2015 Congress: Freestyle Reining

The torch passes as Pete Kyle wins open freestyle reining and Reed Kyle is second in non-pro.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

A father passed the torch to his son October 10 at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. 

Pete Kyle, a staple of the competition for many years, celebrated his retirement from freestyle by winning the open competition, while Pete’s son Reed was second in the non-pro competition in his first attempt at freestyle.

Dressed in church robes, “the Rev. Pete” rode Gunner Git Ya Dun to Neil Diamond music, getting the sold-out crowd to stand and wave with him as he rode past.

“My wife Tamra and I both love Neil Diamond, and she’s the one who kept saying that I ought to do that song and it would be really good,” Pete said. “I listened to my wife.”

Pete and Gunner Git Ya Dun scored a 232 to take the open title in the National Reining Horse Association-sanctioned freestyle class at Congress.

“This is a mare that we’ve had a long time now,” Pete said. “She’s won over $65,000 in NRHA money. We’ve had a lot of success with her and she’s a joy to be around. She’s very talented. We’re keeping her and she’s going to be our main broodmare.”

Gunner Git Ya Dun is a 2008 palomino mare by Colonels Smoking Gun and out of Gotta Git Ya Dun by Hollywood Dun It. She was bred by Monica Hicks Mathison of Tioga, Texas, and is owned by Pete and Tamra.

Pete, now AQHA executive director of shows, said this year’s competition is likely to be his last.

“I don’t know that I’ll come back next year,” he said. “This might be a pretty good way to go out.”

Drake Johnson of Wray, Colorado, and Heather Johnson of Ringgold, Georgia – no relation – tied for second in open with matching 230s on Happy Trail and Doublenotyourreeboks, respectively.

Drake rode to a medley of “Dude Looks Like a Lady” and “All About the Bass,” calling his ride a tribute to Robin Williams and the character Mrs. Doubtfire.

“I’ve done a lot of freestyles, and when I was younger, I thought I’d dress up as some good-looking hot gal, but as we get older we gain a little,” he said with a laugh. “It’s a great movie and I love Robin Williams. I thought it would be a crowd-pleaser.”

Happy Trail is a 2007 buckskin gelding by Wimpys Little Step and out of Poco Bo Lassie by Mr Sorrel Bo. He was bred by the WT Waggoner Estate Ranch and is owned by Claire Streeter of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Jan Streeter, Claire’s mother, created Drake’s one-of-a-kind costume.

“I kept saying, ‘I’ve got to have a big butt,’” Drake said, so Jan kept stuffing the costume.

Heather, also a familiar face to the Congress crowd, rode her own Doublenotyourreeboks to Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk.”

“My son loves the song,” said Heather, who decked her stallion in a spiffy gold chain to match hers and blew kisses to the judges as she funked her way around the arena.

Doublenotyourreeboks is a 2002 sorrel stallion by Reeboks Kid and out of Double R Odds by Double R Doc. Heather bred the stallion and owns him.

First place in non-pro went to Kathy Burma of Hudson, Wisconsin, on Tejons Shine. Kathy rode to the Miranda Lambert song, “Mama’s Broken Heart.”

Tejons Shine is a 2010 palomino mare by Makin Moonshine and out of Tejons Swan by Just Plain Colonel. She was bred by Donald Scott of Brooklyn, Iowa, and is owned by Kathy.

Second in non-pro went to Reed on Zins Smart Wrangler.

“This is the first freestyle I’ve ever done,” Reed said. “I’ve seen a few freestyles ridden by someone I know that I’m pretty close to. It was really fun to actually do one finally. He’s a really good horse and I had a lot of fun.”

Zins Smart Wrangler is a 2009 bay gelding by Starlights Wrangler and out of Smart Rowdy Lady by Smart Chic Olena. He was bred by Patricia Moore of Sherman, Texas, and Reed owns him.