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.”

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