Archive for November, 2010

postheadericon Carr Pro Rodeo, MGM Grand share special partnership

LAS VEGAS – The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas has built a reputation as the place to be for top flight attractions and entertainment.

The crew at Carr Pro Rodeo is developing the same distinction, from its elite animal athletes to brilliant showmanship.

Together the two entities make a pretty solid team. So at rodeos all across this land, Carr Pro Rodeo and MGM Grand have put their partnership on display. Whether it’s in Texas locales like Stephenville, Big Spring and Pecos or in the Oklahoma Panhandle or the Colorado Rockies or in New Mexico, the MGM Grand’s brand is exposed to a diverse group of people, including rodeo fans young and old.

“It’s a privilege and an honor to be associated with such a landmark establishment like the MGM Grand Hotel,” said Pete Carr, owner of Carr Pro Rodeo. “Tim Kelly, the vice president of hotel operations, has been a champion this year to our company and many other cowboys and cowgirls. He brings an incredibly high level of excitement and passion to the sport of rodeo. What sets them apart is the fact that the MGM Grand makes everyone who stays with them and anyone who visits feel like a champion.” 

“Our rodeos are a great way for MGM Grand to get its information out to the people who are always looking for some great entertainment. Personally I think it’s a nice fit for us, because when you think of Las Vegas entertainment, you think of MGM Grand. We want Carr Pro Rodeo to be what people think about when they think of rodeo.”

Pete Carr and his crew will be part of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo when it takes place Dec. 2-11 at the Thomas & Mack Center. It’s the season-ending championship in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, featuring the top cowboys and the best stock in the sport from 2010.

In relatively short period of time, Carr Pro Rodeo has been recognized as one of the up-and-coming livestock and rodeo producers in North America. Carr recognizes it takes an experienced and passionate staff, fantastic animal athletes and a little luck to produce memorable rodeos.

“It’s a lot like staying at the MGM Grand, where you can take in a show like Cirque du Soliel’s KA or go to one of the many clubs, excellent restaurants or just enjoy the great casino action,” Carr said. “We do what we can to promote MGM Grand at every rodeo we produce, and they roll out the red carpet when we come to town for the big show.”

postheadericon Anybody got a Wooden Nickel?

LAS VEGAS – The bright lights of Las Vegas are about to get a taste of the Panhandle.

The Wooden Nickel Band will entertain hundreds during the Wrangler Gold Buckle Gala on Monday, Nov. 29, at the South Point Hotel & Casino’s Grand Ballroom. The event, which kicks off the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association convention and the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, will benefit the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

“It’s a pretty big honor for us to be part of this experience,” said Ken Stonecipher, the lead singer and guitarist. “I think the people in Vegas will be pleasantly surprised with the Panhandle’s flavor of entertainment that we’ll be sharing.”

The band – made up of Stonecipher and Lanny Wilson from Guymon; Max Carlson and Bill Lewis from Liberal, Kan.; Alan Hodges from Turpin; and Marvin Wilson from Dalhart, Texas – will entertain a crowd that will feature world champion cowboys and rodeo dignitaries.

In fact, eight-time world champion Larry Mahan, who owns six all-around gold buckles, will be presented with the Legend of ProRodeo Award during the third annual gala. He follows in the footsteps of Clem McSpadden, Jim Shoulders, Harry Vold and Jake Barnes.

“This is truly a cowboy deal, and that makes it pretty special,” Stonecipher said. “We’ve had the opportunity to play before thousands of people in this area, but this is a pretty big deal for us. One thing is for sure, and the folks around here will tell you, we’ll have a lot of fun.”

postheadericon Taming a different beast

Seth Glause is making his second trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, having earned his trip to the championship by finishing the regular season with a hair more than $65,000, good enough for 14th in the world standings.

On Thursday night, he’ll wrap his hand to 1,800 pounds of humping, bucking, twisting muscle and try to hang on for eight seconds, all while competing under the brightest lights in ProRodeo.

Did I mention he’s just 22 years old?

Two seasons ago, Glause finished the year No. 15 in the world standings. If he wants to make a statement, this is the year to do it. He’s a couple years older. More importantly, he knows what to expect inside the Thomas & Mack Center. Sure, he’ll still have the jitters, but they won’t be nearly as intense this time around.

Now he just needs to go about the business of riding bulls. If he can tame his nerves, the rest should be easy.

postheadericon Carr horses set to play a big role in NFR bareback riding

LAS VEGAS – The yellow chutes of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo have been the starting point for some of the greatest episodes of ProRodeo history.

It’s where the top bareback riders from this season stand during the fast-paced grand entry, and where they’ll try to tame the toughest bucking beasts in the sport for 10 straight nights from Dec. 2-11 at the Thomas & Mack Center. It’s where the horses from Carr Pro Rodeo will shine.

“If you look at the NFR stock roster, you can see Pete Carr’s loaded,” finalist D.V. Fennell said of the Carr Pro Rodeo owner. “That’s not just me saying that. That’s 16 of the top bareback riders in the world. He’s got superstars.”

Carr has had them since he became a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 2005, when a brown gelding named Real Deal was crowned the Bareback of the Year. Riverboat Annie, a red roan mare, finished second place in the same voting two years later.

“To be successful, you’ve got to want to win,” said Justin McDaniel, the 2008 bareback riding world champion. “Pete goes all out. He tries really hard. You can go to any of Pete’s rodeos and win on any of his horses on any given day.

“This year, that Real Deal was the rankest horse I’ve seen in a long time.”

Riverboat Annie isn’t as difficult to ride, but she definitely has a reputation.

“She’s the best mare I’ve ever owned so far,” Carr said. “She never had a bad day in her life and has won several buckles at the NFR. Now she is raising colts.”

Real Deal and Riverboat Annie again will be part of the mix at this year’s championship, joined by other Carr stalwarts Outa Sight, Grass Dancer, Dirty Jacket, Big Lights and Deuces Night.

“Pete’s always trying to improve his herd and always looking for ways to get new animals in there,” said Ryan Gray, the top-ranked bareback rider in the standings. “He’s always looking for better horses to fit his pen. He strives for constant improvement, and he has a constant drive to be successful.

“For Pete, it’s a want-to to get better all the time. That’s what we like to see in contractors, and there are not that many out there that can say that. A lot of guys respect him for trying hard and trying to have a great pen of bucking horses.”

All but Outa Sight and Deuces Night have been to the finals before, but the top bareback riders selected them because of their performances throughout the season. They’re both 5-year-old paint mares sired by the great Night Jacket, a paint stallion that has been selected to buck at the NFR 11 times; he was purchased last year for a record price of $200,000.

“That Deuces Night is one outstanding bucking horse, the kind that will be the bareback horse of the finals, I think,” said Fennell of Neosho, Mo., a two-time qualifier to the NFR. “Chris Harris won Pecos (Texas) on that horse this year, and it’s definitely a bucker.”

Both young horses drew the attention of Pete Carr, who purchased Outa Sight as a 2-year-old after seeing her buck with an electric dummy; he purchased Deuces Night earlier this year.

“She keeps getting better every time she gets the opportunity to perform,” he said.

As for Deuces Night, he said, “This is a very special mare that bucks the right way. You can tell she loves her job.”

postheadericon Carr horses will be a great test for the NFR bronc riders

LAS VEGAS – If everything goes right, saddle bronc riders will tell you, a good ride will feel like sitting in a rocking chair.

Confident. Controlled. Back and forth.

For the cowboys competing at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, they’ll have their fair share of opportunities to sit in that rocking chair. But they’ll also try to stay in the saddle with the nastiest bucking beasts in the business over the 10 rugged days of the NFR, set for Dec. 2-11 at the Thomas & Mack Center. It’s a showcase for the top 15 guys who have earned the right to play for the biggest pay in rodeo.

“The nice thing about the NFR is that these guys will have a chance to get on about every kind of bronc out there, and they’ll all be great,” said Pete Carr, owner of Carr Pro Rodeo, one of the premier stock contractors in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. “They’ll definitely be tested.”

The animals that are part of the championship event were selected by the bronc busters themselves. For Carr Pro Rodeo, three outstanding horses will be in the mix: Air Miles, Miss Congeniality and True Lies.

“I’ll take any of them, I promise,” said Cort Scheer, the seventh ranked bronc rider heading into the NFR. “If you draw any of them horses, you’ve got a chance to win. Look at the pedigree behind them, the money that’s won on all of them.

“Typically you go to places, and there will one or two horses you can win on, but that’s not the case at any of Pete Carr’s rodeos. It comes down to who makes the best spur ride is going to win. That’s what you want every time.”

True Lies and Miss Congeniality will be making their NFR debuts, while Air Miles has been selected three times – she’s been in both bareback riding and bronc riding.

“She bucks really hard and has a lot of moves,” Carr said of Air Miles, a 12-year-old sorrel mare. “She can be a little hard to twist.”

Carr purchased Miss Congeniality, an 8-year-old bay mare, from a Canadian firm after the horse had been stellar in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, where it was named the horse of the Canadian Finals Rodeo and led cowboys to the winner’s circle in three of the four go-rounds she bucked there. True Lies was purchased at a horse sale this past January.

“He is just getting settled in at the ranch, so it will be interesting to see how he handles Vegas this year,” Carr said of the 8-year-old bay gelding.

The bronc riders are expecting great things, but that’s nothing new when they consider the Carr Pro Rodeo livestock.

“You can go down the list of any horse Pete has, and you’re going to look at the kinds of horses you want to get on every time,” said Taos Muncy, the 2007 world champion who goes into this year’s finale No. 4 in the world standings. “You look forward to going to his rodeos, because he will have NFR horses in every performance.”

postheadericon Panhandle pride

My beautiful wife is a proud alumna of Oklahoma Panhandle State University.

When she was in school in the mid-1990s, she was the rodeo team’s secretary for then-coach Dr. R. Lynn Gardner, whom everyone called Doc. Though she didn’t compete, she is very proud to be part of a fantastic rodeo tradition at the school in the community of Goodwell, population 1,234.

The school boasts of rodeo champions, whether while students or after graduation. In fact, saddle bronc riders Taos Muncy, Jeff Willert, Tom Reeves and Robert Etbauer were part of the Panhandle State rodeo team.

Over the years, there have been too many qualifiers to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo to mention them all, from Deke and Craig Latham to Dan Etbauer to Scott Montague to Jhett Johnson to Jesse Bail, just to name a few.

This year’s NFR will feature six Panhandlers: Muncy, Willert and Cort Scheer in bronc riding; Tana Poppino in barrel racing; and Ardie Maier and Seth Glause in bull riding.

The Panhandle State nation is proud. Just ask my wife.

postheadericon Carr Pro Rodeo knows production is important to rodeo fans

LAS VEGAS – Folks in rodeo have learned to expect great animal athletes at a Carr Pro Rodeo event.

They’ve also experienced the heart-pounding thrills that come with it, from exceptional rides to a show that makes fans itching for more. It’s something the Carr team brings in its production, from owner Pete Carr to every member of his staff.

“What Pete really brought to us that was missing before was that he upped the level of the performance,” said Brad Higgins, of the Eagle County (Colo.) Fair and Rodeo. “From the grand entry to the flag posting … he’s brought up the level of the showmanship process a lot. It’s not over the top, but it’s more professional. Most typical stock contractors want to just buck the stock and go home, but that’s not the case with Pete.”

Overall, it’s living on the edge of dramatics and competition, and it’s something the Carr crew takes seriously.

“We try to have the theatrical portion of our show not interfere with the competition side,” said John Gwatney, a production supervisor for the Dallas-based livestock firm. “We try to run a good, fast, clean performance without interfering with the competition.

“That’s where we’re different from other rodeo companies. If we’re not ready, the cowboy has to wait. When it comes time for that cowboy to compete, we’ve done everything we can to make that animal ready for that cowboy, so all he has to do is nod his head.”

The nod is the signal for the competition between man and animal to begin, and the cowboys and cowgirls who are involved take it seriously. Rodeo is how they make their livings, and they only walk away from the arena with a paycheck if they’re one of the best that day.

But rodeo is also entertainment, much like other professional sports. Fans put up their money in order to enjoy their time, and that’s where the production comes into play.

“I think over the years, the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo has developed a reputation of not only having the best contestants, but also having the best livestock as well,” said Ken Stonecipher, a longtime member of the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo committee. “With Pete Carr putting that team together, it’s a win-win for us. Our fans, which are extremely rodeo-savvy, have come to expect it, and they have not been disappointed.”

That’s something in which Pete Carr takes great pride, and it’s why he’s put together a crew of top-flight rodeo personnel.

“I think the fans come to the rodeo to see the best show they can see, and we’re there to put it on for them,” Carr said. “We want them to enjoy the experience from beginning to end and to leave that arena wanting more. I’ve got people around me that work very hard to make that happen.”

The process actually starts well before the first rodeo of the season, from the planning and development to the assignments each person on the staff has when it’s time to put on the show.

“At the Rafter C rodeos, what starts the production is our version of Americana,” said Gwatney, a team roper and steer wrestler who has worked in rodeo production much of his life. “We’re looking to get peoples’ emotions up, get them on the edge of their seats so when that first animal bucks, the height of the excitement is already up.

“Whether it is one of the many costume changes or the uniformity of the yellow horses, the pageantry of it all, we’re trying to stir something in those people. What makes Pete’s rodeos successful is the timing of it all.”

As the Carr team prepares to be part of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, each person realizes how special ProRodeo’s grand finale really is as it takes place Dec. 2-11 at the Thomas & Mack Center. They see how the production and competition are weaved together like a brilliant quilt, but they take pride in knowing the things they do at rodeos throughout the year are recognized in Las Vegas.

“The thing about the NFR is that it gets people excited, then it builds on that excitement so that everyone is ready to come back the next night,” Carr said. “Just like the NFR, we want the openings to be as spectacular in Pecos, Texas, or Eagle, Colo., or any of the rodeos we do all year. The fans deserve it.”

postheadericon Bull riders hoping to find Black Gold at the NFR in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS – For cowboys chasing their dreams at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, they might find it in an aptly named bull, Black Gold.

When the Carr Pro Rodeo animal goes to work, big things happen. In his career, he’s been ridden just 22 percent of the time, but when cowboys hang on for the qualifying eight-second ride, it’s magical. In fact, Corey Navarre of Weatherford, Okla., rode the bull for 88 points to win the seventh go-round at the 2009 NFR.

“Black Gold bucks hard every time,” said Pete Carr, owner of Carr Pro Rodeo. “He’s been pretty consistent this year, which is what you want in a bull like that.”

Like any athlete, consistency is the key to being one of the best in the game. It might be more important in bull riding, where only the top competitors are asked to be part of ProRodeo’s grand championship.

“It always helps when you’ve got great bulls,” said Ardie Maier, the 11th-ranked bull rider heading into this year’s NFR, set for Dec. 2-11 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

The top bull riders in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association picked the bulls for the NFR based on what the cowboys saw at rodeos all across the country. 

“The guys want to go to rodeos and see that there are things that are making a difference,” said Maier, 30, of Timber Lake, S.D. “With Pete, you can tell he’s working hard at getting a good set of bulls. It helps, because it gives everybody a chance.”

A lot of cowboys are seeing that in the Carr Pro Rodeo herd; they’ve also pointed to Black Gold as being one of the elite in the sport.

“That’s the worst-feeling bull I’ve ever been on in my life,” said J.W. Harris, the reigning two-time world champion bull rider. “I got on him back in San Antonio in ’09. He’s right out there around to the left. He looks like a duck spinner, the kind you want every time, but he just feels terrible. He throws a lot of guys off, because he hits so hard on the front end.”

Black Gold has been pretty good for some time, but he joined the Dallas-based livestock company’s herd last December when Carr bought the animal at the bucking stock sale that takes place in conjunction with the NFR.

“The great thing about Pete is that he went out and bought some new bulls,” said Harris of Mullin, Texas. “He’s actually trying to get a better bull herd, which is more than you can say for a lot of stock contractors.”

What attracted Carr to Black Gold was the animal’s typical pattern and attitude.

“He turns back in the gate every time, and when the rider falls off, he just stops and walks out,” Carr said. “He knows his job and likes it.”

postheadericon Will Rogers Stampede receives barrel racing honor

The Will Rogers Stampede PRCA RodeoCLAREMORE, Okla. – The humidity was just one reason the volunteers who produce the Will Rogers Stampede were sweating so much the final weekend in May 2010.

They were all working pretty hard. In late November, the members of the Will Rogers Roundup Club had their hard work recognized by the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, which named the Claremore rodeo grounds as having the best footing in the Prairie Circuit, made up of rodeos in the Oklahoma-Kansas-Nebraska region.

“When you look at the hours these people put in to make that ground so good, you know how much work it took,” said David Petty, the rodeo’s chairman. “It’s a pretty special feeling that the WPRA selected our rodeo, because it was a statement made by the competitors, the ladies that ran at our rodeo and all the other rodeos in the circuit.”

The Will Rogers Stampede is one of 12 rodeos selected as the best in their region. It also qualifies the rodeo as a finalist for the national honor, which will be announced next week in Las Vegas.

“The ground is a big deal in every timed event in rodeo, but good ground is essential in barrel racing,” said Tana Poppino, a three-time qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. “Without quality ground, it can really make a difference in the competition.”

Poppino knows. Not only has she been part of ProRodeo’s grand finale, she’s also the Prairie Circuit director for the WPRA, and she lives just down the road in Big Cabin.

“We rely on our horses a lot, and we want to take care of them as well as possible,” she said. “That’s an important part of having quality ground.

“But we also compete for a living, and when we get to the arena, we want a chance to win. At Claremore, the ground was in such good shape, that anybody had a chance to win that rodeo no matter when they run or where they were in the order.”

From the right amount of moisture on the arena dirt to the tireless efforts of the volunteers to make it good for each run, the committee of volunteers realizes the value of their intense focus on the small details.

“This is a great honor for us,” Petty said. “It’s nice to be mentioned alongside all those other great rodeos. It would be nice to be recognized as the best in the country, but we don’t do all that work for the awards; we do all that work to make for the best competition for the contestants and the best show for the fans. That’s what rodeo’s about.”

postheadericon Another NFR trivia question

Trevor Brazile

Trevor Brazile

Trevor Brazile is closing in on his record eighth all-around world championship. He’s simply phenomenal, and he’s fun to watch.

He’s also one of two men to have qualified for the National Finals in all four roping disciplines, joining Dale Smith. This season, he competed at the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, where he earned more money than anybody else. In three weeks, he’ll be at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, where he’ll compete as a tie-down roper and header in team roping. That’s fairly normal for Brazile.

But what year did he qualify for the NFR in heeling?

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