Isidro Sigala came three years ago to the United States on a mission to learn the English language.
“I think it’s coming better,” the Venezuela native said. “Three years ago, I say two or three words. That’s all.”
Sigala showed his improvement in the cutting pen as well Saturday night. Aboard Sigala Rey, he marked 223 to become the first international cowboy to win the Futurity Non-Pro finals at James Brown Arena.
Sigala, who now resides in Weatherford, Texas, notched his first Augusta win and took home a check for $7,315. Sigala and his horse marked the second-highest winning score in the 33-year history of the Futurity Non-Pro finals, falling just short of the record set by Matt Miller and Hokies Cat (225) in 2005.
Christina Cox of Fort Morgan, Colo., and Bouzin Susan placed second at 218 for $6,548. Wade Rust of Gordon, Texas, finished third on Cats Corona at 214.5 for $6,188. Rust also earned the top stallion stakes incentive payout of $9,385.
Mel Blount, the native Georgian and Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame defensive back, came in fourth at 214 atop One Rockin Time. Blount received a check for $3,874 and also collected $5,752 in stallion incentive earnings.
Sigala smoothly assembled his run in the finals in his first show with Sigala Rey, a stallion by Dual Rey out of Uno Tassa Mia that he purchased two years ago. After getting through the go-round, Sigala said he felt better entering the finals.
“I was really comfortable,” he said. “I wasn’t scared because I know that he is a good horse. I don’t want to mess it up.”
The 27-year-old Sigala is currently a student at Weatherford College. He moved to Weatherford in 2009 after getting his bachelor’s degree in his agriculture management in his home country. He moved to Texas – his brother, Francisco, was working with trainer Paul Hansma at the time – to learn English and eventually get his master’s degree in business administration. He hasn’t figured out what he wants to do yet in the future, but he knows the tools he will need.
“English is so important everywhere in the world,” he said. “So I come here to learn it.”