Very sad! Midnight Matador was well-known to many Texans. Texas Tech’s mascot since the 1950’s has been the Masked Rider. The horses that carry their mascot have always been held in great esteem. Midnight Matador represented Texas Tech from the age of 3 to 14 years of age – quite a long career. ~ HfH
Former Masked Rider recalls Matador’s personality, presence at Tech football games
Midnight Matador, the longest-serving horse in Texas Tech’s Masked Rider program, died Tuesday of complications from colic surgery.
Matador was the 13th horse in Tech’s Masked Rider program and served for 11 seasons — three more than any other Masked Rider horse, according to a news release from the university.
The horse mascot carried 11 riders from 2002-13, and it’s estimated Midnight Matador traveled more than 100,000 miles.
Bradley Skinner, Masked Rider in 2011 and 2012, fondly recalled his time with Matador before and after the horse’s retirement from the program.
“He had a personality,” Skinner said. “He liked to pick on people sometimes, not in a mean-spirited way, more of a way to entertain himself.
“He’d always test you, especially new riders, to see how much you knew.”
Skinner said Matador seemed to enjoy the attention that came with representing Texas Tech at football games and other events.
“In parades, at appearances — he was definitely a different horse than if I were riding him by myself,” Skinner said. “As soon as you get him in that football stadium, no matter how tired he was, he’d perk right up.”
Matador’s favorite part of the job seemed to be running across the field at the start of Tech football games.
“Of all the things that people remember about a Texas Tech game, they’ll always remember that run,” he said.