The Tradition of Texan Rider at Tarleton State University

At Tarleton State University, the Texan Rider is a celebrated symbol and a cherished part of the institution’s legacy. The Texan Rider, the esteemed mascot since the 1970s, is an embodiment of school pride, tradition, and unity.

In the university’s transformative journey from a two-year degree program to a prominent four-year university in 1961, the need for a new title for the students and athletic teams arose. This led to the emergence of the moniker “Texans,” a name that has endured to this day. Subsequently, in the 1970s, the Texan Rider surfaced as the official mascot, representing the spirit and energy of Tarleton State University.

Every few years, a new student is carefully selected to step into the role of the Texan Rider, wielding the responsibility of upholding the university’s traditions and fostering a sense of community among the students and faculty. With the recent graduation of the previous Texan Rider, Walker Kirk, sophomore student Kolt Byrd has embraced the opportunity to carry on this esteemed tradition.

Hailing from a small town called Whitney, Kolt Byrd, a 20-year-old pursuing a degree in Animal Science with a focus on business, found inspiration in his predecessor, Walker Kirk, who also served as Byrd’s Tarleton Transition Mentor. Motivated by Kirk’s impact, Byrd aspires to bring his own unique essence to the role while staying true to himself.

Byrd’s vision for his tenure as the Texan Rider extends beyond just being a symbol of the university. He aims to inspire authenticity and individuality, echoing the values exhibited by his predecessor, Walker Kirk.

As Byrd prepares to undertake his duties as the Texan Rider, he eagerly anticipates supporting the university’s athletic events and nurturing school spirit. From football games to basketball and volleyball matches, Byrd is committed to rallying behind the university’s teams and fostering a sense of unity and encouragement among the student body.

When he makes appearances at various events, Byrd will be adorned in a distinct pair of leather chaps, differentiating his attire from that of the Plowboy spirit organization. Furthermore, Tarleton State’s beloved mascot, Oscar P., is likely to join Byrd at these events, embodying the spirit and enthusiasm of the university.

Byrd also seeks to emphasize the distinction between Oscar P. and the Texan Rider, clarifying that while Oscar P. holds significance in the university’s spirit and tradition, the Texan Rider rightfully carries the mantle of the official mascot.

Beyond his role as the Texan Rider, Byrd is an active member of Paradigm, a nondenominational college worship ministry in Stephenville. He aims to reflect his faith and gratitude for the opportunity through his actions as the Texan Rider.

As Byrd sets out on this new chapter, he draws inspiration from the resilient words of Rocky Balboa, fortifying his resolve to persevere in the face of challenges and adversity. Tarleton State University eagerly welcomes Kolt Byrd as the newest Texan Rider, ready to uphold and elevate the rich tradition for the years to come.

For more insights into Tarleton State University traditions, including the Texan Rider, visit Tarleton State University traditions.

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