In the show’s first episode, Dittmer bought five mustangs at auction for about $2,200 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth. He focused in on three of them – Iggy, Iron Man and Ivan – thinking that having more horses in the competition would maximize his chances to win. But ultimately, this strategy meant he could not spend as much time with each horse and the plan backfired. He said it turned out to be a wake-up call about his own modesty and a reminder to always know your limitations.
“I really bit off more than I could chew,” Dittmer said. “I usually just show two (horses). You’ve got to give them special attention, it’s not just like you ride them an hour every day.”
Dittmer’s twin sons, Jayde and Jerrad, were also prominently featured on the show as entries in the youth competition and ended up faring much better than their dad. With trained yearling mustangs, Jayde and Jerrad both finished in the top 10 at ninth and sixth, respectively.
Jerrad outranked his brother for the first time with a Duck Dynasty themed routine in which his horse retrieved a duck decoy he pretended to shoot out of the sky. The crowd-pleasing routine earned scores of 28, 30 and 30 (out of 30) from the three judges. Travis said both of his boys’ great performances made him proud and really helped soften the blow of his own loss.
As for the eldest Dittmer, 45-year-old Travis had originally thought that this competition would be his last. After 30 years of “riding rough,” he said he is growing tired from the sheer amount of time and energy necessary to train wild mustangs for these contests. But after falling just shy of the top 20 this year and coming as close 3.5 points away from first place in the past, the “challenge-driven” Dittmer told the Index he may return to the competition again to end on a better note.