LUBBOCK, Texas — Beloved Texas Tech mascot Fearless Champion will be taking his final run at this weekend’s home football game. He will be recognized at halftime in a special ceremony.
For 10 years, Fearless has whinnied his way into hearts across West Texas, leading the charge of players at every Tech home game.
Don’t worry- he’s perfectly healthy. He’s just taking a much-needed break. He’s heading to greener pastures — literally — at a forever home with one of his former masked riders. After all, Fearless is 16-years-old, which is roughly 50 in human years.
But for some, like Ashley Adams, he’s much more than a mascot.
“It sounds so cheesy because every [Masked Rider] has said it, but he is your best friend. You spend so much time with him on the road with him, at appearances,” Adams said.
Adams is the face behind the current Masked Rider, and she’s handled Fearless for the last year.
“It’s the honor of my lifetime … [When I was in kindergarten], they asked, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ and I said the Texas Tech Masked Rider,” Adams said.
Fearless made his first appearance at a bowl game in 2012, and since then, he has traveled about 150,000 miles and made more than 2,600 apperances.
“You get the kids running up to you going, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s a horse!’ and they are like leaving their parents in the dust, they are running so fast. Or you get people who don’t believe he’s a real horse because he’s so well behaved,” Adams said.
He’s also carried 10 masked riders, but it’s clear to see, the relationship he has with Adams is a special one.
“He is the sweetest horse that I have ever been around. He loves the general public, and for people who have never been around a horse, it can be intimidating,” Adams said. “He has given us more than we could have ever asked of any horse, so this is the least we could do for him.”
Adams said whoever takes the reigns next after Fearless will have some pretty big horse shoes to fill.
“Every part of his name, it fits him perfectly … He ranks number one hands down,” Adams said.
This weekend will also be Adam’s last as the Masked Rider too — an emotional farewell tour for the two best friends.
“To be the one that gets to share that with him, it still brings tears to my eyes … I’m just blessed to be able to share my year with a horse this incredible,” Adams said.
Fearless Champion will continue to make appearances until the summer, so say hi while you can. Texas Tech is searching for a new horse to replace him.