TEXARKANA, Ark. – There’s a lot to love about Big Tex.
Just ask some of the top cowboys in the game, who will provide grand details about the athletic, 13-year-old bay gelding owned by Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo.
“I’ll take that horse anywhere I’m at,” said saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell, who rode Big Tex for 90 points to win the $50,000 round at RodeoHouston in March. “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.
“That’s one of the coolest horses to have for $50,000. He’s just so big and showy.”
Sundell is a four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier who will make his fifth trip to Las Vegas this coming December. He’s finished among the top five each of the past three seasons, so he knows a thing or two about riding bucking horses well.
“He’s everything you’d want in a bucking horse,” he said.
A lot of cowboys think that way. Now cowboys and fans will get the opportunity to see it first-hand at the Four States Fair and Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18-Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Four States Fair Entertainment Center in Texarkana, Ark.
You see, Big Tex has been featured in saddle bronc riding for three years. Before that, he was considered one of the best horses in bareback riding. In 2010, the top cowboys in the sport voted Big Tex the Bareback Horse of the Year; that year, he guided and Tilden Hooper tied the world record with a 94-point ride in Silver City, N.M. In 2008, he was the Reserve World Champion Bareback Horse. 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.
Now bronc riders are enjoying Big Tex’s bucking prowess.
“He’s always been a great bucking horse,” said Tyler Corrington, the third-ranked bronc rider in the world standings 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.
“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 was pretty excited before the final round at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, and it paid off quite well. Garton, of Kaitaia, New Zealand, who won ProRodeo’s national championship after an 86-point ride on Big Tex.
“That’s the one,” said Garton, now living in Lake Charles, La. “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.”