Raider Red and Saddle Tramps on the field

Raider Red firing his pistols into the air at the Texas Tech football's home opener against Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 11. The Saddle Tramps along with Raider Red rush out onto the field at the start of every home game at Jones AT&T Stadium.

The Texas Tech CoEd Cheer team and Raider Red both brought home awards from Daytona Beach, Florida after competing in the National Cheerleaders Association and National Dance Association Cheer and Dance competition. 

Raider Red earned the national championship title for the second year in-a-row while the cheer team secured second place in the Division 1A CoEd Cheer category. 

Bruce Bills, the cheer mascot and STUNT head coach, said he was grateful to get back to competing after going through the hardships of the pandemic. 

“This team was a very special team. They came together and worked hard from day one …. we had a lot of senior members that came back for a bonus year,” Bills said. “So they got an extra year this year. And so they really bought into it and they worked hard from day one on that.”

Oklahoma State took the first title and finished just under one point above the Red Raiders. 

“They did a great job and all the way through the final performance. Very proud of the score sheets that reflect that we did exactly what we needed to do,” Bills said. “But unfortunately, we just had two mistakes that cost us the title but overall, it was an exciting year.”

Matthew Stephenson, a graduate student from Waco said earning second place was heartbreaking because he and the team were so close to winning the national championship title. 

“One less error in our routine and we would have taken first place so (it) definitely hurts,” Stephenson said. “Definitely hurts after having put so much time and so much work into the routine into this team.”

The team prepared all season and traveled about 1,400 miles to Daytona, to represent the scarlet and black at the highest stage. 

“I believe that you know, regardless of our placing, I think we have a very incredibly talented team,” Stephenson said. “The work ethic is definitely there to match that so I don’t think of his team as being anything less than a first place team.

Fourth-year kinesiology student, Shannon Woolsey from Katy, said it was difficult to not get first place but instead of being a sore loser she put a smile on her face and remembered the happy memories while in Florida. 

“It is my last year graduating and it sucks to, you know, go out and not get first place like you hoped and dreamed to get but this team was 1,000 percent one of the best teams I’ve ever been on in my cheer career,” Woolsey said. 

Raider Red earned new bling as they won the first place NCA & NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championships. 

“They are seriously the greatest human beings (Raider Red) comes to our things and gives us so much support. And so when he went out there and he got first place he deserved that 1,000 percent,” Woolsey said. 

Raider Red will now spend another year defending their National Championship title after winning in both 2021 and 2022. Stephenson said Raider Red worked out at the same gym as his and he saw the amount of hard work and effort they put in for this title. 

“They worked very hard for it. So I know that they put in a lot of work,” Stephenson said. “So they’re hungry and they wanted to hold the national championship for another year. And I think they’ll do it again next year. I definitely think red is the best mascot in college.” 

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