Archive for October, 2013

postheadericon No. 3 Chet Herren

Chet Herren

Chet Herren

Pawhuska, Okla.

In his career, Chet Herren has accomplished quite a bit. He’s won dozens of championships and has now qualified for the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping eight times since joining the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 2001.

The first time he qualified, he won the 2002 average championship, and he has finished as high as fifth in the final world standings – that coming in 2011 when he won the sixth and seventh go-rounds inside this majestic arena.

He’s never finished with a World Champion’s gold buckle, though he’s in prime position to do that weekend. Heading into the NFSR, Herren has earned $55,560, a few dollars behind his best season ever, which was $55,937 in 2011. He needs a solid showing over the two days of competition, but he’s done the work through the regular season to himself a shot.

That’s all he can ask for.

postheadericon Champions Challenge cancelled

The final leg of the inaugural year of the Wrangler Champions Challenge has been stalled.

ChampionsChallengeLogoHeavy rains in Winnie, Texas, have stopped the event scheduled for Thursday night, along with the Winnie PRCA Rodeo scheduled for Friday and Saturday, according to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Both events will be rescheduled, though no future dates have been confirmed.

This Champions Challenge is one of four scheduled for the 2013 calendar year, and just like the one in Kissimmee, Fla., on Oct. 5, money earned was to count toward the 2014 regular season world standings. The first two Champions Challenge events – at Redding, Calif., in May and at Amarillo, Texas, in September – did not count toward the 2013 world standings.

Nonetheless, organizers quickly realized Nutty Jerry’s new outdoor arena would not be in working condition for this week’s competition. Justin Rumford, who was scheduled to be the clown in Winnie, posted a Facebook video Thursday morning showing the amount of rain; the video reveals the dangerous conditions that were facing contestants and that forecasters were calling for a flash flood warning until 5 p.m. Central, Rumford said.

The decision to cancel/postpone such an event is not an easy one, but it looks to be the wise one.

postheadericon Wise Guy to retire at 2013 NFR

Four-time world champion Bobby Mote rides Wise Guy for the winning 87-point ride during the sixth go-round at the 2011 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Wise Guy, now in his early 20s, will buck for the 16th time at the 2013 NFR, then will retire from competition. (PRCA PRORODEO PHOTO BY MIKE COPEMAN)

Four-time world champion Bobby Mote rides Wise Guy for the winning 87-point ride during the sixth go-round at the 2011 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Wise Guy, now in his early 20s, will buck for the 16th time at the 2013 NFR, then will retire from competition. (PRCA PRORODEO PHOTO BY MIKE COPEMAN)

Since 1998, Wise Guy has been a fixture at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

The great horse will buck for the last time inside the Thomas & Mack Center and will retire back to his rightful home in east Texas on a pasture just outside Waskom.

“We get to retire him at the NFR, then he’s going to live on the ranch until he dies,” said Lovelace, who purchased the horse as a colt.

Scotty Lovelace

Scotty Lovelace

Now he’s all grown and has been one of the most decorated bucking horses in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. The Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo bronc has drawn grand acclaim over the course of his storied career, and those kudos come from the cowboys that have ridden him. He was selected as the Reserve World Champion Bareback Horse, the top bareback horse at the NFR and has been named the Texas Circuit Bareback Horse of the Year.

At the NFR alone, cowboys have won more than $200,000 on the bay, now in his early 20s. Seven times he’s led cowboys to go-round victories in Las Vegas, most recently in 2011 when four-time world champion Bobby Mote posted an 87-point ride to win the sixth round. It’s because of that legacy that Wise Guy has been selected as one of the top 100 horses that will be in Las Vegas for those marvelous 10 days in December.

“We’re doing it for that horse,” said Heath Ford, a three-time NFR qualifier who serves as the bareback riding representative in the PRCA. “We all decided that the horse deserved to buck one more time at the Thomas & Mack, and that every guy still thinks they can win the round on him. That’s why he’s going.”

That’s a brilliant message the cowboys are sending to one of the top horses in the game. Those who have ridden the great gelding over the years realize there always has been something special about Wise Guy.

Will Lowe

Will Lowe

“He was a known horse when I came around,” said Will Lowe, a three-time world champion bareback rider from Canyon, Texas. “I really loved that horse. I made my first short round at San Antonio, and I had him in the short round. That dang sure paid some bills for us, especially since I was a college kid.

“I’ve always loved that horse. I’ve drawn him quite a few times, and I’ve won money almost every time. He got my career started, and he’s been solid every year.”

And he’s been a standout inside the Thomas & Mack Center. Lowe’s traveling partner, Wes Stevenson, has been the most profitable on Wise Guy in Las Vegas, earning wins both times he’s been matched with him: They were 89 points to win the first round in 2006, then 88.5 to win the sixth round in 2010. With those two rides alone, Stevenson earned $33,534.

Wise Guy has bucked two times nearly every year he’s performed at the NFR, and he’s been in the money more often than not. In fact, of the 27 times he’s bucked in Vegas, cowboys found the pay window 20 times. His best years came in 2004 and 2006, when he led cowboys to the round wins both times he bucked – in 2004, Kelly Timberman (the eventual world champion) was 87 points to win the first round, while Cimarron Gerke was 90.5 to win the sixth round; in 2006, Stevenson won the opening round, while Royce Ford was 87.5 to win the sixth.

That’s pretty good for a horse that was acquired as a colt in a herd of 18 horses, purchased by Lovelace, Gerald Smith and Sammy Andrews. Each person got six horses out of the load.

“We basically gate-cut them, and the good Lord grabbed my hand and said, ‘This one’s for you,’ ” Lovelace said. “The first time I bucked him, I could tell there was some potential there. We bucked him the next summer a little bit, and you could see Wise Guy was starting to be something special.”

That magical move worked out well for the cowboys that ride bucking horses for a living.

Lan LaJeunesse

Lan LaJeunesse

“That horse was just special because he bucked all the time,” said Lan LaJunesse, a two-time world champion bareback rider from Morgan, Utah. “He was something that not everybody could ride, but anybody who could ride him could win first on him. He was just that kind of a horse. He could throw some guys off, and he could raise hell with some guys.

“For the most part, if the top hands drew him, they won money on him. I had to have won $25,000-plus on that horse. I had to have had him four or five times. That horse was big time.”

He still is, which reflects the care he receives in east Texas.

“I always put him in places where he had good guys getting on him,” said Lovelace, who rode bareback horses before getting into the stock contracting game. “He’s not real big – about 1,100 pounds – but he needs good guys to ride him. If you ride square, he’ll give you his all.

“He’s not a strong horse, but a timing horse. He leaps way in the air with a late kick. They tell me that he really drops out of the air.”

Since half the score in a ride comes from the horse, it’s important for cowboys to get on something they know will give them the opportunity to win money.

“The first time I saw that horse, Bruce Ford had him at Houston and won a round on him,” three-time NFR qualifier Kelly Wardell said of Ford, a five-time world champion bareback rider. “That was the last year Bruce went to the finals, so Wise Guy’s been around a long time.

“If he had a bad trip, you could still count on him to do well at the finals. If he had 10 bad trips in a year, once he got to Vegas, he was going to be great. He’s one of those horses that could always thrive under pressure.”

That is another key reason Wise Guy will return to the Nevada desert in December for his 16th consecutive NFR.

“I’m glad the bareback riders are letting him go out with dignity,” Lovelace said. “I’m going to feed that old man until he can’t get around. I want him to retire while he’s still at the top of the game.

“He’s been a blessing to the Lovelace family: me, my wife, my daughter and my mother. From little rodeos to the big rodeos, he carried all the guys to the pay window.”

In the 20 times he helped cowboys cash-in at the Thomas & Mack Center, they averaged nearly $10,500. That’s awfully solid.

“Wise Guy is one of those horses that was just a step above,” said LaJeunesse, who retired from competition nine seasons ago. “He had just enough extra and just enough try. He had enough drop, but he was so showey that if you did your thing right, you’d be first, second or third.”

Now the top 15 cowboys in the world hope he does so at this year’s NFR.

postheadericon No. 4 Cody Lee

Cody Lee

Cody Lee

Gatesville, Texas

Cody Lee knows just how tough the competition is at the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping. Last November, the Texas cowboy walked into the Lazy E the No. 1 cowboy. He left after two days of competition fourth in the final world standings, having earned just $4,654 in the 10-round event.

As frustrating as those experiences are, they also are wonderful learning tools. Now Lee has a hunger for that gold buckle like never before. As proof, just take a look at his place in the world standings. He sits third with $54,593 pocketed during the 12-month season that began in October 2012.

He won titles in the Texas communities of Hempstead and Rosenberg the first weekend of the 2013 season, the followed that with championships in Clovis, N.M.; Billings, Mont.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Odessa, Texas; and Dalhart, Texas.

If that fickle mistress, redemption, has any say, look for Lee to make a major move inside the Lazy E. He’s due.

postheadericon Carr stands by Stampede mission

ALLEN, Texas – For Pete Carr, there’s a special place in his heart for the Tom Thumb Texas Stampede.

It boasts of a tradition of excellence and grand entertainment. Most importantly, it serves as a means to raise money for children in north Texas. That’s why Carr is intimately involved with the event, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, and noon and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Allen Events Center.

Pete Carr

Pete Carr

“I wanted to be involved in this because north Texas is home to me and our companies, and I’m passionate about the mission giving back to the kids,” said Carr, owner of Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo and Carr Pro Rodeo, which, combined, makes up the largest stock contracting firm in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

“We’ve been involved in the Texas Stampede for a long time as a livestock firm, but this charity is close to my heart and means a lot to me. I was honored when they ask me to serve on the executive board of directors.”

TexasStampedeLogoFunds raised at the Tom Thumb Texas Stampede go to several entities, like Camp John Marc, which boasts of Special Camps for Special Kids, serving children with chronic illnesses and major physical disabilities and the families of those children; and ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship, which provides adults and children with disabilities the opportunity to move beyond their boundaries through the healing power of the horse. Those are just two of many organizations touched by the folks who attend the stampede.

“Along with our rodeo, we’re really getting back to our mission,” said Zandy Carnes, the stampede’s executive director. “Not only are we providing an event that’s going to entertain the crowd with the performance and the high caliber of contestants, but it also brings back the focus of why we do this, and that’s the kids.

“We’re spreading out to the various children’s charities that encompass a wide group of people.”

For Carnes and others associated with the Tom Thumb Texas Stampede, it’s important that Carr is so involved.

“I feel we needed somebody who has rodeo in his background, not only someone who is a businessman,” she said. “Pete encompasses all of those qualities. He comes in here with the experience in knowing the industry.

“He brings an element into it that some people haven’t. He’s savvy about getting the word out.”

It helps, too, that Carr’s name as a stock contractor is quite appealing to the cowboys who make their living riding bucking beasts.

“I like a good rodeo with good production, because it gets your motor going and you seem to ride better,” said Bradley Harter, an eight-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.”

That’s one reason why Carr will be in Allen for the Tom Thumb Texas Stampede. His passion for helping kids is another.

postheadericon No. 5 Vin Fisher Jr.

Vin Fisher Jr.

Vin Fisher Jr.

Andrews, Texas

Vin Fisher is a roping machine from a roping family. Now a 10-time qualifier to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, the West Texas cowboy again is within reach of the coveted, yet elusive, World Championship.

Fisher, who is joined in the field by his father, Dan, and little brother, J. Tom, is fifth in the world standings. Yet, he knows the truth: Vin needs an outstanding NFSR if he’s going to walk away from the Lazy E with the gold buckle.

Since his first qualification in 2002, Vin Fisher has missed the finale just twice in his career. That’s just further proof of his excellence in the arena. Fisher has quite a history of excellence, too. Over the course of his 13-year career, he has laid claim to titles at some of the most prestigious and historic rodeos in the land.

Now he’d like to run the gamut over the two-day championship. He’d like numerous round wins and an average championship, which will give him a good shot at the gold buckle. Now you get to watch him chase that dream.

postheadericon McCoy bull is among the best

ProductionSalePHOTO

PLAYGUN FINISHES ABBI FUTURITY SEASON AS NO. 4 IN THE WORLD

Before Cord McCoy ever bucked calf with brand No. 117, he knew there was something special about the young white bull.

“You could just see it in him,” said McCoy, who runs the operation with his wife, Sara. “His sire is Rip Cord, the top producer of our herd. His momma is also a great producer, so we’re really excited for him.”

This past week while at the American Bucking Bull Inc. World Finals in Las Vegas, in conjunction with the Professional Bull Riders World finals, 2-year-old Playgun finished No. 4 in the final world standings.

“He finished second in the first round of the futurity with an 89.5,” McCoy said. “He was the only bull that could knock down the No. 1 bull in the world. I’m pretty pleased with how well he’s done this year.”

Pieper Ranch's Playgun is a 22-year-old gray stallion and serves as the namesake for the 2-year-old rising star in the bucking bull business owned by McCoy Ranch. The bull Playgun will be part of McCoy Ranch's Production Sale, which takes place Tuesday-Wednesday on http://TheBreedersConnection.com.

Pieper Ranch’s Playgun is a 22-year-old gray stallion and serves as the namesake for the 2-year-old rising star in the bucking bull business owned by McCoy Ranch. The bull Playgun will be part of McCoy Ranch’s Production Sale, which takes place Tuesday-Wednesday on http://TheBreedersConnection.com.

There is a lot to be proud of for the family. The bull was just a year old when McCoy visited Pieper Ranch in Marietta, Okla., for an episode of his show, “The Ride with Cord McCoy,” which airs at noon and 10 p.m. Mondays on RDF-TV. It was during the filming that McCoy visited with Dick Pieper about honoring the Pieper’s renowned horse, Playgun, a 22-year-old gray stallion that has earned more than $185,000 in competition and whose offspring have earned more than $8 million.

“I’d always known about the horse Playgun, so I asked Dick if I could name a bull to honor his Playgun,” McCoy said.

It has worked out well.

“I thought it was quite an honor,” Pieper said. “Cord’s a very good friend of mine, and he knows the bucking bull business, so if he wanted to name one after Playgun, then I knew that bull must be pretty good.

“As time went on, Cord kept me informed every time they bucked him and what a nice bull he was. He kept me informed all the time they were in Vegas on how he was doing. I felt like I was involved in the thing.”

Like the original Playgun, the calf is quite athletic, and the color of his coat is nice tie-in to the stud.

“He’s very quiet, and he’s kind of a people horse,” Pieper said. “He enjoys being around people. He’s not like a lot of studs that want to bit you or kick you like a lot of studs. That’s the kind of yours you should be breeding, because those traits are inherited like athletic ability.”

McCoy’s Playgun proved his athleticism in Las Vegas for the world to see. He will be part of the McCoy Ranch’s 2013 Production Sale, which takes place Tuesday, Oct. 29-Wednesday, Oct. 30, on The Breeders Connection. In fact, Playgun will be Lot 17, which will be up for sale Wednesday. The bull is one of numerous great animals that will be part of the online sale.

“This will be my second year that I’ve done Cord’s sale,” said Nate Morrison, who runs The Breeders Connection. “He’s got three lots that really stand out to me, with one being a pregnant recip calf that has a bull calf inside her that is sired by Shepherd Hills Tested, the PRCA’s Bull of the Year and the PBR’s Reserve World Champion Bull of the Year.

“The mother to that calf is Playgun’s mother. We also have a pregnant recip cow that has a bull sired by Asteroid, which was the 2012 PBR Bull of the Year.”

The preview show aired as the Oct. 28 episode of “The Ride,” which showed what is available during the two-day sale. For more information, anyone interested can view HERE.

“I’m really excited about it because Cord has been so outstanding at spreading the word,” Morrison said. “I wish all my cosigners could promote it like Cord does.”

Of course, it helps that McCoy has so much that is available.  Whether it’s a calf with world champion genetics still growing in a womb or a 2-year-old phenom like Playgun, McCoy knows there are plenty of lots that are attractive to potential buyers.

“Playgun definitely shocked the world,” McCoy said of the bull’s performance in Las Vegas last week. “To see a bull spin that fast and jump that high just shows he’s an amazing athlete.”

postheadericon No. 6 J. Tom Fisher

J. Tom Fisher

J. Tom Fisher

Andrews, Texas

It’s been three years since J. Tom Fisher backed into the roping box at the Clem McSpadden National Finals Rodeo. We’re glad he’s back.

And just like that magical two days in November 2010, he returns to this arena with his father, Dan, and older brother, Vin Jr. This season, though, he’s well ahead of the game, entering the championship No. 6 in the world standings with $44,028 in 2013 earnings. That’s solid, but so is this: not only is he roping with his family, but all are in the top 10.

J. Tom earned his way with four rodeo titles, winning in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho; Weatherford, Texas; Coleman, Texas; and Ponca City, Okla. Those victories helped him secure his place here. That’s a great thing, considering he’s been on the verge each of the past two seasons: Fisher finished 17th in 2011 and 22nd a season ago.

Now J. Tom Fisher is in his rightful place. Expect him to be back for years to come.

postheadericon No. 7 JoJo LeMond

JoJo LeMond

JoJo LeMond

Andrews, Texas

This isn’t JoJo LeMond’s first shot at competing in a championship at the Lazy E Arena. No, LeMond has become a regular at the annual Timed Event Championship, and he’s proven to be quite handy in the five disciplines that make up the competition.

A three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier in team roping-heading, LeMond has taken to steer roping quite well, earning his first qualification to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Rodeo. He got a big start in February by sharing the event championship in San Antonio; the followed that with a win in Fort Smith, Ark.

While those victories added up to about $19,000 of his earnings, he secured his spot in this weekend’s field by catching plenty of checks along the way. In fact, most of his earnings came at rodeos he didn’t win, which explains why he’s ranked among the top 10 in the game.

This may be the first NFSR qualification for LeMond, but it’d be a good bet that 2013 isn’t his last.

postheadericon 27 Carr animals going to NFR

Carr Pro Rodeo's Dirty Jacket and Steven Peebles match moves during the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The powerful gelding will be one of 27 bucking horses and bulls from Carr firms that will be featured at this year's NFR, the most of any one contractor in the modern era. (DAN HUBBEL PHOTO)

Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket and Steven Peebles match moves during the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The powerful gelding will be one of 27 bucking horses and bulls from Carr firms that will be featured at this year’s NFR, the most of any one contractor in the modern era. (DAN HUBBEL PHOTO)

DALLAS – When the golden gates open during the 10 rounds at this year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the chances are pretty good the animal bursting out of the chutes will have a Carr brand on them.

Dallas-based stock contractor Pete Carr, owner of Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, will feature 27 animals at the 2013 NFR, a distinction selected by the cowboys that will ride them inside the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The top 15 bareback riders, saddle bronc riders and bull riders selected the 300 best animals to perform with them, and they have named Carr animals as the cream of the crop.

No company has taken that many bucking animals to the NFR in the modern era of rodeo. With almost 90 producers in North America, the Carr firms have the most and nearly 10 percent of the livestock at the NFR.

“For any one stock contractor to take almost 10 percent of the stock to the NFR is incredible,” Rorey Lemmel said. “In today’s age, that’s unheard of. The funny thing is that he’s got a lot more great animals that aren’t going that could go.

Pete Carr

Pete Carr

“The great thing about Pete is that he keeps reinvesting in the company, which works out for everybody. It helps out the cowboys the most, then that’s passed down to the committees; I think the real winners are the fans, because you get to see the National Finals cowboy come to your rodeo to get on that kind of stock.”

Carr has been nominated as the 2013 Stock Contractor of the Year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, which recognizes the best in the business during the annual awards ceremony that will take place Wednesday, Dec. 4, in Las Vegas, the night before the start of the NFR. When the action commences that Thursday night, the work begins in earnest for the top animals in the game.

“We’ve had a phenomenal year, and it means a lot to me that we’ve got so many animals that have been selected to the NFR,” Carr said. “We work really hard all year to produce the rodeos and feature the stock that will draw the top cowboys, so it’s great that they want to get on these horses and bulls when they get to the finals.”

Carr will have 12 bareback horses, five saddle broncs and 10 bulls, which is proof of the all-around talent that spends most of its time on lush grassland on Carr’s ranch near Athens, Texas.

Heath Ford

Heath Ford

“It shows you Pete is somebody that puts a lot of work into getting the best horses around,” said Heath Ford, the bareback riding representative in the PRCA. “They’ve not only got the best horses, but they put them out there for us to see. He still has a lot of great horses that weren’t selected this year, but if you care about it, you know you’re going to continue to build that program.

“We all know Pete is going to continue to build that. We all have a lot of respect for him.”

Over the last few weeks, Ford has worked with the other top bareback riders to select the 100 horses for the NFR, and no other stock contractor in the game has more bareback horses or bulls than Carr.

“Pete has put together a good set of bulls,” said J.W. Harris, the No. 1 bull rider in the world standings and a three-time world champion from Mullin, Texas. “I think he wants to show that he’s got great bulls to go with his great horses.

J.W. Harris

J.W. Harris

“You know when you go to his rodeo’s you’re going to get on a good one. I like going to Pete’s rodeos because he’s got good people who work for him, but having all those good animals sure makes it easier for us to go to. Pete Carr’s come a long ways in just a few years.”

Yes, he has, acquiring Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo earlier this year. That, combined with Carr Pro Rodeo, makes Carr the largest stock contractor in the PRCA. At this year’s NFR, he will have more stock than any other contractor that will be at ProRodeo’s grand finale.

“When you’re talking about people like Pete Carr, there’s no way they are getting as much back out of it as they put into it,” Lemmel said. “They’re truly trying to make the sport that much better.”

As a cowboy, Lemmel knows. He’s been around rodeo all his life, and he has witnessed many of the greatest pieces of the game’s history.

“When you look at the fact that there are around 80 stock contractors and one firm is taking that many head to the National Finals, it is pretty dang impressive,” he said. “Ultimately, a cowboy’s window is so small that they have to be greedy. They have to take the best livestock to the National Finals. They might make the NFR once or twice, maybe five times, but it’s very rare to have a guy like Billy Etbauer and Tommy Reeves that have gone 20 times.

“They want the chance to get on the best livestock at the NFR and make the most out of that opportunity. That’s why the cream rises to the top.”

Now the NFR will feature ProRodeo’s cream of the crop, which includes 27 Carr bucking beasts. They’ll help electrify the City of Lights.

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