Ashley Adams, AFS grad student and new Masked Rider, takes the reins
By: Norman Martin
Ashley Adams, a master's graduate student in Texas Tech's Department of Animal and Food Sciences, is the university's 60th Masked Rider, one of the most recognizable college mascots in the country. Adams began duties after Friday's Transfer of Reins ceremonies (Apr. 23) at the university's McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center.
“It feels so humbling and so exciting all at the same time,” Adams said. “To be named such a recognizable college mascot is an amazing feeling.”
Mounted on a black quarter horse and clad in an ensemble that includes a black mask, a bolero hat and a red-and-black cape, the Masked Rider makes hundreds of appearances and put thousands of miles on the Masked Rider's pickup as it crisscrosses the Southwest to promote Texas Tech spirit and goodwill at athletic events, parades, rodeos and other functions.
Adams is no stranger to Texas Tech or the Masked Rider. Born and raised in Lubbock, she even dressed up as the iconic mascot as a little girl. And there was little doubt in Adams' mind that she was going to Texas Tech. In fact, she left a traditional high school setting through the Lubbock Cooper Independent School District and enrolled in Texas Tech's TTU K-12 just so she could graduate early.
During her undergraduate years, Adams was a member of the Ranch Horse Team and showing a gelding horse, Maverick, for two years. “I was part of that team for four years, and we were National Champions in 2015 and 2016,” Adams said. “That, to me, is always a feel-good moment when you see all of your hard work pay off. I'm pretty proud of those two national titles.”
Adams graduated from Texas Tech with her bachelor's degree in equine production in 2017, and entered her graduate program studies under the direction of Heidi Brady, a professor of equine behavior, reproductive physiology and therapeutic riding in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences.
In 1954, Texas Tech fans attending the Gator Bowl in Tampa, Florida, witnessed the evolution of a beloved tradition that Red Raider fans would embrace for decades to come. Dressed in black with a long flowing cape and mounted on a solid black horse, Joe Kirk Fulton caught the eyes of the nation when he charged onto the playing field to lead the Red Raider football team.
Ed Danforth of the Atlanta Constitution wrote: "No team in any bowl game ever made a more sensational entrance." The dramatic entry by the horse and rider electrified the crowd, as well as the team which beat Auburn 35-13.
Contributing Amanda Bowman
CONTACT: Cindy Akers, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Programs, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or email@example.com
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Editor: Norman Martin
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