What we do
Because we are the protectors of tradition and have been around since 1936, we've had to opportunity to create and maintain some of the best traditions that Texas Tech has to offer. These are just a few of the big ones.
SADDLE TRAMPS TRADITIONS
In 1936 victory bells were given to Texas Tech as a class gift. The bells rang for the first time at the 1936 class's graduation. It is said that after the win over TCU, the following year, the bells rang through out the night. The bells kept Lubbock residents up all night. Thereafter, the bell ringing was limited to 30 minutes. We ring the bells after Texas Tech victories and during special occasions. The Victory Bells - one large and one small, which combine to weigh 1,200 pounds - hang in the east tower of the Administration Building.
CAROL OF LIGHTS
The Carol of Lights is celebrated throughout the month of December. 25,000 lights cover the Administration Building, Holden Hall, The Science Quadrangle, and the Engineering Key. We start the lighting ceremony with a torch-lighted parade. Carol of Lights celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2018.
The Homecoming Bonfire is an extremely important part of the Homecoming Week Festivities. The night before the football game, thousands of spectators gather at Urbanovsky park for the homecoming pep rally. The pep rally consists of TTU Cheer, Raider Red, the Masked Rider, The Goin Band From Raiderland, and us lighting the bonfire. The bonfire is made up of 400-600 pallets doused in gasoline.
Prior to the 1971 season, the Southwest Conference passed a rule that prevented members of the conference from taking live animals to non-home games unless the host team had no objections. So Jim Gaspard, a member of the Saddle Tramps, created Raider Red from a drawing by the late Lubbock cartoonist Dirk West as an alternative to the Masked Rider. Raider Red's student persona is kept a secret from the Tech community.
When a big rival comes to town, we spread out across campus and guard all the statues. We start at dark and we leave when the sun comes up. It's a good time to catch up on some homework and bond with someone in the brotherhood.
We carry Bangin' Bertha, a bell on a trailer, to all home football games and homecoming events. Bertha was designed in 1959 by Saddle Tramp Joe Winegar, and was donated by the Santa Fe Railroad. Bangin' Bertha is considered a spirit-raiser and a big tradition at Texas Tech. We've taken Bertha to NRG Stadium in Houston, as well as AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
THE BELL CIRCLE
We kick off every Home game with a Bell Circle. We lead all of Raiderland at Jones AT&T Stadium, The United Supermarkets Arena, and Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park in chanting "Go Tech Go, Fight Tech Fight, Win Tech Win" moments before kick-off, tip-off, or the first at-bat.
WILL ROGERS AND SOAPSUDS
Probably the most famous tradition we participate in, we began to wrap the Will Rogers Statue because when Texas A&M came to Lubbock to play us in football, they spray painted the statue. We were told by the authorities at Tech to cover the statue in whatever we could find. We wrapped the statue in red crepe paper and since then, we've done it every home game and for big events.
After we get done with wrapping Will Rogers and Soapsuds, we celebrate and have a little pep rally at Midnight. We sing the Matador Song, Fight Raiders Fight, the Saddle Tramp song and all the active members sing their pledge class songs. We finish off the night with a speech from our President and a few pictures.