Outgoing Raider Red mascots look back over 600+ combined appearances

Published: Apr. 23, 2023 at 2:19 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Whether it’s the victory celebration from last year’s Texas Bowl win, or the arrival of the new men’s basketball coach, Raider Red was there.

Inside the iconic costume was either Sydney Aalbers (Burleson) or Lubbock-native Nathan Dudley.

Combined, the two made nearly 700 public appearances, ranging from athletic events to birthday parties, and all things in-between, including ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

“It’s been a really humbling experience for me. I’ve grown up in Lubbock. I saw Raider Red when I was a kid, at football games, at my elementary school. So, getting to do that for this community and give back that way... It’s everything, it’s full circle,” said Dudley, who is soon to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and sports management.

Raider Red is one of the best-kept secrets on Tech’s campus, at least for those wearing the costumes. For Dudley and Aalbers, the anonymity is part of what made the last year so great.

“Family, close friends, professors, people that we deal closely with in our personal life, they know... But, for the most part, no one knows who we are, and I kind of like it. It’s nice. It’s our little secret that we keep from everybody,” said Aalbers, a graduate student studying agriculture communications. “We get to be a part of so many people’s lives, and that’s just something that’s so special, and I couldn’t do it as myself.”

“Raider Red is more or less the face of the university, but no one sees the face under Raider Red, so we’re really popular, but we’re not because no one knows that it’s us,” Dudley joked.

As for Sydney, she feels accomplished knowing the program has a bright future ahead- especially since she had a white-gloved hand in it.

“I’m proud to leave the program, knowing I left it better than I found it,” she said.