RaiderGate kicked off at 2 p.m. in the R-1 parking lot, as well as west of the Jones AT&T stadium, in anticipation of Texas Tech’s first home game of the season.

The event came back in full effect after COVID-19 limited game-day activities last year. David Sacco, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student from Houston, said he missed being able to hang out with friends before a game.

“Last year was kind of a bummer because it was hard to go out and do anything because it was, like, the whole COVID thing, but yeah, be back at it, spend time with our friends,” Sacco said.

Students and student organizations gathered under tents and car trunks for an afternoon of food, games and music. Organizations present at RaiderGate included Risk Intervention and Safety Education, Omega Delta Phi, the rugby team and more. 

Maxumus Richardson, a first-year pre-law student from Houston, said this was his first ever RaiderGate. After hearing so much about it, Richardson said he was excited to see what the festivities were all about.

“I’ve heard a lot of great things, which is you have a lot of fun, you meet a lot of people, and I have friends that are going to come by and eat our food, and that’s always awesome,” Richardson said.

Due to RaiderGate rules prohibiting alcohol and glass containers for any food or beverage, Richardson and his friends brought paper cups to play a game of water pong, along with ladders for them to stand on to make the game more challenging.

Richardson said he and his friends were most excited to watch the game and see the Red Raiders’ offense against Stephen F. Austin University. Some students said they were most excited about Shaquille O’Neal’s performance at Raider Alley. 

“I could not care less about football, I’m trying to meet Shaquille O’Neal,” fourth-year student Sacco said.

Ynes Ineza, a first-year computer science and mathematics student from Dallas, also said this was her first-ever RaiderGate. Ineza was in attendance with the Tech chapter of The Navigators, a faith-based ministry.

Despite the heat, Ineza said she was loving RaiderGate as a first-timer. As for the game, Ineza said she was most excited to watch the Goin’ Band perform, as she had done band herself throughout middle and high school.

“I want to see the college, but I am really … I always love Goin’ Band, so I’m like, this is my opportunity to see it in person,” Ineza said. 

RaiderGate activities will end at kickoff, and vehicles must remain in the R-1 parking lot until the game ends or four hours after kickoff, according to the Tech website.

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