Archive for June, 2013

postheadericon Bronc busters love what Big Tex offers

George Gillespie of Elgin, Ore., rides Big Tex for 90 points during the 2010 Crossett, Ark., rodeo. Big Tex was the 2010 Bareback Horse of the Year and has been a saddle bronc every year since. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

George Gillespie of Elgin, Ore., rides Big Tex for 91 points during the 2010 Crossett, Ark., rodeo. Big Tex was the 2010 Bareback Horse of the Year and has been a saddle bronc every year since. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – One way to describe Big Tex is a 13-year-old bay gelding that was sired by the great stallion Night Jacket.

The best saddle bronc riders in ProRodeo have a few more things to say, and even more would like the opportunity to get on the great Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo bucking horse at the Navajo Nation Fourth of July PRCA Rodeo, set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 4, and Friday, July 5, at Dean C. Jackson Memorial Arena (because Window Rock is on the Navajo Nation, the kickoff each night will be during Mountain Standard Time, which is not the same as Arizona, which does not recognize Daylight Savings time).

Tyler Corrington

Tyler Corrington

“He’s always been a great bucking horse,” said Tyler Corrington, a 2011 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Hastings, Minn. “He’s one of the few bareback horses I knew before he became a bronc, because he was just so outstanding. He’s done nothing but be awesome.”

Corrington knows as well as anyone in the game. He matched moves with Big Tex for 85 points in February to win the title in San Antonio. He knows Big Tex is just one fine example of great livestock from Pete Carr’s Classic and Carr Pro Rodeo, the primary producers of the Window Rock rodeo.

“I knew ahead of time that I’d drawn pretty good, but it’s a pretty good sign when you’re sitting in the hospitality area and all your buddies are jealous of you because of what you’ve drawn,” he said.

Curtis Garton

Curtis Garton

That was definitely the case a little more than a month later when Australian Curtis Garton was matched against the big bay during the final round of the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City. With the help of Big Tex, Garton won ProRodeo’s national championship with an 86-point ride.

“That’s the one,” Garton said. “Coming into this rodeo, they asked me what my dream draw was, and I didn’t have to think about that: Big Tex. I just thank the Lord that it all worked out.”

It did, but that’s been the case with many of the sport’s elite bronc busters. In 2010, the top cowboys in the sport voted Big Tex the Bareback Horse of the Year; in 208, he was the Reserve World Champion Bareback Horse. That year, he guided and Tilden Hooper tied the world record with a 94-point ride in Silver City, N.M. As a bareback, he bucked at the NFR four straight times, from 2007-10; he’s been in bronc riding in Las Vegas the last two Decembers.

Wade Sundell

Wade Sundell

It’s where the best in the business say he belongs. Take Wade Sundell, a four-time NFR qualifier from Boxholm, Iowa, who has finished among the top five in saddle bronc riding each of the past four seasons. He rode Big Tex for 90 points to win RodeoHouston’s Super Series this past March.

“That’s one of the coolest horses to have for $50,000,” Sundell said. “He’s just so big, and he’s showy.”

The superlatives continue for Big Tex. At 13, he’s in the prime of his life and loves to show off his champion genetics

“I’ll take that horse anywhere I’m at,” Sundell said. “When you get on that horse, you’re nodding your head to win first. He kicks lights out, and he bails in the air. He’s got some hang time, and that allows you really set your feet and show off your spur stroke. He’s everything you’d want in a bucking horse.”

postheadericon Pecos rodeo features ProRodeo’s elite

PECOS, Texas – The work on the 130th West of the Pecos Rodeo began shortly after the 129th edition ended.

All that labor will be shown off this week when hundreds of ProRodeo’s brightest stars converge on this west Texas community for four performances of the World’s First Rodeo, set for 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday at Buck Jackson Arena.

PecosLogoIn all, about 70 ProRodeo world championships and dozens more Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers will be part of the action in Pecos. They’re just part of the equation for the world-class competition that will be featured in less than a week’s time in west Texas; the rodeo also will feature some of the greatest animal athletes in the sport.

From the great timed-event horses that guide the ropers, wrestler and racers to the bucking beasts from Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, the historic event is the perfect place to display the very best that rodeo has to offer. After all, this is the home of the World’s First Rodeo, with this sparkling tradition dating back to 1883.

“We’re real blessed that we’ve got Pete Carr, because ever since he got here, our rodeo just keeps getting better,” said Hugh Box, a longtime member of the volunteer committee that produces the rodeo. “We’ve got Boyd (Polhamus), and I think having the National Finals announcer here is a big calling card for our rodeo. We’ve also got Benje (Bendele), who does the sound at the finals every year.

“Those guys want to keep this thing going. They make it good for the people in the stands.”

That’s an important factor. Carr features 31 animals that performed at the 2012 NFR, including athletic horses like Dirty Jacket, the runner-up Reserve World Champion Bareback Horse; Big Tex, the 2010 Bareback Horse of the Year that now performs in saddle bronc riding; Real Deal, the 2005 Bareback Horse of the Year; River Boat Annie, the 2007 Reserve World Champion Bareback Horse; and several other elite horses like Scarlet’s Web, Night Bells, Gold Coast and Good Time Charlie.

Just this year, Big Tex has led bronc riders to big wins in San Antonio, Houston and the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo; Dirty Jacket has done the same in San Antonio, the RNCFR and Claremore, Okla.

“That’s the one,” said Curtis Garton, who rode Big Tex to win the national championship in Oklahoma City this past April. “Coming into this rodeo, they asked me what my dream draw was, and I didn’t have to think about that: Big Tex. I just thank the Lord that it all worked out.”

The combination of tremendous athletes and historic rodeo is a win-win for fans who love the sport and its history. That’s what makes the West of the Pecos Rodeo so special.

postheadericon Carr firms the perfect fit for rodeo

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – To make a marriage strong, it takes equal parts commitment and strength.

In the world of rodeo, a healthy marriage includes so much more. It can all be found in the stock contracting firms of Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, the primary livestock producers for the Navajo Nation Fourth of July PRCA Rodeo, set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 4, and Friday, July 5, at Dean C. Jackson Memorial Arena (because Window Rock is on the Navajo Nation, the kickoff each night will be during Mountain Standard Time, which is not the same as Arizona, which does not recognize Daylight Savings time).

Cody DeMoss

Cody DeMoss

“Pete Carr has definitely made a big step in the rodeo business,” said saddle bronc rider Cody DeMoss, a nine-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Heflin, La. “When he purchased Classic earlier this year was a very good move on his part. He’s got a lot more rodeos, and he’s got most of the best bucking barebacks in rodeo.

“It will be hard for him to not be Stock Contractor of the Year when a guy puts that much into his rodeos and his animals.”

Carr Pro Rodeo has been established as one of the top livestock firms in the country; this past spring, Carr acquired Classic, a company that has been around for better than 22 years. The marriage has been blessed by the elite cowboys in the game.

“That’s just a big move in rodeo, and we’re all pretty glad that we can go to one of his rodeos and know we’re going to get on something pretty good,” DeMoss said. “It’ll be real hard to win all of those rodeos, because everybody’s going to have a good horse.”

Bradley Harter

Bradley Harter

That’s impressive. Bronc riders make their livings riding wild horses, so it’s important to know they’ve got a shot at winning money every time they go to a rodeo.

“Whenever I look at the list of rodeos, I make my plan, and I’ll go out of my way as long as I have a chance to draw quality stock,” said Harter, a seven-time NFR qualifier from Weatherford, Texas. “Every chance we get to go to rodeos Pete Carr does, we’re going to do what we can to make it.”

A lot goes into the type of shows the Carr firms produce. In addition to having excellent bucking stock, Pete Carr has all the resources necessary to provide amazing entertainment.

Steven Peebles

Steven Peebles

“I’m combining two of the best crews in rodeo to form one of the greatest rodeo companies,” Carr said. “I’m excited about the new opportunities that are ahead for the company. I want committees to know we have a lot to offer them. We’re going to have unprecedented resources for all the rodeos, which will benefit everyone involved: committees, sponsors, contestants and spectators.”

That’s a major factor in why cowboys loving going to Carr-produced rodeos.

“There are a lot of rodeos that are going to be hard to beat because of what Pete Carr brings to the table,” said bareback rider Steven Peebles, a four-time NFR qualifier from Redmond, Ore. “Pete has raised the bar in rodeo. He’ll have better horses and better production.”

postheadericon Smith riding a hot wave

Tyler Smith

Tyler Smith

Bull rider Tyler Smith is having a phenomenal year, and his hot streak continued Thursday night during the Xtreme Bulls Tour event at the Reno (Nev.) Rodeo.

Smith, of Fruita, Colo., rode the Growney Bros. bull Crystal Deal for 93 points in the final go-round to clinch the title and $10,481. He claimed the average championship with a two-ride cumulative 177 points, seven better than runner-up Cody Campbell of Summerville, Ore.

That victory, and the earnings that came with it, surely will boost Smith’s status as he heads toward the meat of the ProRodeo season – the Reno Rodeo stands as the starting blocks for the rugged stretch of summertime rodeos. We’re just days away from the Fourth of July run, a series of lucrative rodeos set around the holiday.

This marks the second Xtreme Bulls victory for Smith and the fifth event title for the 2010 Wrangler National Finals qualifier. He won the Xtreme Bulls title in Rapid City and the bull riding title in Tucson, Ariz., this past winter. He won in Guymon, Okla., the first weekend in May and added the North Platte, Neb., championship a couple weeks ago.

So far this season, he has earned more than $66,000 and is well on his way back to Las Vegas.

postheadericon Box family a big part of Pecos rodeo

PECOS, Texas – For couples like Hugh and Gail Box, being involved in community activities is just part of their lives.

From serving on boards to being part of the committee that produces the 130th annual West of the Pecos Rodeo, the Boxes are active participants in the west Texas community. Much of their work will be on display next week when thousands flock Buck Jackson Arena to take in the rodeo, set for 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 26-Saturday, June 29.

“The people that volunteer have it in their hearts, and they love it,” Hugh Box said. “That’s what they want to do to keep this thing going.

PecosLogo“We’re all volunteers. We don’t get a dime out of this; in fact, some of it comes out of our own pockets. We even have box seats, but we don’t get to sit in them because we’re all working. We want to do this for the rodeo and for the community.”

Hugh Box began his commitment to the Pecos rodeo more than 30 years ago, but he’s been around the event all his life. He knows the importance of the rodeo to the community, whether it’s in the city, in Pecos County or all of west Texas.

“I’ve been coming to this since 1952 – we moved here when I was 5 years old,” he said. “I like it because I like Pecos. It’s got tradition. If you’ve never been here, then when you come you’ll see we’re proud of what we’ve got. You go to any town within 100 miles of here, and they don’t have anything like our rodeo.”

Gail Box serves in the rodeo’s hospitality area, a location at the arena that serves the contestants, sponsors, volunteers and contract personnel before, during and after the rodeo. Hugh Box helps his wife some, but like most others who donate their time to produce the annual event, there’s much more.

“In the off-season, we do all the repairs to the arena and handle anything we need to come up with,” he said. “We all sell sponsorships, and we’re basically at this all year. As soon as the rodeo’s over, we get back to work to get ready for next year.

“We have a great group of volunteers. All the volunteers try to do a little of everything. This is not just one guy, but we have a big volunteer group. I’d like to see us get a few more younger people involved, because that’s how we continue this tradition for years to come.”

Hugh is now 65 years old, but he began his status as a rodeo volunteer in his early 30s. He also has served on the school board, the hospital board and numerous other organizations.

“He’s volunteered for so many things all my life,” said Lori Evans, the Boxes’ daughter. “At the rodeo, Dad has sat with us maybe once in all those years. Both my mom and dad are so heavily involved in so many things. Without volunteers, you can’t have a good rodeo.

“Part of it is helping your community, but you’re also helping other people. You don’t have what you have without working. I think seeing that, you learn a lot of values, and you can be more appreciative of what you have.”

Hugh and Gail Box are just two of numerous volunteers that work tirelessly to produce the most historic event in rodeo. In all, they account for hundreds of man-hours. From finding sponsors that will invest in the rodeo to preparing the arena and stands to selling tickets, each step of the process falls upon those who are willing to donate their time and talents to the community’s biggest event.

“It’s such a big deal because it’s the world’s first rodeo,” Hugh Box said. “It’s got a history that every cowboy understands, and every cowboy would like to win a buckle here that says they won Pecos. Most cowboys want to have that under their belt.

“Our rodeo is one of the main events that brings people and money into the community. That week is the biggest selling point of the year for most of those stores. The whole town prospers.”

That’s a big factor in why so many community-minded people roll up their sleeves throughout the year to plan and prepare for that one week in June.

“Pecos has so much going for it,” Box said. “It’s right here off Interstate 20 and not far from Interstate 10. We’re right in the hub of everything, and we’ve got a lot to offer.”

postheadericon Pecos event is the history of rodeo

PECOS, Texas – Trav Windham and Morg Livingston were handy cowboys working cattle ranches in west Texas.

On July 4, 1883, the two joined other hands from area ranches to see who was the best, and the first rodeo competition took place on land that now houses the courthouse and law enforcement buildings. The celebration continues 130 years later with the annual West of the Pecos Rodeo, set for 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 26-Saturday, June 29, at Buck Jackson Arena.

The history of rodeo dates back to 1883 in Pecos, Texas, and that tradition continues with the West of the Pecos Rodeo, which takes place June 26-29.

The history of rodeo dates back to 1883 in Pecos, Texas, and that tradition continues with the West of the Pecos Rodeo, which takes place June 26-29.

“The cowboys like coming because of the tradition,” said Joe Keese, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo. “We do lot of things at our rodeo that are to the cowboys’ benefit, and I think they like that.”

It’s been that way for better than a century. When the first competition took place, it was supposed to be a match to test the talents of Windham and Livingston. When word spread, other cowboys helped make the world’s first rodeo.

“When that day came, there were horses, wagons, people walking – coming from all directions to see what was going to happen,” said a historical tidbit on the rodeo’s website, PecosRodeo.com.

“We’re very blessed to be part of the tradition of the West of the Pecos Rodeo,” said Pete Carr, owner of Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic ProRodeo, the firms that will produce the Pecos rodeo. “This is truly one of the great rodeos.”

It goes back to that day 13 decades ago, when Windham won steer roping by roping and tying his steer in 22 seconds, according to the historical piece. Livingston later beat Windham in a matched roping, and reports indicated that cowboys by the name of Pate Beard and Jeff Chism walked away with the honors.

The West of the Pecos Rodeo has been held annually every summer since 1936 and became sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in the early 1970s. Since then, it has been recognized as one of the best events in ProRodeo and features hundreds of the top cowboys in the land.

“Pecos is special to me because it’s the rodeo where I filled my permit,” said Trevor Brazile, a 17-time world champion from Decatur, Texas. “It has every event, which a lot of rodeos don’t have. It was the first rodeo, and they stayed true to so many traditions, from the long scores to the walking fresh cattle – a lot of rodeos don’t do that anymore, but you have to give those calves time to get out, then you have to have keep your horse situated. Most of the horses are used to just going, so it’s really a showcase of those great horses.”

Brazile is a walking history of the sport himself. He owns a record 10 all-around gold buckles and has earned world titles in each of the events in which he competes: team roping-heading, tie-down roping and steer roping. He is just the second cowboy in ProRodeo history to have qualified for the National Finals in all four roping disciplines, including a 1998 trip to Las Vegas in team roping-heeling.

“It’s a fun rodeo to compete at and a fun rodeo to watch,” Brazile said. “At this rodeo, it’s wild.”

postheadericon Taking the ‘Cowboy Lane’ to the lead

Justin McDaniel

Justin McDaniel

Justin McDaniel left eastern Oklahoma early Thursday afternoon for a leisurely drive to Weatherford, Texas, that should take less than five hours.

It wasn’t long before the 2008 world champion bareback rider realized that he was heading in the right direction, but to the wrong rodeo; he wasn’t going to the Parker County … but, instead, was up Thursday night in Coleman, Texas.

That’s a two-hour time difference. Instead of a comfortable drive that got him to the arena in plenty of time to relax and prepare to make his ride, McDaniel pushed his James Hodge Ford into the “Cowboy Lane” and tried to turn a seven-hour drive into six.

He made it just fine, then spurred Stace Smith Pro Rodeos’ Black Friday for 87 points to take the early lead in the rodeo.

McDaniel is a five-time qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, but he’s got a lot of ground to make up if he’s going to qualify for a sixth time; the Porum, Okla., cowboy is not in the top 50 in the world standings, according to ProRodeo.com.

But he’s got the drive (pun intended) to chase the gold buckle again.

postheadericon ProRodeo being proactive

A fire burns near Black Forest Road earlier this week. So far, 360 homes have been destroyed and 10,000 acres have been burned. (AP PHOTO)

A fire burns near Black Forest Road earlier this week. So far, 360 homes have been destroyed and 10,000 acres have been burned. (AP PHOTO)

I’m quite proud of the PRCA today.

A couple of staff members, Julie Jutten and Kent Sturman, were preparing for an annual trek from Colorado Springs, Colo., to Casper, Wyo., to take in the College National Finals Rodeo. They’re doing more than visiting.

According to Cindy Schonholtz, she and Jutten visited Wednesday about the pending need for hay in the Colorado Springs area for all the horses that had been evacuated from the wildfires in the area. They were proactive and put a PRCA Trailer to use; they are going to retrieve hay from Wyoming, take it back to Colorado Springs and help feed hundreds of displaced horses.

Susan Kanode, the media director for the college finals, jumped on board. She put out news around Casper that anyone wishing to donate could leave hay at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds.

My hope is that the PRCA trailer won’t be enough to haul all the donated hay and that someone is willing to haul the remaining donations as part of their donation to the cause.

As of 11 a.m. Central Time on Thursday, the Black Forest fire has destroyed 360 homes and more than 10,000 acres. Nearly 10,000 people have been forced to flee the area near Colorado Springs.

postheadericon Carr ready to put on a show in Big Spring

Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr's Classic Pro Rodeo  bucking horses are introduced before the fans in Guymon, Okla., earlier this year. The Carr companies' attention to high quality production is a major piece of the puzzle for rodeos.

Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo bucking horses are introduced before the fans in Guymon, Okla., earlier this year. The Carr companies’ attention to high quality production is a major piece of the puzzle for rodeos.

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.”

postheadericon Carr animals a big piece of Crosby rodeo

CROSBY, Texas – Southeast Texas is home to some of the greatest stars in professional rodeo.

That status will grow even stronger during the Crosby Fair and Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 20-Saturday, June 22, at Rock’n C Arena. In addition to the hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls who will take part in the competition, the rodeo also will showcase some of the greatest animal athletes in the game.

The rodeo will be produced by Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, two of the elite livestock contractors in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Heith DeMoss

Heith DeMoss

“Pete has such an array of horse now that no matter where he goes, he will have it to where everybody has a chance to win money,” said saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss, a four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Heflin, La.. “It’s a riding contest instead of a drawing contest, and that’s what Pete’s got in his mind to do. I’m behind him all the way.”

Whether they’re champion buckers like Big Tex, Real Deal, Good Time Charlie, River Boat Annie, Wise Guy or Dirty Jacket, Carr animals have been recognized by the cowboys as the very best in rodeo.

Clint Cannon

Clint Cannon

“I love Pete Carr rodeos, and that’s one of the reasons his name came up first on my list,” said bareback rider Clint Cannon, a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from Waller, Texas. “He always brings good horses to rodeos. He runs a good show.”

Carr productions feature an electric atmosphere, filled with outstanding bucking horses and bulls. The key is that as owner, Pete Carr does what it takes to get the best livestock in the sport – whether purchasing a seasoned veteran or maintaining a formidable breeding program on the ranch in east Texas.

“I’m excited about where we have come and where we are going in regards to our breeding program,” Carr said. “Over the years, I’ve gone out and acquired the best animals I could find because I wanted to produce the best rodeos possible.  Now with the breeding program we able to start working in some of our young up and coming featured animals and pick up some stars along the way. ”

Will Lowe

Will Lowe

The biggest names in the sport have noticed that, too.

“For years, a breeding program was just putting a stud out there in the pasture, then bucking all those colts,” Cannon said. “In the old days, it was a numbers game just like the military. You’d send as many as you could to the beach, then you win the war. In rodeo, you buck all your horses and see what bucks best.

“Now they’re putting attention to detail. They develop them into athletes.”

When Carr colts grow up, they have the genetics and the tender, loving care to become the next generation of superstars.

“Pete sure enough has a bunch of great horses,” said bareback rider Will Lowe, a three-time world champion from Canyon, Texas. “You dang sure know you’d better be ready when you get on one of Pete’s horses.”

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