HEMPSTEAD, Texas – Many of the biggest names in rodeo will converge on Waller County in just a few days to be part of the high-dollar festivities.
It’s what fans have come to expect out of the Waller County Fair and Rodeo, which will conduct its Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association event at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3-Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead.
“You can tell just by looking down the list that these cowboys and cowgirls are looking forward to our fair and rodeo,” said Clint Sciba, the Waller County Fair Board president and chairman of the rodeo committee. “We’re going to have dozens of contestants who are regulars at the National Finals Rodeo, so that means a lot for our town, our communities that make up Waller County.”
This year’s rodeo features 65 National Finals qualifiers, including locals like Clint Cannon of Waller, Texas, and Cory Solomon of Prairie View, Okla. The field also includes seven world champions – like eight-time titlist Fred Whitfield of nearby Hockley, Texas; between them, they account for 34 gold buckles.
“When I saw our entries, I got really excited,” Sciba said, noting that more than 450 of ProRodeo’s stars are scheduled to compete in Hempstead for the three-day rodeo. “I think it says a lot about our community that we’re able to have something like that.”
So how does the Waller County Fair and Rodeo attract top contestants like four-time world champion bareback rider Bobby Mote? It takes a strong financial commitment and powerful bucking stock. The Hempstead rodeo features both.
“We’re very fortunate to have the sponsors that are willing to invest in our fair and rodeo, which, in turn, is investing in this community,” Sciba said. “They’re willing to invest in this because they see the positive impact this plays on our community and what it draws to our community. When you can draw the cowboys the fans really want to see, then you’re rewarding the community, too.”
Cowboys who compete in bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding know they have an opportunity to compete on great animals provided by Pete Carr, owner of Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, the livestock producer in Hempstead. Last year alone, he took 31 animals to the NFR.
In his herd, Carr has featured many of the greatest animals in rodeo, including three that have earned the coveted title of Bareback Horse of the Year: Real Deal, Big Tex and MGM Deuces Night. Though Big Tex is part of bronc riding these days, he’s still one of the elite horses in the game. Carr also has Dirty Jacket, the 2012 runner-up Reserve World Champion Bareback Horse; River Boat Annie, the 2007 Reserve World Champion Bareback Horse; and Grass Dancer, who, with pasture-mate Big Tex, has been part of world record-tying 94-point bareback rides.
“I’ve been around the sport, so I know what kind of horsepower Pete Carr brings to our rodeo every year,” Sciba said. “What has amazed me is how much others are talking about the animals. That, to me, says the most about what Pete Carr brings.”
The cowboys know, and that’s why they’ll be in Hempstead, too.