CROSSETT, Ark. – For many years, the great Jim Shoulders produced the Crossett Riding Club PRCA Rodeo.
It’s something quite special to have one of the greatest legends in the game be such an integral part of a community, and it’s an important piece of lore that should forever be remembered in the event’s history. You see, not only was Shoulders a 16-time world champion cowboy, he also was a stock contractor, best known for owning the great bull Tornado, which had gone unridden until ProRodeo Hall of Famer Freckles Brown scored a ride during the 1967 National Finals Rodeo. Shoulders is, and always will be, a big part of rodeo’s history.
Now, though, Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo is charged with the production of Crossett’s rodeo, set for 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7-Saturday, Aug. 10, at Cap Gates Arena in Crossett. The times may have changed since Shoulders first arrived in town, but the eye for production is a big part of what the Pete Carr’s Classic crew strives for every August.
“This thing is great from start to finish,” said ProRodeo announcer Scott Grover, now in his fifth year calling the action. “It’s just a great rodeo that’s steeped in tradition.”
That’s a great marriage for one of America’s first extreme sports, which has its foundation laid firmly in the livestock industry. More than a century ago, cowboys tested their skills against one another, whether with a rope or on the back of a bucking horse. Over time, the sport has evolved into the spectacle that it is today. It continues to be one of the fastest growing spectator sports in the country, and events like the one in Crossett are a big reason why.
“Our goal is to put on a first-class production that benefits the fans, the committees and the contestants,” said Pete Carr, who owns not only Pete Carr’s Classic but also Carr Pro Rodeo, the largest stock contractor in the world. “We’ve got great crews that work very hard to make that happen.”
That’s what it takes to be successful in today’s world of rodeo. By handling the behind-the-scenes details, Carr crew members allow for the happenings in the arena to dictate the action, and that’s something the fans have come to love.
“The rodeo is put on by the Crossett Riding Club, which is a huge tradition in Crossett and the surrounding areas,” Grover said. “This is like families that have been here for years on years on years.”
It’s one of many traditions for the rodeo, now celebrating its 65th year. Another big one involves the payout of silver dollars to the winners of each event each night of the rodeo. Each year means another dollar added to the kitty, so this year means the winners will receive 65 silver dollars.
“That’s one thing the contestants talk about is winning the silver dollars in Crossett,” Grover said. “Another big thing is that there will be 300 to 400 horses every night in the grand entry, and there are riding clubs from all over that are part of it.
“This rodeo was nominated as the medium size rodeo of the year last year, so they really do work hard at making everything right.”
From a large grand entry to kick start each performance to a rousing conclusion featuring amazing Carr bucking bulls, there’s a lot for fans to experience at the Crossett rodeo.