Texas Tech University

Into the Fold: Texas Tech Welcomes Masked Rider's New Horse

Elyssa Sanders

June 15, 2022

(VIDEO) United Supermarkets will host a naming contest for Fearless Champion’s successor.

Texas Tech University's exhaustive nationwide search for the Masked Rider's new horse has finally concluded. Buzz, a 9-year-old quarter horse gelding from Lubbock, will replace Fearless Champion (also known as Woody), the beloved black steed who recently retired after ten years of service. Fearless Champion made his final run during the Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State University football game last November, and will soon retire to a permanent home with one of his ten Masked Riders. 

New Horse
Buzz will receive a stage name in the tradition of his predecessors.

“Buzz is very similar in disposition to the past two mascots, Midnight Matador and Fearless Champion,” said Sam Jackson, equine director for the Masked Rider Program and a professor of Animal and Food Sciences in the Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources. “He has a willing, calm demeanor and is a trusting horse by nature.”

Buzz – who will receive a stage name in the tradition of his predecessors – made his Texas Tech debut in April during the Red Raiders' annual Spring Game scrimmage at Jones AT&T Stadium

“He is comfortable around people and noise and appears to be a quick learner,” Jackson explained. “He was utilized in a variety of ways by his previous owners. His past jobs included working cattle, roping events and general recreational riding. The new Masked Rider, Caroline Hobbs, has begun to acclimate him to his new home and will begin to make appearances this month.”

But the search for such an even-tempered horse was not easy. 

Dr. Jackson with Buzz
Jackson and Buzz during the Red Raiders' annual Spring Game scrimmage at Jones AT&T Stadium.

“Finding a new horse who is perfect for this job falls totally on Dr. Jackson's shoulders,” said Stephanie Rhode, director of the Spirit Program and the Masked Rider Program. “It is an arduous process and he takes it seriously. He looks at a lot of horses and rides and examines them all. And most of them are not local. He's been going through this process since last fall. We are all lucky to have him in this role.”

United Supermarkets, a long-time corporate sponsor of the Masked Rider Program, will lead a naming contest for Buzz beginning today (June 15) and closing on July 15. The contestant who submits the winning name will receive a $500 gift card to United Supermarkets.

Click here to submit your naming suggestions.