angle-left 'Cody' Rides Again as Texas Tech's Mascot Horse

'Cody' Rides Again as Texas Tech's Mascot Horse

The American Quarter Horse gelding from Archer City, Texas, is teaming up once again with the Texas Tech University Masked Rider.

text size

By Amanda Castro-Crist

In early October, a familiar face charged out of the tunnel at Jones AT&T Stadium as the Red Raider Football Team took on Oklahoma State University. “Cody,” the black Quarter Horse gelding from Archer City, Texas, came out of retirement to once again lend a leg (or four) to the Spirit Program, as “Fearless Champion” gets some well-deserved rest on the sidelines. 

Last year, Cody (the 22-year-old Skip Cody Jay), completed the majority of the game-day runs after Fearless, the iconic black steed ridden by the Masked Rider, was injured. This year, Cody is back to make sure Fearless (registered as BQH Hollywoodatdusk) stays as healthy as possible while still interacting with the Red Raider community.

“It’s important to note that Cody’s return is not because of an injury,” says Sam Jackson, a professor in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, who tends to the horse’s care on campus. “Fearless Champion has served Texas Tech since the Meineke Car Care Bowl in December 2012. He has worked hard throughout the years. At a recent routine checkup, the veterinarian saw some inflammation in his front legs and suggested he take it easy for a few weeks to avoid another possible injury. So Cody is stepping in to help.”

Cody started training with CASNR graduate student Emily Brodbeck, who serves as the 58th Masked Rider. 

“Emily’s getting him ready, riding him and getting him used to the stadium again,” Sam says. “Fearless isn’t in any pain or discomfort – he’s up and walking around, but he won’t be doing any running for a while.”

For now, the plan is similar to last year: Cody will complete the game-day runs and some of the other duties, while Fearless helps out with the less-strenuous appearances, like school visits and meeting with fans.

Cody was first introduced to Raiderland during the 2018 season after the unthinkable happened: Less than two weeks before the first home game, Fearless Champion was sidelined indefinitely with a leg injury. For a moment, it looked like the first two home games of the season would happen without the traditional pre-game entrance run. The chance of finding a suitable replacement by the first home game was slim, Sam says.

Cody and 2018 Masked Rider Lyndi Starr on the cover of the November 2018 America's Horse

Just a few days later, the Spirit Program received another surprise, but this time, it was good news: A replacement horse had been found. Cody – owned by Jim and Mavis Jennings of Amarillo – joined the Masked Rider program for the rest of the season, taking over the majority of the horse duties, including the game-day runs, while Fearless healed and helped with other appearances. 

After the last game in November, Cody retired the reins and returned to Archer City. Fearless was declared healthy and able to return to full duty in February and ended the 2018-19 year in April with 300 appearances under his saddle. 

“Fearless Champion loves meeting people and people love meeting him,” says Stephanie Rhode, director of the Spirit Program. “For more than six years, he has served as an incredible ambassador not just for the Masked Rider program, but also for the entire Spirit Program and the university. We are excited to see how he and Cody work together again to help Emily fulfill her duties as the Masked Rider and represent Texas Tech University.”   

Amanda Castro-Crist is a media relations specialist at Texas Tech University. See our November 2018 America's Horse story on Cody’s initial foray into the Texas Tech stadium. The gelding has an interesting background, and he even brings a little Texas A&M rivalry into the picture. 

This and other great stories can be found in the November issue of  America's Horse at www.aqha.com/americashorse.