Linda and Terry Fuller Masked Rider Scholarship Endowment launches
A new scholarship for Texas Tech’s iconic Masked Rider, one of the most recognizable college mascots in the country, has been established, officials with the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources announced today (Dec. 13). The “Linda and Terry Fuller Masked Rider Scholarship Endowment” will be matched with funds from the Talkington Foundation’s Scholarship Matching Funds program.
“The endowment will result in annual scholarship of $4,500,” said Jane Piercy, Director of Development and External Relations at Tech’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Wearing black riding clothes, mask, bolero hat, scarlet cape, and perched atop Fearless Champion, a black quarter horse, the Masked Rider is among the most colorful symbols of school spirit in the nation.
Terry Fuller is chairman of the Texas Tech Foundation Board of Directors and president of Phoenix Petrocorp Inc., an independent oil and gas production company with operations in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Fuller received a degree in petroleum engineering from Texas Tech in 1977, and was named a Distinguished Engineer by the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering. He is a member of the Friends of Petroleum Engineering Academy, serves on the Athletics Advisory Council and is a former president of the Red Raider Club.
Fuller and his wife, Linda, have been recognized for their contributions to the Texas Tech University System with membership in the Spur Society, the Silver Buckle Society, and the Athletics Hall of Legacy. Linda Fuller recently served eight years as a National Board member of the Texas Tech Alumni Association, including serving on the Equal Access Scholarship Selection Committee, and remains active in alumni activities. She also served three years on the Texas Tech Club Board of Governors. She currently serves on Texas Tech’s Athletic Council. She received a degree in English from Texas Tech University in 1969. Their son, Clint Fuller, and his wife, Casey Martin Fuller are also Texas Tech graduates.
Support for the Masked Rider is a tradition at Texas Tech. Several years ago CASNR officials announced the creation of a Masked Rider Scholarship Endowment. Created by former Masked Rider Gerald Nobles and his wife, Debbie Nobles, funds generated by the endowment are used to support the Red Raider mascot’s tuition and fees. Meanwhile, this year’s loss of the first official Masked Rider, Joe Kirk Fulton, has also drawn statewide attention and support to the Masked Rider and future needs of the program.
Fulton, 81, died in August, nearly 60 years after taking the reins for the first time on his horse, Blackie. A Lubbock native, Fulton graduated in 1954 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences but his love of horses extended far beyond the Texas Tech campus. He continued working with quarter horses while he and his father worked on a large cattle operation on their Quien Sabe Ranch outside Channing.
“Our goal is to see that the Masked Rider pays no tuition and fees while he/she serves our university,” Piercy said. “The role of the Masked Rider is steeped in tradition and means so much to our alumni and students.”
Earlier this year junior animal science major Corey Waggoner was tapped as Texas Tech’s 52nd Masked Rider. He will be the first to officially ride the university’s new horse, Fearless Champion. During an average year the Masked Rider travels more than 10,000 miles making appearances at athletic events, rodeos and other functions. Originally known as “Ghost Riders,” the first Masked Riders sporadically stormed Texas Tech home football games when daring students threw on capes and masks and raced across the field.
The mascot itself began as a prank – the brainchild of two Saddle Tramps, Arch Lamb and George Tate, who in 1936 borrowed a horse from the then-college’s dairy barn and raided a game. Lamb came up with the idea while Tate executed the plan. The rider was not seen again until 1954 when Joe Kirk Fulton traveled to Florida to make an appearance at the Auburn vs. Tech in the Gator Bowl game.
Written by Norman Martin
CONTACT: Jane Piercy, Director of Development and External Relations, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806)742-2802 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: For more information, go to http://www.depts.ttu.edu/agriculturalsciences/news/?p=609 For more information on contributing, please visit the Masked Rider Scholarship Endowment Website. Please note than gifts have been given to this fund in Joe Kirk Fulton’s memory.