Becoming Texas Tech’s Masked Rider was more taxing than anything Ashley Hartzog ever could have imagined.
There were written examinations, a riding test, references to be provided and even a test on how to maneuver a pickup truck and trailer in the tight spaces she would face when taking her horse on personal appearances. That’s on top of a 30-minute interview during which her knowledge of horsemanship and Tech’s traditions was picked apart like a presidential candidate’s qualifications for the job.
“It was a pretty involved, drawn-out process,” Hartzog said. “But it was well worth it. I’m really excited about my chance to be the Masked Rider.”
That desire was born in Hartzog when she was 5 years old and saw her first Tech game in person. Her father was a Tech alumnus who always made a point to bring his family back to campus to watch his old school play. But his young daughter enjoyed the pregame pageantry much more than the game itself.
“To a 5-year-old, football is just something to watch, but it wasn’t nearly as exciting as seeing the black horse that runs out in front of the team when it takes the field,” Hartzog said. “I was struck from the first time I saw it.”