His love for horses has led him to a profession as a farrier, but his passion for the animal led Bill Lopez, Jr., 31, of Oklahoma to enter the Mustang Makeover with hopes of proving his abilities as a trainer. The competition was held Sept. 22-23 in Fort Worth and when it was all said and done, Lopez placed sixth in the competition which featured trainers from across the nation. Lopez, the son of Bill and Carolyn Lopez of Doole, graduated from Eden in 1993. He attended Tarleton State University from 1993-97 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Ranger. He served in that capacity from 1997-2001. Upon completion of his active duty, he finished his education at Tarleton and received a degree in accounting and business in 2003. The Mustang Makeover competition was designed to help train wild mustangs to be used as working horses. The contest was set to challenge trainers by giving each a set list of accomplishments. Each trainer was assigned a wild mustang and given 100 days in which to complete the training and tasks to the best of the trainers’ abilities. Only 200 trainers were allowed to compete in the event. The contest in Fort Worth set a course in which each trainer and horse team demonstrated their willingness to work with each other. “They were judged on things such as haltering the horse, backing the horse through an L-shaped marker, picking up the horse’s feet, trailering the horse and a separate event on riding the horse,” said Lopez Sr. The preliminary event narrowed the 200 entrants down to the top 10 who were invited back for an individual performance for the judges. The performance was not limited and gave the horse and handler teams an opportunity to show off their abilities. “Bill was one of the top 10 finishers and when they had their time in the ring, they did an amazing four-minute demonstration which ended up with Bill dropping the bridle from the horse and then proceeding to ride the horse around the ring while carrying an American Flag,” said Lopez. “That brought the audience to their feet for a standing ovation.” When the judging was complete, Lopez finished in sixth place. As part of the program, the horses were then auctioned off to help raise funds for the wild mustang program that is sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management. Lopez’s mustang was auctioned off for $6,000 and was the third highest bid in the auction. When it was all said and done, the auction helped raise $250,000 which will be used to improve the event and raise the prize winnings for next year’s event.