11/07/2001 12:00AM



COLLINSVILLE, Ill. - Apprentice Heather Irion, 17, has impressed local trainers with her horsemanship and poised form in the saddle. Heather comes by these qualities naturally as both her parents, Dale and Sue, are trainers and she has grown up on on horseback.

A senior at Alton High School, Heather is also a good student - she's a member of the National Honor Society - who will graduate ahead of her class in January. After graduation she plans to embark on her career as a jockey full time.

* Nicholas Mamino Sr., for many years a well liked and respected horseman in Southern Illinois, died suddenly from a massive stroke on Nov. 2 at age 59. Mr. Mamino also served for many years as chief of police in Collinsville. Mr. Mamino's best known horse was multiple stakes winner and 1993 reserve champion Illinois-bred 2-year-old Shalimar's Book, whom he bred, owned, and trained.