Masked Rider Tryouts
The Masked Rider has been the official mascot of Texas Tech University since January 1, 1954. However, the tradition of the Masked Rider is over 60 years old. The program began in the 1930's with volunteer students who would get dressed in a cape and mask and appear unexpectedly at Texas Tech home football games. Originally known as "Ghost Riders," the Masked Rider program has since become a prestigious institution and a powerful icon of Texas Tech. Although the position of the Masked Rider is very demanding with public appearances, and caring for the University mascot, Centennial Champion, the rewards are immeasurable.
Masked Rider tryouts are held during the spring semester of each year and last until a Masked Rider is named in April.
Tryout Qualifications for 2023-2024 Masked Rider Candidates:
- Must be enrolled as a Texas Tech student for the Spring 2023 and have a cumulative total of at least 45 credit hours. (A minimum of 12 hours must have been completed in residence at Texas Tech. CLEP and AP hours may go towards the overall total, but will not be counted for residency hours.)
- Undergraduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 semester hours; graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 semester hours.
- Must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75 at Texas Tech (GPAs are not rounded up and adjusted cumulative GPA is not used)
- Must have considerable equestrian experience.
- Graduation will not occur before May 2024.
- Must plan on being in Lubbock during the summer following selection.
- Must be willing to accept all responsibilities of the position, which include year-round public relations activities.
- Must be insurable to drive the Masked Rider truck.
- Must pass a criminal background check.
(Masked Rider Assistants must also meet above qualifications.)
2023-2024 Masked Rider Tryout Dates
Opens: Febraury 2, 9:00 AM
Date: February 9
Location: Masked Rider Room, 2nd floor of SUB
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Written Equestrian Exam & Preliminary Application Due
Date: February 16
Location: Spirit Program offices, room 025; east basement Student Union
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Written Exam Scores Released
Date: February 23
Location: emailed to you
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Final Application & References Due
Date: March 10
Location: Spirit Program Office
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Date: March 15-18
Location: Livestock Arena
Times Scheduled with Current Rider
Equestrian Tryouts & Driving Simulation
Date: March 21
Location: Livestock Arena
Date: March 23
Location: Masked Rider Room, SUB 2nd floor
Time: 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (times assigned)
Transfer of Reins & Public Announcement
Date: Friday, April 21, 2023
Location: Mckenzie-Merket Alumni Center
Time: 2:00 p.m.
*Subject to Change.
Masked Rider Tryout Process
The Texas Tech Masked Rider and mascot is a university-administered program. Two campus areas have primary responsibility for the program's operation. Dr. Sam Jackson, Department of Animal Science, is responsible for areas related to the mascot. Stephanie Rhode, Spirit Program Director/Associate Director in the Center for Campus Life serves as the chairperson for the Masked Rider Advisory Committee, and is responsible for general program administration and areas not directly related to the mascot. Both individuals provide direction and support for the student serving as the Masked Rider. The Masked Rider Advisory Committee is responsible for selecting the Masked Rider on an annual basis. A potential candidate should feel free to contact either Dr. Jackson (742-2804) or the Stephanie Rhode (742-5433) with questions regarding Masked Rider responsibilities, support, and the tryout process.
The selection process is closed to the general public. Only the candidates, judges, Masked Rider Advisory Committee members, and any other tryout staff deemed necessary by Dr. Jackson or the Masked Rider Committee chairperson may be present during equestrian tryouts. The finalist(s) and Masked Rider Advisory Committee members shall be present during the interview process. The Masked Rider Committee supervises the entire tryout process.
All candidates must pass a written exam and complete a preliminary application before moving on to the actual tryout process.
Written Exam & Preliminary Screening:
- Candidates must pass a written exam and a preliminary screening in order to continue in the tryout process. A score of 80 percent or higher will be considered a passing grade on the written exam. The exam will cover information on equine science and horsemanship including topics such as health, disease, vaccinations, injuries, anatomy, physiology, equipment and safety. Candidates will also be screened for academic and employment eligibility.
- An animal science department faculty member will score the exams.
- Candidates must also pass a criminal background check and driver's approval screening. Driver's license, auto insurance, and social security card should be provided with preliminary application. Individuals not eligible for employment with the Center for Campus Life will not be eligible for selection as Masked Rider.
- A list of candidates who pass the exam and are eligible for employment will be posted in the Spirit Program office, Student Union Room 025 (east basement).
- Candidates on the list will be eligible to participate in equestrian tryouts.
- Candidates wishing to see or discuss their test scores should contact Dr. Sam Jackson in the animal science department, 742-2804.
Equestrian Tryout Information
- Candidates will draw numbers for their order and time at the Final Candidate Meeting and will participate one at a time. Candidates will wait in a room separated from the tryout process until their turn to participate. Each candidate should arrive 10 minutes before his/her assigned time.
- Each candidate will be judged on a reining pattern, judges' questions and other related skills. Dr. Sam Jackson will design the pattern used and select the horse(s) to be ridden for the tryouts. Unless there are a large number of applicants, all applicants will ride the current mascot. Dr. Jackson will determine if the applicant number is too large and bring in additional horses if necessary.
- Individuals knowledgeable in the equestrian field will judge the equestrian tryouts. There will be a minimum of three judges who are familiar with the Masked Rider program. If a majority of the judges fail a candidate (a score less than eighty percent), the candidate will not continue in the tryout process.
- Candidates should wear clothing suitable for saddling and riding a horse.
- Candidates will not be permitted to watch other candidates tryout. Tryouts are closed to the public.
- Candidates will be judged on saddling and riding preparation procedures, performing a prescribed pattern and executing basic riding maneuvers (circles, gait transitions, stops, back, turns, etc.) to demonstrate basic horsemanship skills. The pattern will be available and reviewed at the Final Candidate Meetings on March 23. In addition, judges may ask questions of each candidate.
- Any candidate not demonstrating safe horsemanship knowledge or skill during any part of the equestrian tryout will be asked by Dr. Jackson to dismount and their participation in the tryout process will be terminated. The decision by Dr. Jackson to terminate a candidate's participation is final and not subject to appeal.
- Any questions concerning horsemanship tryouts or horsemanship judging should be directed to Dr. Sam Jackson, 742-2804.
- Only those candidates that pass the equestrian portion will advance to the simulation. Dr. Jackson will meet with candidates following completion of the equestrian portion to announce those who will advance.
- Candidates must achieve an overall score of 80% or better to advance in the process.
- Each person participating in the simulation will hitch the university's trailer, load the university mascot into the trailer and drive the truck and trailer through a series of maneuvers.
- There will be 2-3 knowledgeable judges who shall evaluate each candidate on his/her ability to handle the truck and trailer.
- The simulation will be judged on a simple pass or fail. A candidate who fails the simulation may not continue to the interview process.
- Each candidate who passes the equestrian and simulation portion of tryouts will be interviewed by the Masked Rider Advisory Committee. Interview times will be scheduled immediately following the simulation.
- The interview will last approximately 30 minutes and will cover such topics as your knowledge of public relations, horse care, Texas Tech, etc.
- Any questions concerning the interview process should be directed to the Masked Rider Committee Chairperson, Stephanie Rhode, at 742-5433.
- Candidates must achieve an interview score of 80% or better to be eligible for the position.
The Masked Rider Advisory Committee will use the candidate application, evaluations, equestrian results and interview in determining the 2023-2024 Masked Rider.
The 2023-2024 Masked Rider will be publically announced at the Transfer of Reins in April.