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August 22, 2008

Contact: 
   Alan Shepherd 307-775-6097 (BLM) 
   Julie Bryant 817-443-0686 (MHF)

Wyoming Mustang Challenge a Huge Success

(L-R), Alan Shepherd (BLM WY); Janet Purdue (Competition judge); Randi Blasienz (Event director, MHF); Bryce Reece (WY State Fair Board chairman); Zeph Schulz (Coalville, UT) and Marty; James Goodrich (WY State Fair Director); John Etchepare, (Director WY Dept. of Agriculture); Randy Teeuwen (Encana Oil & Gas, sponsor); Quinn Martin (Competition judge).

(L-R), Alan Shepherd (BLM WY); Janet Purdue (Competition judge); Randi Blasienz (Event director, MHF); Bryce Reece (WY State Fair Board chairman); Zeph Schulz (Coalville, UT) and Marty; James Goodrich (WY State Fair Director); John Etchepare, (Director WY Dept. of Agriculture); Randy Teeuwen (Encana Oil & Gas, sponsor); Quinn Martin (Competition judge).
Twenty-six horse trainers and 26 formerly wild horses strutted their stuff at the first-ever Wyoming Mustang Challenge, August 15-16 at the Wyoming State Fair in Douglas.

The Mustang Challenge proved to be a highly popular attraction at the new Equine Barn, with more than 800 attending the competition and adoption. 

A partnership between the Mustang Heritage Foundation (MHF) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Mustang Challenge paired trainers with wild horses in a head-to-head competition following a three-month training period. After the competition, the trained horses were offered for adoption to the highest qualified bidders, and each trainer received 20% of the winning bid.

Working with “Marty,” a 3-year old bay gelding from the Divide Basin herd management area (HMA) near Wamsutter, Wyo., Zeph Schulz of Coalville, Utah, edged the other competitors to win the $5,000 grand prize.

The skill of the trainers and the quality of the horses during the Challenge resulted in a high level of interest in the adoption. Seventy-six registered adopters vied for the Challenge horses, with all 26 animals being adopted for an average winning bid of $1,800.

“Nigel,” a 3-year old bay gelding from the Little Colorado HMA near Farson, Wyo., was adopted for $5,000, the high bid of the adoption. “Nigel” was trained by Justin Williams of Cheyenne, Wyo.

“Marty,” the Challenge champion, was initially adopted by Encana Oil & Gas (USA), Inc. for $3,300. Encana then donated “Marty” back to the Mustang Heritage Foundation, and he was subsequently adopted again for a bid of $2,200.

Alan Shepherd, BLM Wyoming Wild Horse Specialist, said that the Mustang Challenge was a highly successful event for BLM, MHF and the Wyoming State Fair.

“The Challenge brought together 26 of the best horse trainers in the mountain west and showcased their skills in the new Equine Barn at the State Fairgrounds, MHF ran a great event and generated lots of interest in their efforts to promote mustangs, and BLM successfully adopted all the horses in the competition,” he stated. “Everybody came away a winner.”

For additional information on BLM’s wild horses, please contact BLM Wild Horse Specialist Alan Shepherd at 307-775-6097 or 866-4MUSTANGS.

Note to media: click here for a high resolution, print quality image (300dpi, 1.96mb).

About the Mustang Heritage Foundation
The mission of the Mustang Heritage Foundation and the goal of the Extreme Mustang Makeover are to increase the adoption of mustangs across the country. The Mustang Heritage Foundation created the Extreme Mustang Makeover event to showcase the recognized value of mustangs through a national training competition.

About the Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for managing 258 million acres of public lands, located mostly in the West. Wild horses and burros roaming public rangelands are managed in a manner consistent with BLM's overall multiple-use mission, as set forth in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. For more information, visit wildhorseandburro.blm.gov or call 866-4MUSTANGS.

- BLM -