HURRICANE — The Bureau of Land Management’s fourth annual Southern Utah Wild Horse and Burro Program got a little wild showcasing the skills of such animals last weekend.
From kids to adults, the trainers and their families competed and brandished the capabilities of former feral horses adopted at the Legacy Park on the Washington County Fairgrounds in Hurricane.
The contest, often called a “Mustang Makeover,’ includes an extreme trail contest, an in-hand contest, a walk and trot event, a “witchy” horse course, a turn-around contest and a barrel race and a panty race, amongst others.
All the animal competitors were at one time wandering wild amongst the great outdoors of Utah and Nevada.
The festival also included an auction in which such horses and burros were able to be adopted.
During the process of the event, attendees and those interested in the adoption of the animals were able to ask questions from the trainers and learn more about the personalities of each.
By far the most entertaining event was the panty race, where cowboys and cowgirls had the opportunity to race their horse down to a barrel at the far end of the arena, unmount, grab a pair of panties, put them on, remount and then race back.
The whole idea is to get the fastest time. The panties included a variety, from a sparkly thong to a ballooned rubber ducky granny panties. One horse left its rider in the action of putting panties on and raced back riderless as the crowd roared in laughter.
On a day of inspiration and hope for the animals adopted, it was an equivalent day for one trainer and rider.
Roger Burnhope said came to show his support, as he had done over many years. He was not sure if he would compete as he was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“This show for these mustangs is excellent,” he said. “I love doing it. I love the people here. We are all a big family.”
Burnhope said everyone supports everyone with all focused on doing the best thing possible for the animals.
He was named the festival grand champion with the horse he trained, Tassel, being named the Festival Super Horse.
As reported by St. George News previously, the festival has been held every year in Southern Utah since 2020, but over 25 years in the northern part of the state. The next show of the program will be up in Tooele County in June.
Winners are listed below:
Festival Grand Champion: Roger Burnhope
Festival Super Horse: Tassel
Junior Youth Champion: Taggart McKnight
Junior Youth Reserve Champion: Waddie McKnight
Senior Youth Champion: Taylor Harris
Senior Youth Reserve Champion: Vivian Messano
Amateur Champion: Emma Ellis
Amateur Reserve Champion: Shyanne Burnhope
Open Champion: Roger Burnhope with Tassel
Reserve Open Champion: Kayla Christensen with Annie
Junior Youth Reserve Champion Waddie McKnight is focused while competing during the 4th Annual Southern Utah Wild Horse and Burro Festival at Legacy Park, Hurricane, Utah | Photo by Nick Yamashita, St. George News
Walk & Trot Champion: Emma Ellis with Zeus
Walk & Trot Reserve Champion: Nate Ellis with Zeus
In-Hand Champion: Bayli Barber with Moonshine
In-Hand Reserve Champion: Vivian Messano with Oliver
Mounted Extreme Trail, 1st Place: David Stewart with Prince
Mounted Extreme Trail, 2nd Place: Roger Burnhope with Tassel
Mounted Extreme Trail 3rd Place: Nate Ellis with Zorro
In-Hand Extreme Trail, 1st Place: Bayli Barber with Moonshine
In-Hand Extreme Trail, 2nd Place: Liam Flake with Fly
In-Hand Extreme Trail, 3rd Place: Charlotte Nava with Atlas
Sportsmanship Award: Rachel Sipos
Spirit of the Mustang Award: Josh Barber
Middle of the Pack Award: Shyann Burnhope
Best Stall Award: McKardee McKnight
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