Rick Adkins and Classic Deesire win the 2012 Select world championship in trail. Trail course designer, Tim Kimura, was on hand to congratulate him.
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by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
For years, Rick and Joan Adkins of Laurel, Nebraska, were devoted horse show parents for their youngest daughter, Meghan. They hauled to horse shows and supported her when she became AQHYA president in 1998.
“We traveled across the countryside with her and we liked it,” Rick recalled. “But life changes, and she went to college and I thought, well, I’m not going to give this up. So I didn’t.”
Besides, Rick thought, he’d been with Meghan to enough lessons and watched enough horse shows, he thought he could probably figure out the riding thing pretty quick.
He laughs now: “But when you get on it’s a different story: You’ve have two left legs and two right legs and they don’t all work. It’s been a really fun go.”
Working his riding around a busy work schedule, Rick qualified his then horse, Texana Leaguer, to the 2003 Select World Show in showmanship, and has been coming back ever since, aiming for the finals and a world championship. He showed western pleasure, horsemanship and discovered he really enjoyed trail.
In 2008, his trainer, John Konecne of Greenfield, Iowa, helped him find Classic Deesire, aka “Harley,” and Rick bought him from longtime amateur, Whitney Walquist.
“He’s a great dude, a good partner,” Rick said of the horse. "He’s a 12-year-old gelding and kind of a big horse … but really athletic. Charming disposition, because when you get to be our age, you don’t want them shying at something and then suddenly you’re on the ground. He’s been really good.”
Rick and Harley progressed to the point of making the Select showmanship finals in 2011 and at last to the August 31 trail finals at the 2012 Adequan Select World Championship Show.
The Tim Kimura-designed finals pattern featured a lope-in to a tight back, tight gate with a raised walkover pole and lots of lope transitions.
“When we had to lope in there and back through the 30-inch opening there,” Rick shook his head, “you have to know where your horse’s feet are and you can’t hurry it.
"The biggest thing (were the) transitions … You have 6, 12, maybe 18 feet to make a transition, and you have to keep your wits about you. It doesn’t make any difference if you’re my age or younger. If you can keep your head in the game, it’ll work out. It was a tough pattern, no doubt about it.”
Rick thought he’d done well, but the scores were held. The judges ended up giving him and Harley a 225, just a .5 point over Catherine Keith and Rinskis Old Gold’s 224.5 in reserve. Rick’s years of hard work had paid off.
“One thing has led to the next, and we progressed down the road where I could win today, and it’s a big deal!” Rick said in his Journal Winning Run interview. “It’s been a fun time.”
He added: “I’d like to thank my wife for all her time and effort, and my children.
“And John Konecne … he was a coach and has done a really fine job with the horse. (John) has this uncanny ability to get the production out of his customers and people, and can handle every one of them on an individual basis and kind of get into your head … I owe a lot of (this) to him.”
As far as the Adequan Select World, will he be back?
“You bet,” John said with a smile. “I’ll be back. As long as I’m able, I’ll be back. I have to get on with a stool because I’ve had three rotator cuff (surgeries) and my knees have been worked on … It’s a matter of mind over matter. Some people have a harder time as we mature; it’s harder to do these things. I think (showing horses) is great.”