Oct. 20, 2006
WACO, Texas -
Baylor officially opened its newest athletic facility Friday afternoon, the Willis Family Equestrian Center. The program included remarks from President John M. Lilley and equestrian head coach Ellen White who both thanked the community's donors for their gracious contributions to the equestrian program.
Director of Athletics Ian McCaw began the ceremony acknowledging the Board of Regents as well as other Baylor personnel which was followed by sophomore English rider Susie Foster's prayer.
After President Lilley and Coach White spoke, junior co-captain Ashleigh Brown shared a student perspective about being involved with Baylor's equestrian program and also the benefits of having the new facility.
Once the team members introduced themselves, sophomore co-captain English rider Nicole Brown and freshman Western rider Madelyn Mooney demonstrated several skills for both disciplines.
The Willis family was thanked for providing the lead gift for the new facilities. F.M. Young, who donated the land, and the Gettermans, who donated a truck and trailer, were also in attendance.
Phase I of the new facility includes a covered arena which features stalls, tack rooms, a meeting room, and spectator seating. The facility also includes an outdoor Reining arena with spectator seating as well as several other paddocks. Construction on the center was approved by Baylor's Board of Regents in April.
The Willis Family Equestrian Center hosted its first official show Oct. 7, against New Mexico State. Baylor defeated the Aggies 8-7 and earned the English Equitation over Fences MVP award. After picking up a win at Kansas State but also tallying a loss at Oklahoma State, the Bears are 2-1 overall and 1-1 in conference head-to-head shows. Baylor's final show of the semester brings Oklahoma State to town for a rematch on Nov. 4.