Mascot Monday: The Masked Rider and Raider Red

Another Monday and another mascot served up fresh for you KCCGD’ers out there.  This week we come back to the Big 12 and talk about the mascots for a team that’s had quite the rocky offseason.  Texas Tech’s offseason included sending a pirate of a head coach in Mike Leach to plank.  Now we’ll switch from pirates to The Masked Rider and Raider Red.  Both mascots serve their purpose on both sides of the mascot spectrum.  They, along with new head Tommy Tubberville, must help pick up the pieces and start anew.  Let’s find out where they came from and how much they can help.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders were originally known as the Matadors.  The first official nickname came from the current head coach’s wife recommendation to recognize the local Spanish architecture on campus.  Lasting from 1925-1936, the Matadors name switched to the Red Raiders.  How it became that way depends on who you talk too.  In one story a LA newspaper described them as such after they whupped up on Loyola Marymount.  In another, a local journalist called them the same thing in a defeat over New Mexico.  No matter how it happened, the Red Raider name was there to stay.

The first mascot led the football team onto the field in 1936, riding a horse and wearing a scarlet satin cape and black mask.  George Tate, the then secret rider, did it a couple of more times as a prank that year and then the rider disappeared.  It wasn’t until the 1950’s when the topic of a mascot popped up again and the Masked Rider made its return. The main reason they wanted a mascot?  To help sell the team to join the Southwest Conference, which they did.

The dream of playing in the feared Southwest Conference came with a price.  In 1971, they came up with a rule that banned live animal mascots from appearing at away games unless approved by the home team.  Seeing the obvious loss in a mascot at away games, Texas Tech created Raider RedJim Gaspard, with the help of former mayor of Lubbock and cartoonist Dirk West, penned the cartoony mascot.  Raider Red roams the fields now, firing guns into the air when Texas Tech scores.

So how does the one two combination stack up?  Let’s start with the Masked Rider.  When looking at this mascot, one can’t avoid thinking about Zorro.   Where’s the sword and the trick play that tears a double ‘T’ into some unsuspecting fool’s shirt?  The horse, on the other hand, is pretty cool.  Hey, he gets the glory of looking better than the guy bouncing around on top of him.  We would equip the Masked Rider with a cool sword instead of guns and replace that Dick Grayson/Robin mask with something more stylized.

Raider Red is next.  Okay this one is even more obvious.  Raider Red more than likely spends his off time chasing around Bugs Bunny.  This guy is the real life Yosemite Sam.  We’re just waiting for him to exclaim at the top of his lungs, “I hates rabbits!”  In the meantime, he will be stomping on thumping the sidelines with his big mustache, big boots, double barrel guns, and massive 40 gallon hat.  The only thing Texas Tech needs to do with Raider Red is get a licensing deal with Warner Brothers not unlike the deal Oregon has with Disney.

Texas Tech’s coaching situation went nasty really quick.  They have a new sheriff in town with Tommy Tubberville.  We think Raider Red can take up the reigns and serve as Tommy’s right hand mascot to fend off any bushwhacking attempts by the pirate Leach.  The Masked Rider, meanwhile, seems like he could be busy getting his nails done and surfing the Antonio Banderas message boards for the latest on the latino lover.