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First Texas Tech ‘Masked Rider’ Dead at 81

Joe Kirk Fulton - First Texas Tech Masked Rider Dead at 81
With Fulton as the Masked Rider leading the team onto the field for the first time ever, the underdog Red Raiders defeated Auburn 35-13. (source: ttu.edu)

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Joe Kirk Fulton, who as a Texas Tech senior became the university’s first “Masked Rider” at the 1954 Gator Bowl, has died at his West Texas ranch. He was 81.

Fulton died Wednesday at his home on the Fulton Quien Sabe Ranch in the Hill Country near the LBJ Ranch, stepson Larry Fulton told the university.

Going into the Jacksonville, Fla., bowl game, Tech was the only big college football program in Texas without a mascot. Just before the game, Tech coach DeWitt Weaver persuaded Fulton to don a masked rider’s costume and roam the sidelines on horseback. The underdog Red Raiders defeated Auburn, 35-13.

Since then, 51 other student riders on 14 horses have filled the role.

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