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Local trainer does well in Extreme Mustang Makeover competition

Kirk Christiansen and his family including his wife Mistie and children pose for a photo with the prize money he won in the competition.

The journey began for Kirk Christiansen on April 16 when he paid $200 on an online auction for "Slim" a mustang from the Nevada Wild Horse Range, and $500 for "Half-Pint" from the Callaghan, Nev. herd. Two hundred head of mustangs were offered for adoption that day and trainers from all over the country watched 15 second video clips of horses. Fifteen seconds to decide which mustangs they would potentially use for to compete for $200,000 in prize money at the Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover in Fort Worth, Texas in September. On May 13, Kirk traveled with other local trainers to pick up their mustangs from Nevada. Once home, the trainers had approximately 120 days to take these mustangs from wild and untouched to show ready.

The Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover, billed as the richest wild horse competition in history, did not disappoint as trainers traveled from across the United States to show what they had accomplished with their Mustangs in just four months. The competition was divided into three categories -- the Legends division; the Idols division; and the Stars division, for mustangs to be shown in-hand only. Because this was Kirk's first Extreme Mustang Makeover he was eligible to compete in the Idols division and the Legends.

All of the divisions completed three preliminary classes to decide who would return for the final competitions -- a trail class, a pattern class and a working cow horse class. Kirk's goal was to make it to the finals in both divisions and he was able to meet and exceed that goal. Once qualifying for the finals, contestants had to perform in compulsory maneuvers and a freestyle competition.

In the Idols division, Kirk and Slim took home the champion's check worth $20,000. Christiansen and Slim displayed great skill with flying lead changes and a mounted shooting display as he performed as "Billy the Kid". The crowd was on their feet when Kirk finished his freestyle performance in the finals competition.

In the Legends division, Kirk and Half-Pint received 11th place and received a $1,000 prize.

Kirk trains horses for a living from his facility in Emery. He has been training horses for others for more than 16 years now. Kirk typically has five or six horses from clients throughout Utah under his program at any time. Other local trainers to compete included Tate Weber of Clawson, a past Extreme Mustang Makeover winner, Seth Weber of Ferron, who finished 10th in the Idols division and Heath Weber from Gunnison, Utah. All trainers plan to compete again next year. Tate will be traveling back to Fort Worth in January for another Extreme Mustang Makeover called the Mustang Magic.

The Extreme Mustang Makeovers are sponsored and funded by a private organization called the Mustang Heritage Foundation of Georgetown, Texas. They have facilitated the adoption of over 3,000 gentled mustangs across the country.

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