Song, being a member of the Texas Tech community means embracing the school’s celebrated past and carrying its enduring legacy forward.

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Celebrating the best of Lubbock’s spirit, Signature Stag offers fine menswear attires, including a very popular collegiate line perfect for Texas Tech fans. From T-shirts and hoodies to the latest and most comfortable polo shirts, Signature Stag blends fashion and passion for the university perfectly.

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