Edmond Teen Overcomes Heartbreak To Compete In Reining Championship

Thursday, December 3rd 2015, 6:46 pm
By: News 9

The Super Bowl of horse reining competitions is in Oklahoma City this weekend and millions of dollars are at stake.

The event is the 50th running of the National Reining Horse Association Futurity. It is also the first championship an Edmond teenager has ever qualified for, but then tragedy struck.

Allen Copeland's horse died just before this weekend's big competition. Copeland only has two days to learn his routine on a new horse named Bonita.

“I'm not sure, I've only ridden her one time so I don't know what to expect,” said Copeland.

Copeland rode his former horse, "Lil Jerry Longlegs", for two years and they recently qualified for the Futurity. But Lil Jerry died suddenly from colic.

“He died in the trailer, actually on the way to the hospital,” said trainer Jody Brainard.

It was a difficult loss, especially for a 14-year-old boy.

“It was devastating. When I heard the news I was shocked,” said Copeland.

Through a gracious gesture, a fellow reiner let Copeland use her horse, Bonita, and now Copeland is trying to get used to her.

Lil Jerry had a long stride; Bonita's is short and quick. Jerry was lovable, Bonita wants to work and be left alone.

“Timing is something we will not have in a few rides, it's like dancing,” said Brainard. “The longer you dance with someone the better you are, but he can overcome it,” he added.

Copeland will be competing against the whole United States, Canada, Mexico and foreign countries. He said he will focus on winning, just like he did with Jerry.

“When you lose something, you got to keep moving, you can't let it stop you for good and that's what I feel like I'm doing, moving forward every day,” Copeland told News 9.

Copeland competes on Saturday.

The "Futurity" features 1,100 horses and competitors from eight countries. They are competing for nearly $2 million in cash and prizes.