The longest serving mascot for the Masked Rider at Texas Tech has been taken out of service. Midnight Matador (pictured, above) had served as Texas Tech's official mascot since 2002 and was restricted from 'game-day action' at last week's football game against West Virginia due to an injury. 11 Masked Riders have ridden atop the Midnight Matador at various Texas Tech events over the past decade: Jessica Melvin, Ben Holland, Stockard Moncibaiz, Justin Burgin, Amy Bell, Kevin Burns, Ashley Hartzog, Brianne Aucutt Hight, Christi Chadwell, Bradley Skinner and the current Masked Rider Ashley Wenzel (pictured, below).

Ashley Wirz,

According to Texas Tech, the Masked Rider Advisory Committee currently is reviewing and selecting both interim and permanent horse options for the program. Raider Red filled in for Midnight Matador at the Texas Tech- West Virginia football game, by leading the team onto the field on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Midnight Matador is the longest-serving mascot in the program’s history. The horse will be honored in an official ceremony at Texas Tech’s final home football game against Kansas on November 10. Midnight Matador will continue to make limited appearances throughout the remainder of the year on behalf of Texas Tech.

The second-longest serving mascot in Texas Tech history is Happy IV-II’s eight-year term from 1980-1987.

Texas Tech University officials estimate that Midnight Matador traveled more than 100,000 miles to more than 1,500 university and community appearances, including a return trip to the Gator Bowl in 2007, the location of Joe KirkFulton’s Masked Rider tradition-starting run in 1954.