Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State: Stolen Traditions

Oct 20, 2012; Stillwater OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys mascot Bullet and spirit rider during the first quarter against the Iowa State Cyclones at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

No. 15 Texas Tech and No. 18 Oklahoma State face off this Saturday in what is one of the most underrated Big 12 rivalries still in existence. Aside from the football itself, here’s why:

Oklahoma State has a history of donning many names and taking on several traditions. Some are entirely their own, like the hypnotic Waving Song and glossy-faced Pistol Pete. Some, though, maybe aren’t so unique to Stillwater.

Commonly known as “Xerox State,” the Cowboys are semi-famous for “borrowing” traditions from other schools. Some are a little more obvious than others, so before we proceed with this scathing review, it should be noted that Oklahoma State has violated no copyrights or trademarks. They (mostly) do a good job of putting their own spin on ideas.

Orange and Black

Who they stole it from: Princeton

Originally Oklahoma A&M, they considered themselves the “Princeton of the Plains,” adopting the orange and black colors and Tiger mascot from said Ivy League institution. Eventually, the school changed its name to Oklahoma State and the mascot changed as well; the colors, however, remain orange (happy Halloween) and black to this day.

The first known use of orange and black as Princeton’s colors came during a baseball game at Yale on June 26, 1867. So, dibs.

“Bullet” and the Spirit Rider

Who they stole it from: Texas Tech

The Spirit Rider first appeared in 1984. A man by the name of Eddy Finley, asked to come up with a mascot for the band who could carry the school flag down the field, started the program and John Beall Jr., a member of the Rodeo Team, was the first Spirit Rider on his own horse, a black mare named Della.

The Spirit Rider marches onto the field with the band and runs to the 30-yard-line after each touchdown.

The Texas Tech Masked Rider became an official mascot in 1954. The first rider, Joe Kirk Fulton, led the ’54 football team onto the field at the Gator Bowl. Fulton wore Levi’s, a red shirt, black cape and was mounted on a horse named – you guessed it – “blackie.”

Still to this day, the Masked Rider leads the Red Raider football team onto the field at home games.

“Pistols Firing” hand sign 

Who they stole it from: Texas Tech

According to a Lubbock AJ article from 2008, the phrase was coined in 2001 by radio announcer Dave Hunziker, who’s in his 12th season as the play-by-play voice of Oklahoma State football. The hand sign (thumb and forefinger extended to form a gun shape) followed suit, by all reputable accounts.

While it’s identical to what Tech does, it’s not officially considered a tradition by the university.

The “Guns Up” sign at Texas Tech can be traced back to L. Glenn Dippel, a 1961 alumnus. He took inspiration from Tech mascot Raider Red’s revolvers and in 1971 developed the iconic hand symbol and slogan. The Saddle Tramps and Tech cheerleaders immediately adopted it, as did fans.

Say, “pistols firing” out loud with gusto and tell me you don’t sound ridiculous.

Topics: Big 12, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Texas Tech Football, Texas Tech Red Raiders

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  • Fred Poige

    Actually, the “glossy-faced Pistol Pete” is a knock-off of the original glossy-faced Raider Red. Perhaps someday Xerox State will have an original idea of their own.