The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

Tarleton State’s newest Texan Rider

Tarleton+States+newest+Texan+Rider

   As many Tarleton State students, staff, and faculty know, the Texan Rider is the renowned mascot of our beloved Tarleton State University. However, what some individuals may not know, is that our revered mascot has had the privilege of the “Texan Rider” title only for the last 50 years. 

   In 1961, Tarleton State upgraded its status from a two-year degree program to a four-year university, and in lieu of the institution’s renewed prominence, the college held a contest to discover a new title for Tarleton State students and athletic teams. 

   From this contest, the nickname “Texans” emerged, and it has remained this way ever since. Following this, in the 1970’s the Texan Rider finally made its first appearance as the official mascot of Tarleton State University. 

   Every few years, a Tarleton State student is carefully chosen to fulfill the role of Tarleton State University’s mascot as the Texan Rider, and they carry a large portion of Tarleton State’s traditions and spirit in their hands. 

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   With the last reigning Texan Rider, Walker Kirk, having graduated this past year, a new Texan Rider has been called upon to supersede his position, and just when Tarleton State needed him most, sophomore student, Kolt Byrd, has saddled up for the occasion. 

   Byrd is a 20-year-old Texas native hailed from a small town called Whitney. He is currently working toward an Animal Science degree with a concentration in business. 

   Byrd’s initial motive for auditioning to be the next Texan Rider stemmed from the previous Texan Rider himself, Walker Kirk, who serendipitously happened to be one of Byrd’s Tarleton Transition Mentors (TTM) whilst at Duck Camp. Byrd stands firm to his belief that Walker was his biggest motivation to pursue the next Texan Rider position. 

   “I had never heard of it [the Texan Rider] until I met him [Walker Kirk], and I thought, ‘that is a cool, cool position.’ I always wanted to get involved, but I did not know how,” Byrd explained. 

   Byrd plans to embrace his own character, stay true to himself, and not put on a mask to fit the expectations of others. Many of these characteristics were displayed by Walker Kirk during his time as the Texan Rider, and Byrd has explained that he aims to embrace these ideals during his own tenure in the position.  

   “I plan to embody the Texan Rider as well as be myself. I aim to be an example for people, and let others know that it is alright to not be in the party scene. Do not go outside of your normal to fit in,” Byrd expressed.  

   Byrd is enthusiastic to begin his mascot duties starting this upcoming semester, and one of the many duties of the Texan Riders is to attend a multitude of Tarleton State’s athletic events to offer encouragement, promote school spirit, and provide unwavering support. 

   “I am most excited for football of course, but I am also super excited for basketball and volleyball. But regardless, I would love to support everybody,” Byrd declared. 

   When Byrd is spotted at the countless events he is sure to make an appearance at, you will see him wearing a unique pair of leather chaps that are slightly different from those that are worn by the Plowboy spirit organization. 

   Moreover, it is possible that Tarleton State’s venerated school spirit icon, Oscar P., will be in attendance at these school events hand-in-hand with our brand-new Texan Rider.

   Contrary to what some freshman students and outsider individuals may believe, Oscar P. is not the Tarleton State mascot; the one and only Texan Rider is bestowed this title.

   “Oscar P. is a huge part of Tarleton spirit and tradition, but of course, the Texan rider is the true mascot,” Byrd clarified. 

   Apart from his newfound duty as the Texan Rider, Byrd is a devoted team member of Paradigm, a nondenominational college worship ministry in Stephenville. 

   “Above all else, I want people to know that Jesus saves and I thank him for this opportunity,” Byrd expressed. 

   Byrd also lives by the well-known quote hailing from none other than Rocky Balboa, “It’s not about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.” 

   Tarleton State is overjoyed to welcome Kolt Byrd with open arms as Tarleton State’s newest Texan Rider for the next few years to come!

   For more information regarding Tarleton State University traditions – such as the Texan Rider – please visit https://www.tarleton.edu/traditions/.

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Campbell Burnett, Content Editor

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