Breeders Ronnie and Vickie Kent get vindication for their program at the 2011 Reichert Celebration.
By Larri Jo Starkey
From the minute Won Loping RV Machine hit the ground, breeders Ronnie and Vickie Kent of Graceville, Florida, knew he was a keeper.
“He started loping right away and that’s why he’s called Won Lopin RV Machine,” Ronnie said. “He loped everywhere he went. He loved to lope. He’s our favorite from Day One, basically.”
When the horse turned 2, western pleasure trainer Jay Starnes of Summerton, South Carolina, knew he was something special.
“He was big and stout to start with, so I wanted to put him in this class, because I knew he’d be strong to take the prep,” Jay said.
On September 10, an excited crowd in the Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas, learned that the gelding is pretty special as he won the Reichert Celebration Equine Sports Medicine 2-year-old maiden western pleasure slot class. The class has a prize package of $250,000, and the Kents took home $100,000for their win.
“Jay had the horse as ready as he could be,” Vickie said. “He was as broke as he could be, he was ready as (Jay) could get him, because he’s a perfectionist and he gets them as perfect as he can possibly get them to this point. And Jay is a wonderful showman. He’s going to show him to perfection. So this part, you can’t do anything else except that. All you can do is get the horse ready and all you can do is show him as best as you can. You can’t control what the judges do. That part’s out of your hands.”
That philosophy works fine in theory, but in reality, nerves were hitting the Kents as they watched their baby go around.
“There were a lot of great horses in there,” Ronnie said.
“The pen was full of just fabulous horses,” Vickie added. “Every year, it seems like they get better and better.”
As they watched the previously unshown 2-year-olds go both directions in the pen, they compared their horse to the others at all three gaits. The slot class showed in two splits before a finals go, with plenty of fireworks, auctions and the kind of entertainment the Reichert Celebration is known for.
“I had him in (the coliseum) every time it was open,” Jay said of his preparation. “I was worried about him a little bit. You can’t forget the crowd. We come in here and ride in the middle of the night at 3 o’clock in the morning. You don’t know how it’s going to be when stands are packed and you come around the corner and they see all the people sitting there. That’s something I always worry about with any of them. He handled it great.”
More than that, “Spider-Man” allowed himself to be shown, Jay said.
“He’s a really good jogger, and he’s a really good loper,” Jay said. “Tonight, he showed great. That was the biggest thing to me.”
The win was Jay’s third in a row at the Reichert Celebration. Spider-Man was his second horse for the Kents.
In 2010, Won Good RV Machine was third at the AQHA World Championship Show in 2-year-old western pleasure and placed second in the All American Quarter Horse Congress Masters 2-year-old western pleasure class with Jay aboard.
“I was reserve in the Masters on his full brother last year, so that was my first one for them,” he said. “They’re great to work for. They trusted me and let me do what I thought was best for the horse.”
Won Lopin RV Machine is by A Good Machine and out of Ill Be Dun Won It by Zips Poco Pine.
Ill Be Dun Won It has produced two world champions and two reserve world champions for Ronnie and Vickie. The 1995 bay mare was bred by George Countryman Jr. of Prattville, Alabama, and is out of Dun Won It by Win Or Lose.
Ill Be Dun Won It has gone to A Good Machine’s court five times, producing Won Good RV Machine, Wonit Ona RV Machine, Ill Be A RV Machine, Won Lopin RV Machine and Won RV Ridin Machine.
“It’s wonderful to get to raise your horses,” Vickie said. “There’s nothing like it. You’re just so proud of them. They’re like your children, your grandchildren. You’re so proud of them when they do good, and you get too attached to them.”
For more photos from the Reichert Celebration, watch the Journal slide show below. To view the captions, click on the photos.
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