The Horse of a Lifetime

Fearless Champion stands alongside his last Masked Rider in the comfort of his barn at the Texas Tech Equestrian Center.

Texas Tech University’s loved mascot retires in his 10th year serving as Fearless Champion.

Some things are just meant to be. There are lucky moments, wishful thoughts, and passionate dreams that add up to make the meant-to-be, be. Take Ashley Adams. Back in elementary school in Lubbock, Texas she was selected as the student of the week. When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she replied, “I want to be the Texas Tech University Masked Rider.” Today, Ashley is the 60th student to serve as the Texas Tech’s legendary mascot and the last to ride the iconic retiring horse seen running at the Jones AT&T Stadium, Fearless Champion.

“I thought that was a full-time job-once you got it, you stuck to it your whole life,” Adams said. “But, yes, I’ve wanted to be the Masked Rider since I was in kindergarten.”

While it might not be a lifelong career, she was right about it being a yearlong full-time job. The horse and rider duo are on track to make appearances at 450 events that will break the record of event appearances for the Masked Rider Program. The schedule has forged a strong relationship and commitment between Adams and “Fearless.”

“Everybody loves Fearless, and he truly is the best part about Texas Tech,” Adams said. “He represents what a fearless champion is. He represents Texas Tech, and he has raised the bar for all of us in so many aspects. He, hands down, without a doubt, is my favorite part about Texas Tech and being the Masked Rider.”

To have a horse that you love so much and to trust that no matter what scenario you’re in, he’s got you, is a true blessing.

– Ashley Adams

Morgan Gramling, an assistant to Adams, also feels the positive effects of knowing Fearless.

“I feel incredibly honored to be able to work with Fearless Champion,” Gramling said. “It is an opportunity very few people get to experience and being a part of the Masked Rider Program has been an absolute dream.”

Fearless Retirement

Being the Masked Rider this year holds special meaning for Adams because Fearless is retiring. She became emotional as she explained the weight of the moments she has experienced with Fearless in his last year.

“For some reason out of all of his Masked Riders, I got that honor and got to share his last run with him in the Jones,” Adams said.

Adams said it is hard to picture Fearless’s 10-year career at Texas Tech coming to an end, but she is happy for him. Fearless has served well and made a true impact on Texas Tech, his Masked Riders, and his fans. His story at Texas Tech was meant to be, and he will continue to live the good life he was meant to live with one of his former Masked Riders.

“He truly is my horse of a lifetime,” Adams said. “To have a horse that you love so much and to trust that no matter what scenario you’re in, he’s got you, is a true blessing.”