In 1976, Nancy Neil, Lynn Morris and Kathy Pate founded a student organization that supported women’s athletics. Today, that organization has 40 active female members that spend their time at women’s athletic events cheering, ringing bells and doing what the founders intended.
The Texas Tech High Riders is a student organization and spirit group that takes part in athletic events, community service and sisterhood, McKenzie Cameron, the High Riders president, said.
“I would definitely say our five pillars are spirit, sisterhood, service, leadership and tradition,” Cameron, a fourth-year accounting student from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, said. “We’re somewhat of a faith based group as well. I know we do prayers at every meeting. I think that’s helped our sisterhood because I think we can share on a more personal level more than other groups can.”
The High Riders have worked hard to uphold Tech’s traditions like Carol of Lights, homecoming parade and Arbor Day, all while building memories and relationships, Zoe Wall, the High Riders vice president said.
“So we believe in supporting each other and kind of bringing everyone together around common goals,” Wall, a fourth-year architecture student from Frisco, said. “I think our official motto is only we are as high as our lowest members. So we like to uplift everybody, and kind of bring girls from all different kinds of majors together to support athletics and the community.”
Lila McPherrson, the High Riders social chair, said the High Riders go through recruitment in the fall and the spring.
However, McPherrson, a second-year communication studies student from Leander, said the High Riders are always looking for new members.
“We’ll make stuff and try to recruit and spread the word about what we do. And then from there, there’s about a one week open rush process, and we just ask girls to come to typically two of those events,” McPherrson said. “Then we’ll do a closed rush with everyone who attended the open portion like new member recruitment. I feel like we are always recruiting. I’ve talked to several girls at football games and basketball games.”
Each member of the High Riders has their own favorite memories and traditions. McPherrson said her favorite Tech tradition is the ringing of the bells.
“I didn’t fully understand what was so special about ringing the bells. This past year was the first time I’ve ever heard the bells ring,” McPherrson said. “So then I realized I was like that’s actually a really cool thing that we do. I got to hear it from a fan’s point of view. I think it’s just so cool to partake in that.”
Cameron said her father was an intern when they built the United Supermarkets Arena, which has helped her choose her favorite tradition.
Cameron said her favorite tradition is the pink out basketball game, ‘PLAY4KAY.’ This annual game recognizes the late Kay Yow, women’s basketball head coach at North Carolina State.
“I really enjoyed the streamer drop. I mean, it’s really scary up there. But it’s really cool because not a whole lot of people get to experience it,” Cameron said. “Hey, if my dad can do it, I probably can. Being able to get up there and get to see the stadium in pink is really special.”