Life of horsemanship lands Dallas native role as 61st Masked Rider

Published: Apr. 30, 2022 at 12:33 PM CDT|Updated: May. 1, 2022 at 9:52 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Caroline Hobbs has been around horses pretty much for all her life. In the next 12 months, she will be around two more as she becomes the program’s 61st Masked Rider. For her, it’s a dream two decades in the making.

“I was riding since I was three years old!,” Hobbs said. “I grew up doing eventing, which is comprised of dressage, show jumping and cross country. I’ve done a little bit of Western here and there.”

Not only is Hobbs well-familiar with horses, she also knows the school’s landmark program. Two years ago, she was an assistant to then-Rider Cameron Hekkert.

Last year, she learned from Lubbock-native Ashley Adams, who handed over the reins Friday after a momentus year serving as the University’s mascot.

Now, as she wears the mask, hat, and cape, Hobbs is ready add her own legacy.

“I’m excited to do some new things, have a new horse. I’m excited to grow that relationship with the horse, and with the Lubbock community and with the public,” she said.

Replacing Ashley is no easy feat. While being Fearless Champion’s final full-time Rider, Adams also set a record for most appearances.

“(Replacing Ashley will) definitely be hard,” Hobbs says. “Ashley has done 460 appearances, but being able to go to appearances with her throughout the year has been an amazing experience.”

Ashley is one of ten former Masked Riders who could possibly be Fearless Champion’s full-time handler. Stephanie Rhode, Texas Tech Spirit Program Director, says that annoucement will be made at a later date, along with the introduction of the new horse, and the reveal of its name.

Caroline says she can’t wait for this upcoming year, which is already expected to be a historic one.

“To have the opportunity to go to appearances is just amazing in itself, but also being able to welcome in a new horse into the program - I’m happy to say that I will be the first one to be able to run that horse on the field.”

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