Countdown to Final Four: How Raider Red was brought to life

Bringing Raider Red to life

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Raider Red started as a beloved editorial cartoon on the sports page called ‘Old Red’. Former Lubbock Mayor Dirk West who drew him on paper, but it wasn’t until years later when Jim Gaspard was about to graduate from Texas Tech in 1972 that he decided to bring the cartoon to life.

Jim Gaspard and his wife brought Raider Red to life 48 years ago in his dorm room at TTU.
Jim Gaspard and his wife brought Raider Red to life 48 years ago in his dorm room at TTU.
Gaspard's original Raider Red beside the current Raider Red.
Gaspard's original Raider Red beside the current Raider Red.

“Raider Red has got his own personality. Obviously you see him out on the court and out on the field, but he’s a big part of Texas Tech’s history and tradition and we are so proud of that,” Gaspard said.

Dirk West's drawings of collegiate mascots including Old Red.
Dirk West's drawings of collegiate mascots including Old Red.

He says the idea for Raider Red all came while he was a student at Tech back in the ’70s after he heard talk about the Masked Rider being banned from away games due to the damage the horse caused on the fields. He decided to do something about it. “I said why don’t we create a character that can go to out of town in place of the Masked Rider.”

He says he came across cartoonist named Dirk West and his drawing of ‘Old Red’ and decided to bring that character to life.

“I did it out of chicken wire and papier-mâché. I had shoulder pads and an old football helmet and we just molded the Old Red character to what became Raider Red.”

After he created Raider Red, he presented it to the TTU Saddle Tramps who told him to get out on the field. “I ran into the stadium for probably about three to four thousand students and I just did some crazy things and that was the beginning of Raider Red.”

Now 48 years later, Raider Red is still out there and he is even heading to the Final Four game this Saturday. Gaspard says that’s something he expected when he put on that costume for the first time in 1972.

He and his wife will be flying out to see the Final Four game and says he will for sure have to say hi to his old buddy Raider Red.

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