Archive for April, 2012

postheadericon Guymon steer roping through 2 rounds

Second round: 1. Brent Lewis, 13.0 seconds, $1,885; 2. Ty Tillard, 13.2, $1,639; 3. J.P. Wickett, 13.9, $1,393; 4. Chet Herren, 14.2, $1,147; 5. Howdy McGinn, Buster Record Jr. and Cody Scheck, 14.5, $656; 8. Troy Tillard, 15.4, $164.
Aggregate leaders: 1. Buster Record Jr., 32.8 on two runs; 2. J.P. Wickett, 35.5; 3. C.A. Lauer, 37.0; 4. Marty Poppino, 39.2; 5. Ty Tillard, 40.8; 6. Mark Milner, 41.4; 7. Ryan Rochlitz, 44.0; 8. Shay Good, 48.4.

postheadericon Guymon steer roping results

Steer roping
First round:
1. Joe O’Rourke, 12.8 seconds, $1,885; 2. Shandon Stalls, 14.1, $1,639; 3. Jeff Wheelis, 16.0, $1,393; 4. T.J. Bohlender, 16.2, $1,147; 5. Buster Record Jr., 18.3, $901; 6. Kim Ziegelgruber, 19.2, $656; 7. Rod Hartness, 19.7, $410; 8. C.A. Lauer, 20.1, $164.

postheadericon Carr’s animal athletes bring power to Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT, Texas – Whether it’s the classic style of a bronc or the spinning, twisting motion of a bull, the bucking animals are a big part of what makes a ProRodeo so special.

In Bridgeport, that athleticism falls on the animals from Dallas-based Carr Pro Rodeo, which will provide the livestock for the Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, May 11-12, at Bridgeport Riding Club Arena.

“I’ve always tried to get the best animals I can get, whether they’re bulls or horses,” said Pete Carr, owner of the livestock company. “Everybody thinks I’m a horse guy, and I am; I just want to be a bull guy, too.”

The best cowboys in the business like Carr’s approach to raising bucking animals; they also like it when they see the Carr name attached to any rodeo. They make their livings on the backs of these tremendous athletes, so they want to have the best opportunity to win money – in rodeo, there are no guarantees; a contestant only gets paid if he places higher than most in the competition.

“Any bucking horse you know you have a chance to win on is one you want to get on,” said Jesse James Kirby of Dodge City, Kan. “That’s what you have when you go to a Carr rodeo. I think Pete Carr is doing a damn good job of supplying a bunch of really good bucking horses.”

Bull riders are saying the same things; just ask Trey Benton III, who won the Mercedes, Texas, rodeo in mid-March after scoring 91 points on Missing Parts, a dark brindle Carr recently acquired.

“He was pretty wolfy around to the right just at the gate,” Benton said of the energetic bull’s bucking motion. “He was really good. He just stumbled at the five-second mark, but I think he was even more after he stumbled. He got after it.

“You have to have a good bull to score 91, and I got one there.”

Benton wants that to happen a lot more, and that gives the Rock Island, Texas, cowboy plenty of incentive to know where Carr Pro Rodeo bulls will be bucking.

“Whenever a guy’s trying to make a perfect pen of bucking bulls, that’s great,” said Benton, 20, who is in the middle of the world championship race and run for the rookie of the year award in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, ranked in the top five in the world standings by mid-April. “When you’re trying to improve your pen all the time like Mr. Carr, then that means a lot to us.”

Carr has done that. Over the last few months, he has invested into growing his bull herd.

“I’ve got some good ones in addition to Missing Parts,” Carr said. “I’ve got some great bulls in The Mexican, Black Ice, Black Powder, Motown and Panther that went to a lot of the winter rodeos. I have some more outstanding bulls that I haven’t bucked just yet, but I think all of them have a lot of potential.”

The rodeo world has taken notice.

“Pete Carr has stepped up a lot with his bulls,” said Paul Peterson, the flankman for Carr Pro Rodeo who has been with the company since its inception. “There are a lot of new bulls at the ranch, and I’d say most of them are the kind you can take anywhere and they’ll be pretty strong.

“There are also some young bulls we still don’t know much about, but they look like they’re going to be great.”

postheadericon Can Dirty Jacket make it five in a row in Guymon?

GUYMON, Okla. – The best bareback riders in the world have considered Dirty Jacket one of the best bucking horses in the business for several years.

That’s good news for Carr Pro Rodeo, the livestock producer that owns the horse.

Wes Stevenson

Wes Stevenson

“That horse has just gotten better,” said Wes Stevenson, a seven-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Lubbock, Texas. “I think he may have stepped it up from what we’ve seen.”

That’s better news.

In fact, it’s great news for bareback riders; it takes great animals to make great rides, and they’ve been doing that on Dirty Jacket for a number of years. The 8-year-old bay gelding has been especially great inside Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena, the home of the annual Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, set this year for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 4; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6.

You see, Dirty Jacket has been the common denominator for the Guymon bareback riding champion each of the last four years.

Kaycee Feild

Kaycee Feild

“They’ve won that rodeo a lot on that horse,” said reigning world champion Kaycee Feild of Payson, Utah, who won the championship round in Fort Worth, Texas, earlier this year on Dirty Jacket. “When he leaves the chute, he’s trying to kick the flankman off the back of the chute. He’s so fast, and he bucks so hard.

“There’s no way you can muscle up on him. You’ve got to be fast and aggressive, or he will get you out of shape and might get you bucked off.”

Dirty Jacket has been a fixture at the NFR, where the top cowboys in the game select the animals to be part of the field. In fact, Dirty Jacket has been part of the coveted TV pen, which is showcased in the fifth and 10th go-rounds in ProRodeo’s grand finale – the TV pen features the “showiest” bucking horses, and the moniker comes from the days when only the final round of the NFR was televised.

Pete Carr

Pete Carr

Pete Carr, owner of Carr Pro Rodeo, has a dozen animals selected to the finals each year, a couple of which are bucked in the fifth and 10th rounds. Carr owns some of the greatest bucking animals in ProRodeo, including Real Deal, the 2005 Bareback Riding Horse of the Year, and Riverboat Annie, the 2007 reserve world champion bareback horse.

“This spring is the best I’ve seen Dirty Jacket,” Carr said. “He’s been phenomenal.”

Heath Ford is the event representative for bareback riders. It’s his job to help select the horses to compete in Las Vegas. He’s also a three-time NFR qualifier, so he knows a little bit about it.

“He’s so electric,” Ford said of Dirty Jacket. “I think maybe he’s Pete’s best horse this year.”

Ford isn’t the only one who thinks that.

“I think guys are going to win a lot of money on him,” said Cody DeMers, a four-time NFR qualifier from Kimberly, Idaho. “You dang sure have to ride good. Those kinds of horses are the ones that are going to psych you up and talk you into riding good.

“Having horses like that says a lot for Pete. He takes care of those horses. He babies those horses. He probably loves those horses as much as he does his own family.”

Stevenson not only has watched Dirty Jacket grow, he has won on the horse this year. He scored 87 points in the short go-round in San Angelo, Texas, and won the rodeo. He has led the bareback riding world standings most of the year, and he’s riding well.

Will Lowe

Will Lowe

“That horse is in his prime,” Stevenson said. “He could be having one of the better years he’s had, and that’s saying a lot. The first time he was bucked was four years ago in Guymon, and they won the rodeo on him.”

Jerad Schlegal was the first to win the coveted title on Dirty Jacket in 2008, followed by NFR qualifier Jared Smith in 2009. Three-time world champion Will Lowe won Guymon in 2010, and two-time NFR qualifier Matt Bright won a year ago.

“That horse likes that arena a lot,” said Lowe of Canyon, Texas. “He just likes to buck. He’s such a good horse. He’s in the TV pen at the NFR, so you know he’s the one guys want to get on.”

And Dirty Jacket just loves Hitch Arena.

“It’s just a good setup for that horse,” said Carr, who has been part of Pioneer Days Rodeo for seven years. “Probably the most deciding factor is we get some of the best cowboys in the country in Guymon. When you’ve got great cowboys, they make your horses look really good. Dirty Jacket’s drawn pretty well there.”

postheadericon Why Guymon’s rodeo works

Next weekend marks the 80th straight year of the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, and it’s quite the celebration.

I’ve been to at least one performance 10 of the last 12 years, and I’m always impressed by the production the volunteers present to the fans. There’s a reason it was named the 2002 Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year in the PRCA.

Guess what: It’s a much better rodeo than it was a decade ago.

This year, there were 886 entrants into the competition, which begins Monday and features seven straight days of ProRodeo’s very best in action. It works because the people in the Oklahoma Panhandle community make it work. They work all year long to raise the money it takes to put on one of the best events in the game every May.

It also works because of the schedule; Pioneer Days Rodeo is one of the biggest set for the first weekend of May. Contestants can fit it into their plans easily. The format works for the community, because the population explodes during rodeo week, and the contestants stick around, take in the hospitality and enjoy the community.

So how much does this rodeo mean to the contestants? A year ago, the committee had to decrease the purse, hoping and praying it would be a one-year deal. Because of other commitments, it meant cutting the added money in half, to $5,000 per event. Still, the number of contestants was better than most rodeos in Oklahoma in 2011.

This year the added money increased to $7,500, and it appears to be a hit.

It’s going to be a tremendous show. I’m glad I’ll be there.

postheadericon One thumb down

Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson

OK, I’ll admit it: My stomach turned a little when I read about Mike Johnson’s unfortunate mishap in Red Bluff, Calif., last week.

ProRodeo.com reported that Johnson was stepping out of his trailer when a gust of wind blew the door shut, severing the end of the Oklahoma roper’s left thumb in the process.

“It was just a freak accident,” Johnson, a 23-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, told Blaine Santos. “I just happened to be stepping out of the trailer, and I had my hand in the crack by the door there, when a gust of wind blew it shut. It happened just that quick. The edges on those doors are sharp, I can tell you. It caught me right between the joint and the thumbnail.”

The amputation was between the end knuckle and the thumbnail, Johnson said, and the digit was re-attached.

Johnson is a 48-year-old cowboy from Henryetta, Okla., who first roped at the NFR when it was still held in Oklahoma City. He last roped at the NFR in 2008. I’d love to see him roping again in the Thomas & Mack Center.

Because of this injury, it won’t be this year. But I admire Johnson’s ability and determination.

postheadericon MGM: It’s the Home of the Champions

I saw a photo Friday on Facebook of bareback rider Matt Bright sporting MGM Grand chaps.

Bright is one of the new faces on Team MGM Grand, the Home of the Champions, along with fellow bareback rider Casey Colletti. Bright, a two-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, and Colletti, who made a name for himself at his first NFR this past December, join a brilliant crew of rodeo talent who make the MGM their home during ProRodeo’s championship event and other times throughout the rigorous season.

During the 2011 NFR, more than 30 cowboys and cowgirls were part of Team MGM, including world champions Trevor Brazile, Will Lowe, Bobby Mote, Jason Miller, Patrick Smith, Rich Skelton, Billy Etbauer, Tuf Cooper, Stran Smith, Cody Ohl, J.W. Harris, Wesley Silcox, Brittany Pozzi and Lindsay Sears.

What became most evident during the 2011 championship is that the MGM Grand is becoming the place to be during the NFR. I expect it to be the No. 1 destination for cowboys, cowgirls and fans that are part of the championship experience in 2012.

I’m quite proud to say that I got to see the action from a front-row seat, and I plan to be at the Gold Buckle Zone throughout the 10 days of this year’s finale. The MGM is an awesome host to the NFR, and rodeo is the greatest beneficiary.

Find me in early December. I’ll be at the MGM Grand.

postheadericon The Doc I never met

This weekend features the Doc Gardner Memorial Rodeo, otherwise known as the Oklahoma Panhandle State University rodeo.

The annual event is one of the final events in the Central Plains Region; this season, it’s the final event, and the College National Finals Rodeo will be secured. There are several events where the fight for the final qualifications will come down to the final run in Saturday night’s championship round in Guymon, Okla.

Quite possibly the best part of this weekend’s festivities is honoring Dr. Lynn Gardner, the longtime rodeo coach at Panhandle State. I never got to meet the man, who many friends have called their mentor, a second father, the person most responsible for who they are today.

I’ve been blessed enough to write posthumously about Doc, and each time I do, I wish I’d spent time with him. For instance, I’ve  learned a little more about Dr. Garry Brower, the longtime coach at Fort Hays State University, and Dr. Don Mitchell, who retired a decade ago after serving in the same capacity at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

But I married a Panhandle State alumnae, so I get to hear stories from her and many others who knew Doc Gardner so well.

“The thing I loved most about him was that he treated everybody very equal and fair, and therefore he garnered a lot of respect from everybody,” my wife said. “He was amazing.”

“Amazing” seems to be a common word among those who describe Doc. That’s pretty spectacular.

postheadericon Guymon is ready for the rodeo to come to town

GUYMON, Okla. – The biggest event in the Oklahoma Panhandle is 80 years old this year, and the celebration to honor the anniversary will be just as grand.

This is the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, the annual showcase that provides the largest economic impact of any event in Texas County, Okla., more than $2 million a year.

Why?

It’s home to the greatest athletes in ProRodeo, and it’s where world champions play – in fact, there were 886 entrants into this year’s event. If they make their living in rodeo, they want to be in Guymon the first weekend in May for a week stocked full of competition and culminated with four championship-caliber performances set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 4; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena.

“Our goal every year is to make our rodeo better than ever,” said Earl Helm, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo. “We want people to talk about this rodeo all year long.”

They’ve been doing it for several years. From outstanding rodeo action to the best entertainers in the sport, Pioneer Days Rodeo has had it. This year features a few tweaks to the schedule to make it better for everyone involved and the return of award-winning barrelman Troy Lerwill, whose “Wild Child” act remains one of the most sought-after in ProRodeo.

“I believe we’ve got one of the greatest shows around, and this year might be one of the best we’ve had in a long time,” Helm said. “When you get the opportunity to bring in Troy Lerwill, you do it. He’s the kind of act that everybody has been talking about since the last time he was here.

“We’re reaching out to a different group of people. They will come watch a rodeo if you bring in something they like. He’s motorcycle. They love seeing something like that.”

The schedule changes include moving the first four rounds of steer roping to the beginning of the five days of slack. All steer ropers in the field will compete in four go-rounds Monday, April 30, and Tuesday, May 1. The tie-down ropers, steer wrestlers and team ropers will compete Wednesday, May 2, and Thursday, May 3, in two full go-rounds. The barrel racers will compete Friday morning, May 4.

Only the top players in each event – the top 34 through four rounds in steer roping; the top 40 through two rounds in steer wrestling, tie-down roping and team roping; and the 40 fastest times after one round in barrel racing – qualify for the four performances through the weekend. The barrel racers outside the top 40 will compete in the second go-round Friday afternoon to wrap up the slack competition.

“The barrel racers are excited about it, and I am, too,” said Ken Stonecipher, the production director for the Pioneer Days Rodeo committee. “The ground will be much more consistent than we could’ve ever made it from Monday to Friday.”

It benefits the other events, too.

“We started kicking this around because of steer roping, because we need a good, solid base underneath them,” Helm said. “We don’t need it deep for the ropers, but the barrel racers need it deep. Now we can set it up to where we have more solid ground early in the week. This way, we can try to better prepare the ground for each event as we go.

“You always have to think about the stock and the stock’s safety.”

The committee also will put on a calf fry/hamburger feed for timed-event contestants and sponsors shortly after Wednesday’s slack. It’s a way the volunteers are giving back to some of the entities that have made the rodeo so successful over the years.

While the changes have been put into place to improve upon the existing system, there are plenty of aspects of the Pioneer Days Rodeo that will remain the same. Dallas-based Carr Pro Rodeo will return as the primary stock contractor, but he’ll team with other top-notch livestock producers, Korkow Rodeos, Powder River Rodeo and D&H Cattle Co., and Frontier Rodeo. That means the very best animal athletes and spectacular production will be part of each performance.

This year marks the third straight year of the Classic Events Championship, the Rick Furnish-organized event that features 20 top-level cowboys competing in steer roping and saddle bronc riding. Each contestant in the non-sanctioned event will rope, trip and tie down two steers and ride two broncs – the first round will feature a younger horse, while the second round gives the contestants an opportunity to ride a seasoned bronc.

“It’s always a great event and a lot of fun for us,” Stonecipher said. “You get to see true all-around cowboys at work, and it’s a blast.”

For a week the end of April and the beginning of May, the best contestants in ProRodeo converge on the Oklahoma Panhandle to battle for some of the biggest prize money in this part of America.

“I’m really excited with what we’ve got in store for the fans this year,” Helm said. “I think they’re going to be excited, too.”

postheadericon Carr crew takes jobs to heart at Bridgeport rodeo

BRIDGEPORT, Texas – Pete Carr knows that the line between success and failure is small, and the advantage is always with the people in your corner.

That’s why Carr, owner of Carr Pro Rodeo, has enlisted the help of the very best that ProRodeo has to offer. They’ll all be in Bridgeport for the Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, May 11-12, at Bridgeport Riding Club Arena.

“I believe that it takes great people to make great things happen,” said Carr, the stock provider in Bridgeport. “I’m proud of the crew that we have, and we’re all excited to be part of the Butterfield Stage Days rodeo.”

Paul Peterson is a veteran cowboy, a man who just missed qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in saddle bronc riding a couple decades ago. In the years since, he became one of the premier pickup men in the sport, working the biggest rodeos in the world, including the NFR three times. He’s worked every rodeo Carr Pro Rodeo has produced since the company was founded.

This year, he has transitioned into a new role: Peterson is the flankman, who helps the bucking animals with the strap that gives them the leverage they need to buck.

“Everything’s for the better,” said Peterson, who lives in Southland, Texas, with his wife, Danya, and their two daughters. “I really enjoy it.”

Carr has served as the flankman for several years, but as owner of the Dallas-based livestock firm, Carr has numerous other responsibilities that need his attention. Therefore, having a veteran like Peterson handling the flanking responsibilities is a benefit to the operation.

“Paul has been a valuable part of our team since our first rodeo,” Carr said. “Paul is one of the most versatile people you’ll meet, and in rodeo, he can do almost everything. He knows these animals, and that plays a lot into what he’s done with us from the very beginning.

“I want to surround myself with the best, and that’s what I get with Paul.”

How important is it to understand the animal athletes?

“Every horse is going to take a different kind of flank,” Peterson said. “Those older horses, the ones that have been around a long time, they need a little bit more of a flank, but the colts will need less. You’ve got to figure out what’s going to be the best flank for each of the animals to perform at their best.

“You can ruin the horse or get him to the NFR.”

Peterson has been around a lot of great animals in his time, and it served him well as a pickup man. Now those duties fall on Shawn Calhoun and Jason Bottoms – Bottoms has worked the NFR multiple times, and Calhoun just picked up at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City. Now Peterson will take to the task of flankman with the same gusto.

“You’ve just got to know the animals,” Peterson said. “I think I’ve watched most of Pete’s horses a long time. So far it’s worked out.

“You take into consideration where the horse come from and what they’ve done to him in the past and if you’ve raised him. It helps to know a lot about what their mom is and what she was like; a lot of time they’re going to be just like her.”

The NFR is an annual showcase of the very best in ProRodeo, from the top 15 contestants in each event and discipline to the best personnel. John and Sandy Gwatney have worked the NFR for several years and are a big reason behind Carr Pro Rodeo’s success. Bullfighters Chris Kirby and Dusty Duba not only help protect fallen bull riders, but also they handle many of the behind-the-scenes tasks that go on at each rodeo.

Fans also will get to see the comedy of barrelman Mark Swingler, recognized as one of the top entertainers in the sport, and they’ll hear the encyclopedic call of announcer Charlie Throckmorton mixed with the tunes and tones of soundman Benje Bendele.

Throckmorton has called the action at the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping 11 times, and Bendele has provided the sound at the biggest rodeos in North America – including the NFR – for the past two decades.

“I think one of our greatest assets is the people we’re involved with,” Carr said. “No matter what their tasks are, we have experienced people in place. I think that makes us a stronger company.”

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