The Wild West lives
Western mustang trainers compete in the Annual Meeker Mustang Makeover, Aug. 28
MEEKER, Colo. — Looking for a weekend destination with a taste of the Wild West this summer? From wild horses, to cowboys and cowgals, to uncrowded mountains, crystal clear trout streams and open range, beautiful wide open Rio Blanco County is hosting the third Annual Meeker Mustang Makeover on Saturday, Aug. 28.
The makeover matches wild horse, both yearlings and 3 year olds, with amateur and professional trainers from all over the West. Competing for over $12,000 in prize money and scholarships to show what they’ve done in 120 days, these brave trainers from ages 12 to 83 take their wild horses to rideable steeds ready to be auctioned that night and off to a new start.
Sixteen-year-old Rylee Allred, came back this year to train a 3-year-old as a saddle horse after training her yearling last year. Joining three other members of the Rangely, Colo.-based Allred Family, who have participated for the last three years in the Meeker Mustang Makeover, she’ll compete against other trainers who must prepare their wild horses for obstacle courses, cow work and a creative free-style performance where anything can happen.
This year the pot is $12,000 divided among the winners, and trainers get half the proceeds of the sale of their horse, making them highly invested in their horses’ success. Other family members include her dad, Wade Allred who has a full-time horse training business called Allred Horse Training and has a 3-year-old gelding he has called “Windy Bob.” Her two cousins, Chance, 11, and Clay, 14, have also signed up to train horses this year, each with a yearling. Chance’s horse is called “Remington,” an eye-catching tri-color paint. Chance says he’s a courageous young horse and very smart. Clay’s horse is called “Blaze” and is a pretty bay with a white blaze. “He is a fast learner,” Clay said.
Meanwhile in Meeker, 83-year-old Gayle Rogers who has been a Meeker rancher/outfitter for 40-plus years has entered the competition to train her yearling mustang “Sparky.” A gentle giant of a baby, Sparky is gaining a foundation to find his lifetime home. Gayle who grew up on the East Coast working with Belgians says her “little big horse” shows a gentle willing attitude.
A UNIQUE EVENT
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. A de-sensitized horse is more likely to have an easier time transitioning to their new home. Buyers need to remember these are green-broke horses with only 120 days on them.
This year the Meeker Mustang Makeover is hosting its event all day on Saturday, Aug. 28, starting with the obstacle courses at 9 a.m. and ending with the live and virtual auction which starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the gate, kids 12 and under are free. Celebrity announcer Branden Edwards is the announcer this year, with experience announcing at rodeos from California to Florida.
Judges are the well-known wild horse professional Steve Mantle of Mantle Ranches, Bridget Strang from The Strang Ranch, and newcomer this year Wayne Tachera who is head wrangler for the BLM Canon City Mustang Facility.
And the fun begins the night before with a Western-themed party to meet the trainers and their horses, on Friday, Aug. 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. Wear your cowboy hat and boots, and join us for dinner and a drink served up by the local Lions Club at the Rio Blanco Fairgrounds. Dinner and a soft drink is $10, alcoholic drinks are extra, including the one and only Meeker Mustang Margarita.
After you spend Saturday watching the wild horses and trainers compete, on Sunday take a trip up to the beautiful Flat Tops Wilderness via Scenic Road 8 and see stunning Trappers Lake, where you can hike and fish away from the crowds. Visit the White River Museum in Meeker, and learn all about the Ute Indians and early settlers. Have lunch at the Meeker Café and explore the lobby of the historic Meeker Hotel where some say ghosts still lurk and President Teddy Roosevelt once stayed.
Want to watch from home? You can watch the livestream action online starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday Aug. 28, 2021, when contestants try to maneuver through an obstacle course and move a cow. The opening ceremony and freestyles start at 3 p.m., with awards followed by the 7 p.m. live and online auction for the horses. Interested buyers need to sign up in advance at LongHornVideoAuctions.com. (Bureau of Land Management approval required.)
Come bring your friends and family and be a part of the action of the wild and unpredictable West and its remarkable iconic mustang. Find more information at http://www.Meekermustangmakeover.org or on Facebook at facebook.com/meeker-mustang-makeover-375536216381937.
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