Raider Red statue unveiled, 30 years in the works

At the Frazier Alumni Pavilion
Published: Oct. 22, 2022 at 5:09 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - From paper mache and chicken wire to bronze, the new Raider Red statue was unveiled Saturday morning.

Raider Red has been spreading school spirit for 50 years.

“He’s an icon, he’s a two-time national champion, and he is the embodiment of what it is to be a Texas Tech Red Raider,” Vice President of Operations and Engagement at the Alumni Association Chris Snead said.

The nine-foot tall bronze statue has been a work in progress for more than 30 years. The creator of the original costume, Jim Gaspard, got the idea from Dirk West’s drawings of ‘Ol’ Red.’

Gaspard introduced Raider Red to the Jones AT&T Stadium and fans on Sept. 8, 1971.

“That was really the beginning of Raider Red; we graduated the next year,” Gaspard said. “We’ve kept up with Raider Red, and obviously he’s become so popular.”

Gaspard says he may have been the first in the costume, but the character grew with help from Red Raider Nation.

“It takes a village, and they have made Raider Red really into what he has become over the last 50 years,” Gaspard said.

There have been 100 Raider Reds in 50 years. He is loved by Texas Tech fans, past and present.

“All the way to the president’s office, they understand how much this program means to the university,” former Raider Red in 2013 and 2016, Carson Roye, said. “Now fortunately, since Raider Red’s a defending national champion, he’s getting the recognition he deserves.”

Some of the men and women who contributed to who Raider Red is will be recognized in the plaza that will surround the statue.

“And we’ll have a chance to honor our former Raider Reds with a brick that signifies their time as a Raider Red,” Snead said. “It will also have a chance for us to recognize those donors who helped make this a reality.”

For now, Snead wants fans to take their photo with the big bronze Raider Red.

“We want you to climb up on it and put your arm around Raider Red and take a picture with him, and just be one of those photos that you have forever,” Snead said.

The statue sits right off of Red Raider Blvd. facing the Jones.