BIG SPRING, Texas – It takes a lot to put on a high-quality production.
Any exposition – whether it’s on Broadway or a community theater; whether it’s the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo or the Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo – needs flair and enticement that is a true showcase for audiences.
In Big Spring, the organizers of the annual rodeo lean on the talented crew from Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, which will produce the 80th edition of this west Texas gem, set for 8 p.m. Thursday, June 20-Saturday, June 22, at the Big Spring Rodeo Bowl.
“I think the best thing about Pete is his production,” said Ace Berry, chairman of the volunteer rodeo committee. “He does have a really good bucking stock string, really nice broncs and bulls.
“I think his production is the main thing. He just puts on a really good rodeo.”
Berry is just one chairman who thinks that way. There are several others among the 34 rodeos in 13 states the Carr crew produces.
“Pete Carr purchased Classic Pro Rodeo earlier this year, and that makes him the biggest and best stock contractor in rodeo right now,” said Loydd Williams, chairman of the Bridgeport, Texas, rodeo committee. “When you put those two companies together, it’s going to be tough to beat in terms of bucking stock and the overall production of rodeo.
“This is not your 1960s stock contractor. This is a great production that fans will love from start to finish. Pete Carr and his crew have made our rodeo better.”
While every rodeo performance features a livestock-based competition and has its own challenges, all the behind-the-scenes work is done to make the action in the arena seem flawless.
“We try to have the theatrical portion of our show not interfere with the competition side,” said John Gwatney, a production supervisor for the Carr firms. “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 work has been noticed.
“It was the professionalism, the production,” said David Petty, chairman of the Claremore, Okla., rodeo. “It was a well-oiled machine. One of the things small rodeo committees are struggling with is we must have a product to keep people coming back, and Carr Pro Rodeo brings that product that entices people to want to see that show. Once people do see it, the chances of them becoming a regular at the rodeo are higher.”
It’s one thing to witness that kind of show; it’s another thing to be part of it. Even the greatest cowboys in the sport like what they see in a Carr-produced rodeo.
“I like a good rodeo with good production, because it gets your motor going and you seem to ride better,” said Bradley Harter, a seven-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Weatherford, Texas. “It helps when you have a good rodeo with good sound, and you know you’re going to get that at all of Pete Carr’s rodeos.”