I got the chance to catch up with Wes Law, a member of the Texas Tech basketball group Raider Riot. We sent the group some questions and Wes went back to the committee to gather their answers. Here is what we got…
DanSwany: Please tell us Texas Tech fans a little about how the Raider Riot was formed and your mission in regards to the school and basketball team.
Raider Riot: Raider Riot began when myself and a handful of other guys decided to go to every game, snag the front row, and go crazy every game during Coach Beard’s first year. It began as just something we did simply because we loved Texas Tech and we loved basketball. Overtime we started getting more attention, even getting SportsCenter to have a segment about us. After that the athletic depart reach out because they liked how we got publicity and how we helped build energy at games. That was 2 year ago and ever since we’ve partnered with the athletic department to keep it going. This year was the year we all finally agreed to give the student section a name and make the USA a notorious place to play. After some meetings we came up with the name Raider Riot and have worked on building up the identity since.
DanSwany: How does a Texas Tech student join your committee?
Raider Riot: We always spend a lot of time looking around the student section trying to find people who are going crazy from wherever they’re at (we also will notice people who are sitting down on their phones the whole time) and if they are there game in and game out we reach out to them with an offer to join. If we don’t offer first people will tend to reach out to us instead. The main goal is to not have “Raider Riot” not just be the first 2 rows of every section, though. Everyone is a part of Raider Riot in the end and we want people to know that. Whether you’re sitting in the front row or in the back row, you’re a part of Raider Riot and we want to get everyone to go crazy.
DanSwany: Walk us through the typical process that happens when the committee meets before a game…
Raider Riot: We usually text each other with information we’ll find about other players and teams and what we should get the students to focus on. When the pre-game meetings come we get to physically hash out all the details and bounce ideas around really well. A lot of the stuff we work with will also develop during a game, since it can be tough to think of ideas when you’re not in the environment. The meetings are just to prep for games as best as possible beforehand.
DanSwany: What idea has gotten the best response from the Red Raider crowd?
Raider Riot: Some things have picked up really well, while some things haven’t picked up at all. It’s just the natural progression of things. It’s still early in the season, and this one is big for Raider Riot, but through it all I’d say the biggest response has to be either swag surf, whatever chant we use during a game, or the pre-game warm-up sheets (May they Rest In Peace)
DanSwany: The table set up on the southwest entrance at the USA that has posters & signs; are those for rent at games?
Raider Riot: Yeah, those are for “rent” for anyone who wants it. Give your ID to the desk and you get it back whenever you turn your item in.
DanSwany: Have things changed since Coach Beard has been in charge of the Red Raiders basketball program? More access, more things for students, or more interaction?
Raider Riot: Basketball has had a ridiculous turnaround since Beard got here. Never in all my life have I seen the USA as consistently filled and electric as it has been since he’s been here. It’s a big focus of his, and the fans have given back in turn. He’s turned a struggling program into an elite one and Texas Tech fans are sold out on it.
DanSwany: Give us some insight on what to expect to see from the Raider Riot at future games this season?
Raider Riot: We hope to reach a point where Raider Riot is a household name, something that opposing coaches have to talk about when their team comes to Lubbock. Props, costumes, signs, and chants are all things we expect to add to everything as time goes on, but the major thing that we want is to simply have the entire student section sold out and treating every game like the world is watching until the world watches every game.
DanSwany: What does it mean (to you) to be a Red Raider?
Raider Riot: I grew up a Red Raider. My dad played basketball here back in 1980. The baseball field is named after my grandfather. Most all of my family has been heavily involved with the university since I’ve been alive. I was born and raised to bleed scarlet and black. I think the greatest strength of Texas Tech has always been its shared identity with Lubbock. It’s been looked over and shorted time and time again to the point where it maintains this “us vs. everyone” underdog mentality. It represents West Texas in such a relatable way that everyone around has always fanatically supported it. When Texas Tech prospers, all of us prosper. We’ve always been out to prove to everyone that we belong, and we do belong. Nobody is as proud to be a fan of something as Tech fans are to be Red Raiders. It’s a great university and it brings everyone to share that identity with each other. We’ll always be sold short and we’ll always be ready to prove the world wrong. That’s where I think the greatest parts of the university come from.
DanSwany: A special thanks to Wes and all of Raider Riot for answering our questions today! Please look for them at the games and join in on the fun by following them on twitter @ttuRaiderRiot. Keep on doing a great job, and Wreck ’em Tech!!!