From Texas Tech University:
Texas Tech University's new Masked Rider Corey Waggoner accepted the reins Friday (April 19) at the annual Transfer of Reins ceremony. Friday, Waggoner proudly became the 52nd student to don the mask and cape. The ceremony took place at the McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center where the new horse received the moniker "Fearless Champion."
Fearless Champion is a black, 8-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, approximately 15 hands tall and about 1,100 pounds.
Waggoner is a junior animal science major from Lubbock. Born and raised in the Hub City, he has always been a Red Raider fan. In the coming year he will promote spirit and goodwill for Texas Tech at athletic events and other school and civic appearances throughout Texas, while spreading his love of horses, passion for riding and enthusiasm for the university.
"I look forward to representing Texas Tech as a friendly face to the public and spreading school spirit," Waggoner said. "I have pictures of me as a little kid dressed in red and black on a jet-black horse from one of my riding club's parade appearances."
The son of Travis and Annette Waggoner, he attended New Deal High School and graduated from South Plains College in 2011 with an associate degree in science before transferring to Texas Tech. He already has been a member of the Masked Rider family, as he volunteered on the 2011 and 2012 Masked Rider field safety teams.
"During this time, I realized how special the Masked Rider is to Texas Tech and the community," Waggoner said. "I will strive to embody what the Masked Rider stands for: character, high moral standards, perseverance, loyalty and respect."
Waggoner started competing at playdays in barrels, poles, and other events in lead line when he was 2 and was riding horses on his own by the time he was 4. As he got older, he rode and carried a flag in many stock show parades and rodeo grand entries with his riding club, including the Fort Worth Stock Show Parade, San Angelo Stock Show parade, and in countless other large and small communities throughout Texas. At 12 he began training colts for other people until he was old enough to work.
Every year since 1993 when he was 2 years old and won his first high-point buckle, Waggoner has earned many honors and awards. He received high-point champion in 2001 at the American Association of Sheriff Posses & Riding Club (AASP&RC) Horse Show Finals for judged events (halter, horsemanship, showmanship, trail, western pleasure and reining), high-point champion for speed events, and also received his first saddle for all around champion.
Competing in AASP&RC playdays, Waggoner has been club and district champion in his age group every year he competed. In 1995 he began competing at the AASP&RC State Playday Finals, receiving high-point awards every year. After 17 years of competing at the AASP&RC Playday Finals, he finally won high-point speed event champion in 2012. He started competing in various high-point speed event saddle shows in 2001 at the Morgan Mill Shootout. In 2005 he started competing at the National Association of Riding Clubs and Sheriff Posses Playday Finals where he won the high point champion saddle in 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Waggoner is a member of the American Quarter Horse Association, the American Paint Horse Association, the American Association of Sheriff Posses & Riding Club, the National Association of Riding Clubs and Sheriff Posses, Better Barrel Races, and a former member of the National Barrel Horse Association.
"The Texas Tech Masked Rider is more than just a mascot; it is one of the most recognizable public symbols of Texas Tech University," Waggoner said. "It is a prestigious position, which only a select group of students have the privilege to fill. As the next Masked Rider, the public will not see me as an individual, but as the Texas Tech Masked Rider, a symbol of everything great about the university."
Ashley Wenzel, the 2012-2013 Masked Rider, traveled more than 10,000 miles making more than 100 appearances at athletic events, rodeos and other functions.
Wenzel has two favorite memories, one being her very first run, which was at the 2012 Transfer of Reins baseball game.
"It was the first time I got to experience Midnight Matador's love for his job," Wenzel said. "Feeling his heart beating through the saddle was very intense! My second favorite memory was running at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Being from the Houston area, I grew up going to the HLSR as a kid and through high school. It was always a dream of mine to ride in the Reliant Stadium arena. Never did I think that I would get that opportunity."