postheadericon Entertainment value is key for Stampede

ALLEN, Texas – There’s a lot to north Texas, from the pride in the Lone Star State to the traditions that surround this culture.

The 2012 Tom Thumb Texas Stampede will have the flavor of it all, from a world-class rodeo featuring the sport’s biggest stars to the Western Heritage Festival to traditional concerts from Tracy Lawrence and Lee Brice.

The Western Heritage Festival takes place from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, and Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Allen Event Center. It will feature a petting zoo, pony rides, mutton busting, stick horse races and the Texas Stampede Western Marketplace.

Then the real action of the Tom Thumb Texas Stampede kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, and noon and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Allen Event Center. Lawrence will perform in concert after Friday night’s rodeo, and Brice will hit the stage after Saturday night’s performance.

“We are proud and excited to reestablish our partnership with the PRCA to bring this quality of rodeo competition to the Allen Event Center,” said Christopher Carter, president of the Tom Thumb Texas Stampede.

The entire entertainment package is what fans will appreciate most.

“We’re very excited to have Tracy Lawrence and Lee Brice performing at the Tom Thumb Texas Stampede,” said Zandy Carnes, the stampede’s executive director. “Along with our rodeo, we’re really getting back to our mission.

“Not only are we providing an event that’s going to entertain the crowd with the performance and the high caliber of contestants, but it also brings back the focus of why we do this, and that’s the kids.”

Funds raised at the Tom Thumb Texas Stampede go to several entities like Camp John Marc, which boasts of Special Camps for Special Kids, serving children with chronic illnesses and major physical disabilities and the families of those children; and ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship, which provides adults and children with disabilities the opportunity to move beyond their boundaries through the healing power of the horse. Those are just two of many organizations touched by the folks who attend the stampede.

“We’re spreading out to the various children’s charities that encompass a wide group of people,” Carnes said.

It’s that purpose that has so many people associated with the sport ready to reach out. Nearly 400 of ProRodeo’s top contestants – those from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association – are scheduled to compete. Dallas-based Carr Pro Rodeo will be the primary livestock contractor, providing the production and the bucking stock for the Texas Stampede.

“Not only is Pete Carr our stock contractor, but he also is on our board of directors,” Carnes said. “I feel we needed somebody who has rodeo in his background, not only someone who is a businessman. Pete encompasses all of those qualities. He comes in here with the experience in knowing the industry.

“He brings an element into it that some people haven’t. He’s savvy about getting the word out.”

It helps, too, that Carr’s name as a stock contractor is quite appealing to the cowboys who make their living riding bucking beasts.

“Any bucking horse you know you have a chance to win on is one you want to get on,” said Jesse James Kirby, a saddle bronc rider from 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.”

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