Third Meeker Mustang Makeover event nets $37K

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RBC I Sporting a wide grin, Rangely horse trainer Wade Allred received a $3,000 check, along with a red, white and blue ribbon to put around mustang Windy Bob’s neck, a bridle made by saddlemaker Mike Brennan and a basket brimming with Curicyn horse care products as he accepted the champion award at this year’s Meeker Mustang Makeover.

The event offered a full day of competition as horses and trainers navigated obstacle courses, performed cow work and kept the audience on the edge of their seat with creative freestyles.

“I knew I had a good chance to win this year because I drew a good horse,” champion Wade Allred said. He enjoyed the well-organized community event and said he and the rest of the extended Allred clan had a great time working on a family project as four Allreds competed with their own horses–Wade, his 17 year old daughter Rylee and two nephews, Chance (11) and Clay (14).

Wade named his horse Windy Bill for all the snorting in the early days of training, saying he started with a belligerent attitude. Wade noted the horse quickly “decided to be my buddy and then we could do anything with him from there, including fly fishing on horseback up in the Flat Tops.” Wade noted mustangs make great trail riding horses. Bruce and Kate Logan of Oak Creek purchased Windy Bill for $6,000. 

The bidding was fierce for the top-selling horse, Peach, who also found a home with the Logans for $8,500. Peach was trained by Cosette McLaughlin of Steamboat Springs. Cosette also trained last year’s top selling horse, Finnegan.

Auction proceeds totaled $37,250 with event auctioneer Kail Mantle of Longhorn Video Auctions. The average sale price for the 3-year-old’s with 120 days of training was $5,100, and the average for the junior yearling division (trained by kids under 18) was $980. The two yearlings in the senior division sold for a combined amount of $3,275. 

Half of the proceeds from the sale of each horse go back to their trainers. Trainers also received a total of $12,000 in prize money and each junior trainer in the yearling contest received a $500 scholarship from sponsors.

This year’s winning junior trainer was 15-year-old Vivian Jade Messano from Montrose with her yearling Jake. He sold for $1,925 and showed a firm foundation.  Second in the juniors was Brynn Emlyn, age 12, from Snowmass with her horse Hawk. Her freestyle was a family affair with three kids in troll costumes running noisy leaf blowers and other equipment to show the calmness of the horse. 

Brynn found out about the Makeover from a friend at her ranch in Snowmass. She’s always loved mustangs and started riding one when she was two. When she picked up Hawk, she said, “the journey began.” There are a lot of hawks flying in the valley where she lives. Brynn said her dad, Ricky, is her inspiration. 

Ricky said Brynn grew up on a Crow Indian reservation in Wyola, Montana, where she started riding mustangs. They have always used mustangs. “Once you get a mustang to trust, respect and latch on, it’s an intimate deal, those mustangs look after your kids. They are affordable, have great health and are careful with their feet, have great endurance, they are bred to survive.” He added, “Our mustangs have always looked after our kids, and my kids are still riding high from the event.”

 The town saw increased business at area hotels and campgrounds with the Blue Spruce reporting a sold-out number of rooms and sponsor White River Inn reporting significant increased business. The stands stayed full throughout event day, with the Lions Club selling out of their inaugural Meeker Mustang Margarita.

Judges for the event were Meeker native and professional mustang trainer Steve Mantle of Mantle Ranch, Wheatland Wyoming; Bridget Strang of Strang Ranch, Carbondale, and Wayne Tachera, Assistant Facility Manager of the BLM Wild Horses at Canon City. 

The increasingly dry and fragile range in the West has seen a rapid overpopulation as wild horse herds typically double in size every four to five years. With more than 50,000 horses waiting in holding pens, events like these are critical to provide a useful and healthy life for these animals.

The Meeker Mustang Makeover is unique in that the event encourages trainers to expose their horse to as many people, animals and stimuli as possible to help the horse adapt successfully to their new homes and future lives. The Meeker Mustang Makeover is an all volunteer local community based event, with its success hinging on our many community sponsors and the partnership with the local White River Bureau of Land Management office and under the umbrella of the Rio Blanco Historical Society. The event was live streamed by the Herald Times

PRESS RELEASE | Special to the Herald Times

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