By Hope Sickler
Pete Oen is one of the best competitors in the barrel racing world but winning a futurity average championship has remained elusive -- until now.
Oen and Guys Dashing Jet topped the incredibly tough field of futurity horses and trainers to win the title at the inaugural Diamonds and Dirt held in Waco, Texas, on March 11.
Five-year-old Guys Dashing Jet is owned by Cathy Geary and is by Frenchmans Guy. The mare is out of Perks Dashing Jet, who is by Dash For Perks, and was jockeyed by Troy Crumrine as a futurity horse, winning over $30,000. With a stacked pedigree, it is no surprise that Guys Dashing Jet is blossoming into a winner.
Geary, from Ohio, contacted Oen -- a AQHA junior world, Fort Smith reserve, and Josey Reunion champion -- this past summer hoping that he would jockey her buckskin mare.
"I have known Cathy for a long time, being from Ohio myself, and when she called me I was thrilled and excited to ride a horse that she had started," Oen said. "When I got her, she was ready to start hauling and adding speed to the pattern."
Oen was immediately impressed with the mare's talent.
"I tweaked a few things on her and went to hauling and adding speed," he said. "I hauled her to the Fizz Bomb in Gillette, Wyoming, in April, and she clocked a bottom of the 1D time in her exhibition. I personally don't worry much about where my colts are clocking, but when she clocked what she did up there against some tough horses I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited for her futurity year."
In the first round of the Diamonds and Dirt Futurity, Oen and Guys Dashing Jet had a bit of bad luck after knocking down the second barrel.
"We got a full stride by the first so we were a little off-kilter, but she recovered and smoked the second," Oen said. "She worked her second barrel, so good we knocked it coming around it."
With a down barrel in the first round, Oen had one more shot at making the finals. To do that, he needed to make a smooth and clean run in the second go and hope that it was good enough to get them into the finals.
"Going into the second go, I told myself that I had better not screw it up, because she was dang sure talented enough to make the finals," Oen said.
Oen took his own advice and clocked a 15.521, the second-fastest run of the futurity at that point.
"She worked outstanding and I was tickled that we were going to the finals, and in a good position!" he said.
Sitting second going into the finals, Oen wanted to focus on letting the mare work and staying out of her way. Clocking a 15.784, Oen did what he had to do to secure the championship.
"Kassie (Mowry) was first going into the finals, and she went before me and knocked a barrel causing her to go out of the average," Oen said. "After my run, I was first in the average, but there were still 10 to go and three of those could bump me out of the average if they smoked a run."
Trying to not let his nerves and anticipation get the best of him, Oen went on with his business and cooled the mare down. Hanging out by his stall until the final horse ran, Oen stood next to Guys Dashing Jet and counted down the horses before they were delivered the good news.
"Winning my first futurity average was definitely on my bucket list," Oen said. "I have had a successful career, but I had never won a futurity average. I am very grateful for this mare and her owner for allowing me to jockey her. I am also very grateful for my sponsors and my team who stands behind me and attributes to my success. The producers of Diamonds and Dirt were outstanding, and I am grateful for their hard work and effort put into this event. This will definitely be a win that I will never forget!"
Pete Oen Wins First-Ever Futurity Championship At Diamonds And Dirt
By Hope Sickler