Masked Rider Ashley Adams enjoys final Carol of Lights with Fearless Champion

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 3:19 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Against the backdrop of unusually warm fall weather, Texas Tech students, fans and alumni enjoyed the school’s first in-person Carol of Lights since 2019.

For Lubbock-native Ashley Adams, who also serves as Texas Tech’s 60th Masked Rider, it was an event she had been waiting for through most of her life. This was also the final “Carol” for the mascot horse Fearless Champion, who’s retirement was announced earlier this month.

“Everybody has always loved Fearless. I’ve said from Day One he’s the best part of Tech, and so once we’ve announced his retirement and that we’re looking for the next horse, it’s amazing how many people have sought us out even more.”

Fearless has represented the school for 10 years and will be under the care of one of his 10 Riders, to be determined at a later date.

While the day involved exercise riding, a full bath, and touch-ups of the program’s official truck and trailer, Adams made a quick stop at the Frazier Alumni Center to meet kids, who were also excited to meet Santa Claus. Kids were anxious to meet Ashley, along with Mr. Cringle himself.

“It’s always great being able to come in and kids are excited to see you,” she said. “It’s a lot of prep work behind the scenes, and then once we get here, it’s a lot of work getting him ready to go through Carol of Lights, but it’s a lot of fun.”

The Masked Rider gets to wear an illuminated cape and hat, which are rarely used at other points throughout the year.

“We have a light-up cape and hat that we get to wear for Carol of Lights and during night appearances and night parades, so it’s always fun getting to turn that on and hearing everybody ooh and ahh over it. It’s just really pretty,” Adams said.

Along with the usual Christmas tunes, “‘O Holy Night,” “Silent Night,” and “Joy to the World,” the crowd closed out the event with the singing of the Matador Song.

“Carol of Lights is always fun. It’s just amazing to be able to walk Memorial Circle and all the way up to the front of Carol of Lights and get a front-row seat.”

“It’s one of the top appearances. It’s something so unusual to be able to be a part of, just like running at football or the grand entries to a rodeo, or even baseball season,” Adams said. “It’s just something that very few people get the opportunity to be a part. To be able to go through the Carol of Lights with Fearless Champion is pretty great.”

Fans still have a chance to see Fearless Champion. He will continue to make appearances until a new horse is appointed.

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