Archive for June, 2015

postheadericon Big Tex returns to bareback riding

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 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. The gelding returns to bareback riding this week in Weatherford, Texas. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

WEATHERFORD, Texas – It’s been four years since Big Tex has bucked at a rodeo in bareback riding.

The Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo horse returns to his original discipline this week during the Parker County Frontier Days and PRCA Rodeo, set for 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 10-Saturday, June 13, at the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Arena.

Big Tex is a 15-year-old bay gelding sired by the great Night Jacket. In 2010, he was the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Bareback Horse of the Year, and he’s been selected to perform at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo each of the past nine years; his last three have come in saddle bronc riding.

He is one of many top Carr animals that will buck in Weatherford this week, matched with one of the top young bareback riders in the game in Chad Rutherford of Itasca, Texas, a former College National Finals Rodeo qualifier.

Luke Creasy

Luke Creasy

There are some incredible match-ups scheduled for the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Arena, including several elite cowboys matched with some of the best animals in the game. Luke Creasy, the No. 6 bareback rider in the standings, will ride Night Bells, an 11-year-old gelding that has bucked at the NFR five times.

Other bareback riding match-ups include Yvan Jayne, the fourth-ranked bareback rider, on Utopia; Jared Smith, a two-time NFR qualifier, on Good Time Charlie; Taylor Price on Alberta Child; and Winn Ratliff, a two-time NFR qualifier, on Dirty Jacket, the reigning Horse of the Year.

In saddle bronc riding, Wade Sundell, a six-time NFR qualifier, will try his hand on Manhatten Moon, a young horse on which Sundell won the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo with a 91-point ride. Other key rides will be Travis Sheets on Gold Coast, Doug Aldridge on Spur Strap, Cort Scheer on Cowboy Cowtown and Bradley Harter on Cool Runnings.

Two-time NFR bull riding qualifier Elliot Jacoby will be matched with Footloose, while four-time qualifier Tate Stratton will battle Missing Parts and Jacob O’Mara will try his hand on Poker Face, the reserve runner-up bull of the year in 2014.

The Weatherford rodeo has a grand history in the game, and the match-ups have set a strong standard for this year’s event to be one of the best ever.

postheadericon Top cowboys heading to Crosby

CROSBY, Texas – There’s a reason why many of the top cowboys in the game have circled the dates on the calendar for the Crosby Fair and Rodeo.

Clint Cannon

Clint Cannon

They know they’ll get the best bucking horses and bulls from Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, the firm that produces the annual event set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday at Rock’n C Arena.

“Pete Carr has the bucking horses and bulls that are unreal,” said bareback rider Clint Cannon, a four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Waller, Texas. “When I think about Pete Carr, I think about 90-point rides, rock ’n’ roll music and fans loving it.”

Cannon will be one of several NFR qualifiers scheduled to compete in Crosby. It’s one of the attractive features the county has when the fair and rodeo takes place each June.

Cody Teel

Cody Teel

This year’s event also will feature Cody Teel, the 2012 world champion bull rider from Kountze, Texas, and a three-time NFR qualifier. It’s more than a close drive from home for Teel; he understands the drawing power the Carr firm has for cowboys.

“He’s got the best bull pen going,” Teel said of Carr. “He’s got my vote for stock contractor of the year. He really tries to put together a good set of bulls, and it shows. There wasn’t one bull you didn’t want to get on. He gives a guy every opportunity to win.

“I was more anxious for his rodeos this year because of his bulls. You know you’re going to draw pretty good. It showed this year. All his rodeos had a lot of big scores, which shows how good the bulls really are. He definitely has the deepest set of bulls in rodeo.”

Heith DeMoss

Heith DeMoss

Pete Carr is a two-time nominee for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Stock Contractor of the Year. Each of the past two seasons, 27 Carr animals were selected to buck at the NFR, an event record for the number of animals from one contractor.

That kind of firepower makes for an amazing show for rodeo-goers. Of course, having the top stars in town makes a big difference.

“Pete’s got an eye for horses, and he’s surrounded himself with people who know what they’re talking about,” said saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss, a six-time NFR from Heflin, La. “You want to go to Pete’s rodeos, because you’re going to get on something.”

The key for any competitor is having a chance to win any time they are in the arena. Cowboys know that will be possible in Crosby.

postheadericon Dirty Jacket going back to business

WEATHERFORD, Texas – Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket is the best bucking horse in the business.

The 11-year-old bay gelding is the 2014 Bareback Horse of the Year and has been one of the top three horses in the year-end voting by members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association each of the past three seasons.

Winn Ratliff

Winn Ratliff

He returns to work in the arena this week at the Parker County Frontier Days and PRCA Rodeo, set for 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 10-Saturday, June 13, at the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Arena. He is matched with Winn Ratliff, a two-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Leesville, La.

At the 2014 NFR in December, the athletic horse proved the accolades, guiding cowboys to go-round victories both times he bucked inside the Thomas & Mack Center: Richmond Champion of The Woodlands, Texas, won the fifth round, while Caleb Bennett of Tremonton, Utah, claimed the 10th-round title.

“There’s not another horse like him,” said Champion, who also won the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days title after a 91-point ride in July. “Dirty Jacket might’ve even looked better than he did that day in Cheyenne.”

The fifth and 10th rounds featured the greatest bucking horses in rodeo, an elite list of phenomenal athletes. Even then, Dirty Jacket stood out.

Richmond Champion

Richmond Champion

“There wasn’t a bad horse in the pen, but to have Dirty Jacket again at the NFR and to win the round was awesome,” Champion said. “There’s not another night that you get to walk down the alley with that caliber of horse standing all next to each other.

“That same feeling runs in all of us to see that kind of horse lined up for us, just standing outside the Thomas & Mack. That’s what dreams are made of in this sport.”

It’s the same feeling Bennett had when he prepared for the final night of the competition. It had been a rough week for the Utah cowboy, who had placed in just one round prior to the 10th night.

“I couldn’t have been more blessed and ask for anything more than to end it the way I did on Dirty Jacket,” he said. “It’s a phenomenal horse and definitely one of the ones you want to have in this round.”

Caleb Bennett

Caleb Bennett

The powerful gelding is one of four Pete Carr horses that have received the top honor in bareback riding, joining pasture-mates like Real Deal, Big Tex and MGM Deuces Night. In 2013, when Dirty Jacket was named Reserve World Champion Bareback Horse, he helped cowboys to at least a share of the title 12 of 13 times he performed during the regular season. In 2014, his wins were just as miraculous.

Champion’s 91 in Cheyenne was one of two of the highest marked rides of the campaign. The other was by Steven Dent, who rode Dirty Jacket for a matching 91 on the final weekend of the regular season at the Cowboy Capital of the World Rodeo in Stephenville, Texas, in September.

“Any time you can draw one that everybody wants, you’re happy with it whether you’re in that situation or it’s a regular-season rodeo,” said Dent, a seven-time NFR qualifier from Mullen, Neb. “You don’t have the opportunity to get on a horse that you can be that many points on and that’s that fun to get on very often in your life, much less the last week of the year when you’re trying to make the NFR.

“That is a really great horse. There are not very many of them like him that do it every time, that are that electric, jump that high in the air and that you can be that many points on.”

The horse has been selected to buck at the NFR each of the past seven seasons. Earlier this year, Jessy Davis scored 93 points during the Cinch Shootout at the San Angelo Stock Show Rodeo.

“He has a huge frame, but he’s so athletic from nose to tail,” Champion said of the horse. “He just looks like an athlete. If you could pick a horse out of a herd that could jump nine feet in the air, he’s that horse. If you’re going to win a big rodeo, that’s the horse you want.”

Dirty Jacket is powerful, athletic and consistent, but what makes him a proven winner year after year is in the effort he puts forward every trip. He has the heart of a champion.

postheadericon Top stock ready for Silver City

SILVER CITY, N.M. — A special section of bull riding will kick start the Wild Wild West Pro Rodeo at 8 tonight.

PeteCarrsClassicLogoThe event will include many of the top bull riders in the game matched against some of the top bulls from stock contractor Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo. The match-ups are set by random draw, and there are some interesting combinations for the four days of rodeo action.

Tim Bingham, a 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Honeyville, Utah, will test his talents on Footloose, another NFR athlete. Other match-ups for tonight are Brant Atwood-Rattler, Guthrie Murray-Rio Bravo, Cody Dollins-Morning After and Jacob Marcell-Missing Parts.

The top bulls also will buck throughout the weekend. That means several NFR animals will be matched with other top bull riders as the rodeo continues through Saturday: Cody Teel-Morning After and Elliot Jacoby-Mind Games.

postheadericon Cooper loves New Mexico home

When Jake Cooper isn’t roping around his Stephenville, Texas, place, he can be found on the ProRodeo trail as one of the elite team ropers in the game.

But that’s not necessarily his home.

“Monument (N.M.) will always be my home and my hometown,” said Cooper, one of three children born to Jimmie and Shryl Cooper. “We live in Stephenville because it’s more central for rodeos, and I’d say half the top 15 guys live around there.

“If you want to be the best, you have to be around the best.”

Jake Cooper

Jake Cooper

Both are certainly the case. This season, Cooper is among the top five headers in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings, competing primarily with heeler Tyler McKnight of Wells, Texas. It’s a return to the top of the game for Cooper, who last qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2007 while competing with his twin brother, Jim Ross.

“It feels great to be in a position like this,” said Jake Cooper, one of seven cowboys that are part of the Tate Branch Auto Group “Riding for the Brand” team. “I haven’t roped good the last few years, and I had some struggles with some horses. It’s really early in the season to get too excited, but I feel great about the start and feel great about the year.”

He should. His hope is to stay among the top 15 through the rest of the regular season and earn a spot in the NFR field. After eight years away from ProRodeo’s grand finale, he would welcome the change.

Of course, it helps to have sponsorship arrangements like he has with Tate Branch Auto Group, which has southeastern New Mexico dealerships in Carlsbad, Artesia and Hobbs.

“It makes it so much easier on us out here on the road with help like that,” said Cooper, who joins Jim Ross; tie-down roping brothers Clif and Clint Cooper and their legendary father, Roy Cooper; steer roper Marty Jones; and two-time world champion saddle bronc rider Taos Muncy. “I got to know Tate a little bit because Jim’s had the relationship for a couple of years. It’s a great opportunity for us to be involved with a guy like Tate, who supports rodeo and what we do.

“Not only does it make the financial burden less, but having a guy that’s easy to talk to and is a spiritual guy like my dad is great, too. This really has the feeling of family.”

Branch takes a familial approach to the arrangements with the cowboys, all of whom have New Mexico ties. Jake Cooper, Jim Ross Cooper, Clint Cooper, Roy Cooper and Jones have specific ties to Lea County in the state’s most southeastern corner, while Muncy is from Corona; Clif Cooper is the lone Texas-raised cowboy in the bunch, but he has other ties to Lea County through Roy’s family.

“Having grown up around rodeo, I know what kind of sacrifices these guys make to compete at the top level,” said Joby Houghtaling, the Tate Branch Auto Group’s director of operations. “We’re very excited to support these guys, the sport of rodeo and the lifestyle they live. We want them to know they’re part of our family.”

That seems to be a common theme for many of the “Riding for the Brand” cowboys, but it’s especially true for Jake Cooper. Less than a decade ago, he and Jim Ross became the first set of twins to compete together in team roping at the NFR. Of course, they’re just carrying on a heritage passed down from their father, 1980 all-around world champion Jimmie Cooper, a ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductee.

“This is a lifestyle for me,” Jake Cooper said. “Guys ask me all the time how long I’m going to do this. This is all I’ve ever done. Since I was 12 years old, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s a way of life for me, not really a job.

“I’m 30 now. I’ve grown up. Dad told me it was a hard life out here. You’ve got to love it, and I do. He used to tell me when I was a kid that he loved to rope with me.”

In early May, Jake Cooper returned to Monument and spent a week with his family. He and his dad roped together much of that time.

“There’s nothing that makes me happier than roping with him and spending time with him,” Jake Cooper said. “It’s great that he can still compete and do stuff along with us.”

As he prepares for the busy summer run, Jake Cooper knows the struggles that come with competing in rodeo full time. Only the top teams at each rodeo will earn a check, so it’s vital that he and McKnight battle through any adversity and excel at the right times if he plans to return to the NFR in 2015.

If he qualifies for Las Vegas in December, he will rope for the largest purse in the history of the sport’s championship event, with go-round winners earning more than $26,000 each night for 10 star-filled days in the Nevada desert. Just making it to Sin City would put him in position to claim that elusive, yet coveted world championship.

“It’s a little early to be talking about a gold buckle,” he said. “That’s been my goal since I was a kid. That’s every guy’s goal, especially growing up with my dad having one. It’s almost like that World Series ring; it’s that instant respect you get from every rodeo cowboy.

“It’s going to take a lot more hard work. Hopefully if all the right things fall in place, we’ll get to do it.”

postheadericon San Angelo Rodeo hires Carr firm

SAN ANGELO, Texas – “Rodeo Town” is living up to its Texas roots in a bigger way.

The San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo Association has hired Texas-based Pete Carr Pro Rodeo as its stock contractor for the February 2016 event.

“The rodeo committee has voted to move forward with Pete Carr,” said Justin Jonas, the executive director for the association. “Pete Carr has shown us the commitment and concern imperative to putting on a premier event, as San Angelo has grown accustomed to over the past 84 years.”

SanAngelo-LogoCarr has been recognized as one of the top producers in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, having received multiple nominations for Stock Contractor of the Year. Each of the past two season, the Dallas-based firm has had more animals selected to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo than any other contracting company in the PRCA.

“The San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo has a great tradition, and we’re excited to be part of such a classic event in our sport’s history,” Carr said. “We’ve been fortunate to be part of this exciting rodeo over the last couple of years. It’s an exciting time for me and our company.”

One of the most original and prestigious rodeos in Texas will kick off its 12 performances on February 5th, 2016. Over the years, the San Angelo Rodeo has grown from 8 to 10 and now has a dozen performances. “Rodeo Town” celebrates the rodeo’s heritage with more than 97 percent of the seats sold out each year

From a West Texas town of only 110,000 people, this caliber of rodeo and livestock show is a combination of excitement and entertainment that is unheard of anywhere else in the event community.

“They definitely love their rodeo in San Angelo,” said Carr, the 2014 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s Stock Contractor of the Year. “The association does a great job of putting on a great event for the fans out there.”

The rodeo committee will work closely with Carr and his team on producing the event, which is scheduled for February 5-20 at Foster Communications Coliseum. This past February, reigning PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year Dirty Jacket guided NFR qualifier Jessy Davis to a 93-point ride to win the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo Cinch Shoot-Out.

Dirty Jacket is just one of four Carr horses to be named the world champion bareback horse, joining MGM Deuces Night, Big Tex and Real Deal. The 11-year-old bay gelding is one of 27 Carr animals selected to buck at the finals in 2013 and ’14, a record number of animals coming from one contracting company.

That kind of talent combined with the historic San Angelo Rodeo should be the perfect mix.

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