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November 7-22, 2014, Oklahoma City

Junior Pole Bending

Homebred mare scores world championship for Sharon and Lonnie Willen.

Sharon Willen picked the best rider she could for her horse – her husband, Lonnie Willen of Burkesville, Kentucky.

Lonnie has a knack for junior pole bending, and he proved it November 3 by winning the world championship with Dinkys Jazzing, a 2007 chestnut mare.

“She’s easy to ride,” Lonnie said. “She’s kin to Dinkys Honor Bound. That was the best horse I ever owned, will ever own. A kid can ride her. She’ll rate and turn. She’s a good horse.”

Dinkys Jazzing is by Jazzing Ta Fame and out of the Howie Haven mare A Dinky Special. A Dinky Special is out of Ill Be Delightful by Dinky’s Red Man. Dinkys Honor Bound, a 1999 chestnut gelding that Lonnie had a lot of success with, is by Mr Honor Bound and out of Ill Be Delightful by Dinky’s Red Man.

“Usually, I call them 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds, and 5-year-olds, but this mare here, I call her Dinky,” Lonnie said. “I don’t usually call them by names. I call them by their age.”

Lonnie has a need for speed. He was world champion in amateur pole bending in 2004 and reserve world champion in amateur barrel racing with Dinkys Honor Bound. He also has multiple year-end top-10 finishes.

At the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show in Oklahoma City, Lonnie and “Dinky” ran the poles course in a combined time of 40.896 in prelims and the finals, just ahead of second-place finisher Trent Tobin, who ran in a combined time of 40.964.

That’s a reverse of the preliminaries, where Trent and TT Redneck Ninja finished first in 20.407 and Lonnie and Dinky finished second in 20.495.

“I’d like to keep (Dinky), but he likes to sell them and make another one,” Sharon said. “That’s his thing. He likes to start them and sell them when they get made.”

The way to make world champions is to ride a lot, Lonnie said.

“I just ride at home a lot. I ride four to five days a week,” he said. “(At the World Show), just ride like you do at home. Don’t let it bother you and don’t get excited.”
Lonnie Willen and Dinkys Jazzing

Lonnie Willen rides the horse his wife, Sharon, bred to a world championship in junior pole bending November 3 at the AQHA World Championship Show. (Journal photo)