Rachel McLelland, accepted the reins to Fearless Champion on Friday, April 17, becoming the 54th student to proudly wear the black mask and scarlet cape.
McLelland, a junior from Tijeras, New Mexico, is a pre-med student also majoring in anthropology. She loves all things horses and started riding when she was 3 years old. In the coming year, she will promote the spirit of Texas Tech at athletic events and other school and civic appearances while representing herself as an ambassador for the university and sharing her love for riding and Texas Tech.
"I am so honored and humbled to represent Texas Tech in the most exciting way possible," McLelland said. "The Masked Rider is the most recognizable symbol of Texas Tech and has a long, illustrious history. I hope to carry on the legacy through hard work and commitment, representing not only the Masked Rider, but also Texas Tech and all they stand for."
From novice to the Grand Prix
McLelland's love for horses came at an early age. She learned how to ride as a toddler, following in the footsteps of her mom, who grew up with horses as well.
She recalls when her parents, Scot and Betsy McLelland, bought her first horse, named Flower Rose. McLelland always took the reins when it came to caring for her horses. When she had Flower Rose, she was out in the field every day with her. She fed the horse, gave her treats and groomed her; she was proud to call Flower Rose her own.
At the age of 5, McLelland began showing horses and competed in English hunter/jumper competitions. By the end of high school, she was competing nationally at the Grand Prix level for equine jumping.
Since she started competing, she has won numerous awards for individual hunter/jumper classes, reserve and show championships across the Southwest and awards for being the top rider in her division in New Mexico and in other states, including Utah, Colorado and Arizona.
Now at Texas Tech, McLelland is no stranger to the Masked Rider family. During the 2014-2015 season, she was selected as an assistant for the 53rd rider, Mackenzie White, which McLelland said it gave her invaluable experience in learning about Texas Tech, the Masked Rider program and what it really takes to be the most iconic symbol and mascot for the university.
During her college career, McLelland has been involved with several organizations on campus. She's involved with the Pre-Med Society, Health Occupations Students of America, student ambassador for Texas Tech's College of Arts and Sciences, Wreckin' Crew (a spirit program) and Sigma Phi Lambda.
She also is a member of the United States Equestrian Federation and United States Hunter Jumper Association.
Written By: K'Leigh Sims, TTU Marketing & Communications
"No team in any bowl game ever made a more sensational entrance." - Ed Danforth, Atlanta Journal, Gator Bowl, January 1, 1954.
Schedule the Masked Rider to attend your event. Appearance Requests must be made at least 14 days in advanced of event date.
Donate to the Texas Tech Masked Rider Endowment Fund. This endowment fund is set up to help offset the many expenses incurred by the rider each year. Your support is greatly appreciated.Donate Online
Send check to:
Masked Rider Endowment
Attn: Stephanie Rhode
Center for Campus Life
Lubbock, TX 79409