DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
MARBLE FALLS — Get your “Guns Up” because the Masked Rider is coming to Marble Falls, and the city fathers (and mothers) are turning over the keys of the lakeside burg to her.
Mackenzie White officially became the Masked Rider for Texas Tech University on April 18 when Corey Waggoner, the 2013-2014 Masked Rider, transferred the reins to her. White is a 2012 graduate of Marble Falls High School.
“I’m so excited that we’re going to do this for her,” said local resident Marie Fowler Lechow. “She’s a fantastic young woman, and everywhere she goes, she’ll be representing Marble Falls and Texas Tech.”
The city council and mayor will present the key to the city as well as a proclamation June 3 during a regular council meeting. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Lechow, who has ties to the early days of the Masked Rider program, hopes the council will agree to move the ceremony outside since White will be there with her horse.
White will travel across Texas and other states to promote Texas Tech University as an ambassador for the institute. While most people think of the Masked Rider as the horseman or horsewoman who races down the field during home Red Raiders football games and other sporting events, the role goes much further than that.
During his year as the Masked Rider, Waggoner made 255 appearances and racked up more than 21,000 miles.
White has expressed her goal of keeping up that level of appearances.
“As the Masked Rider, Mackenzie will have such an impact,” Lechow said.
Lechow recalled the early years of the Masked Rider program when she helped groom the horse.
“It was a shoestring budget back then,” she recalled. Her late husband roomed with one of the first Masked Riders, which left a big imprint both on the couple. Over the years, they remained big supporters of the tradition, which started Jan. 1, 1954, when Joe Kirk Fulton raced across the field during the opening of the Gator Bowl on a borrowed horse and a cape the head football coach’s wife had sewn. Auburn entered the game a heavy favorite, but the Red Raiders upended the Tigers, 35-13.
While Fulton as the Masked Rider didn’t score a touchdown, his storming of the field definitely left an impression in all fans’ minds.
White carries on that tradition every time she dons the red and black Masked Rider gear and saddles up.
“Every time she goes somewhere, they say she’s from Marble Falls,” Lechow said. “She’s just representing the city so well, I think she’s so deserving of this honor. I hope people come out and support her.”