By CLINT FOSTER
One of Mineral Wells’ finest mustang trainers stars in a new show on Nat Geo WILD about five cowboys and cowgirls vying for a $1 million prize in one of the most competitive horse events in the world: the Mustang Million in Fort Worth.
In this part of the country, if you close your eyes, put out your arms and spin around, you’re bound to hit a horse ranch. Ranching is one of many central parts of Texas’ identity and with the Mecca of farm and ranch competition in Fort Worth, it makes sense.
Pair that with the biggest prize in any mustang training competition and five main characters with Texas-sized personalities and you have the makings of Nat Geo WILD’s latest show “Mustang Millionaire.”
In the competition, the five cowboys and cowgirls must acquire wild mustangs from a government roundup at auction and transform them in four short months into fully tamed, trusting stunt horses.
Representing Mineral Wells on the show, Travis Dittmer is a seasoned, well-respected horse trainer who has worked as a true cowboy on ranches throughout the nation. One of three cowboys on the show from Texas, Dittmer was chosen by producers from a list of 40 names from the Mustang Heritage Foundation after a Skype interview.
A veteran of mustang competitions since 2008, 45-year-old Dittmer said he has been riding rough horses since he was 15. Sponsored by Walden Farm and Ranch Supply in Mineral Wells, 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 – and immediately began preparing for the competition at his ranch just west of Mineral Wells on Gene Lee Road with his twin sons, Jayde and Jerrad.