The High Riders at Texas Tech are a student organization deeply rooted in the traditions of women’s athletics and the university as a whole.
Founded in 1976 alongside the Lady Raiders athletic program, the High Riders started out as a support system for women’s basketball.
“The founders thought that women’s athletics should have a program that supports and cheers them on like the men’s teams do,” Stacy Stockard Caliva, the High Riders adviser, said. “It began with Lady Raiders basketball and has since branched out to support more women’s sports.”
Now, the High Riders also support women’s soccer, softball and volleyball in addition to basketball, Caliva said.
The High Riders uphold values of service, spirit, sisterhood, leadership and tradition, Maritza Ramirez, High Riders president and a senior political science major from San Antonio, said.
“One of the most important values for me is sisterhood,” Ramirez said. “We have an amazing group of girls (in the organization), and I think that with that sisterhood mentality we’re able to accomplish those leadership goals and service events, really anything we put our minds to.”
The organization also emphasizes leadership both within the organization and on campus to their members, Ramirez said.
“Our founders set the tone for leadership on campus and wanted to make their own space and have an impact on campus,” Zoe Wall, a sophomore architecture major from Frisco and the High Riders vice president, said. “We spend a lot of time really building a community not only with each other in the organization but with the school as a whole.”
“We’re the women on campus that you can go to and ask questions about Tech in general, fun facts about the school, or even questions about the surrounding area,” Ramirez said. “We’re always available to help out.”
Tradition plays a large role for the High Riders, from attending women’s basketball each season to ringing the victory bells on campus to celebrate Lady Raider wins. The High Riders are one of two student organizations whose members are allowed to try out for Raider Red, Caliva said.
“Our women really have a deep love for Texas Tech. They’re committed to furthering the spirit here at Tech as well as furthering and continuing on traditions that mean so much to our campus community,” Caliva said. “It’s been 45 years since High Riders was founded, and we’re still carrying on those core components.”
The High Riders also participate in and help out with other campus traditions, such as Carol of the Lights and Arbor Day festivities.
“I’ve really loved getting to learn so much about Tech and the traditions on campus during my time in the organization,” Wall said. “We also get to connect with different groups on campus and work together to keep school spirit up.”
Throughout the year, members of the High Riders are expected to partake in community service events as well, Wall said.
“In the past we’ve worked with the Lions Club in Lubbock and we’ve also done several park clean ups recently in order to stay safe with (COVID-19),” Wall said. “We try to get involved in the community outside of campus and encourage our members to volunteer.”
The High Riders accept new members through a recruitment process hosted each semester, Ramirez said.
“Our new member recruitment period is at the start of every semester, and then throughout the semester we teach the new members about the traditions of the High Riders as well as the traditions of the university and what the organization is all about,” Caliva said. “We want our members to have a great, well-rounded knowledge of Texas Tech through the programs and service in the organization.”