First person: No masking her excitement

Courtesy photo Farwell’s Ashley Hartzog fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming Texas Tech’s mascot, the Masked Rider.

Farwell’s Ashley Hartzog has fulfilled a childhood dream of becoming the Masked Rider, the Texas Tech University mascot. She said it’s the biggest thing that has ever happened to her.

The Masked Rider rides a horse called Midnight Matador at events all over the Southwest, including Texas Tech football games.

Farwell grown: I was born in Hereford, raised in Farwell. I went to school there and everything. It’s where I call home. I come home every chance I get.

Unmasked ambition: When I was 5 years old, my dad took me to a home game at Texas Tech. I was sitting there and suddenly the Masked Rider walks by down on the field. I was interested in horses at that point in time and it’s so neat to get to see it. My friends and family encouraged me, saying you could do it, and I made it an ambition.

Horse sense: Horses are my favorite past time. Every day I’m (on) horseback or working with horses in some manner. I’ve been involved with horses for 16 years. My family raised horses and I’ve shown horses.

Dual majors: I’m majoring in animal science and Spanish. I wanted to continue taking Spanish classes because I didn’t want to forget it, but I’d already fulfilled my minor requirements. So I just decided to add it on as a major.

After college: I hope to go back to the family business of raising registered angus cattle. And I would like to use my Spanish in international relations with Mexico. Our family has marketed cattle to Mexico for the past 25 years and I want to continue selling down there.

In the saddle: My favorite part about getting to be the Masked Rider is getting to be on horseback at multitudes of different events where normally a horse would not be present. I like to be an icon, something people see.

Lengthy process: There are six steps when applying to be the Masked Rider. It was definitely an intense time. I didn’t think about anything else for the whole month of tryouts and the interview is tough. It meant so much to me that I put my nerves aside and worked on being mature and professional and it paid off.

So long, neighbor: Hartzog will be replacing Texico High graduate Kevin Burns as the mask and cape-clad mascot.

— Compiled by Liliana Castillo