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postheadericon Mote leads list of elite cowboys

GUTHRIE, Okla. – Bobby Mote is one of the most decorated bareback riders in ProRodeo history.

Bobby Mote

Bobby Mote

The Oregon cowboy owns four world championships and 13 straight qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He also has found competing in central Oklahoma to his liking. You see, Mote has won two of the last three bareback riding national championships right here in the Sooner State.

He returns to the action at this year’s Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, scheduled for 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10; 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 11; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12. Mote, who represents the Columbia River Circuit, joins 23 other regional champions that have qualified to compete at ProRodeo’s National Championship, the home of year-end and circuit finals champions from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s 12 circuits.

That field includes a who’s who of bareback riding greats, including other NFR qualifiers Joe Gunderson, Austin Foss, Casey Colletti, Wes Stevenson and Caleb Bennett. They have a truckload of talent to the Lazy E, which for 30 years has been one of the most prestigious arenas in the sport.

Combined, those cowboys represent nearly 30 NFR qualifications. That’s proof of the shear talent that’s coming to one of the most prestigious rodeos in the sport’s history.

postheadericon Carr animals excel in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO – Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Big Tex has earned a lot of accolades in his years as one of the best bucking horses in professional rodeo.

Wade Sundell

Wade Sundell

He added another this weekend, being named the top saddle bronc at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, the reigning Indoor Rodeo of the Year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. On Saturday night, Big Tex guided Wade Sundell to the bronc riding title as the two matched moves for 90 points, the highest score posted in the championship round.

“It’s quite an honor for us and for Big Tex,” said Pete Carr, owner of the Dallas-based livestock firm. “That award usually goes to a horse that has bucked more than once in San Antonio, so for Big Tex to get that award says a lot about how well he performed.”

Cort Scheer

Cort Scheer

Yes, it was. It marked the second straight year that Big Tex has guided a cowboy to the San Antonio championship – Tyler Corrington won the title in 2013. It also marked the second straight year that Sundell has scored big points on the 14-year-old bay gelding; they matched moves for 91 points last spring as the Iowa cowboy won the title in Houston.

But Big Tex wasn’t the only Carr bronc to have a strong Saturday night in the Alamo City. Spur Strap guided Cort Scheer to 87 points in the final round; Scheer finished in a tie for third place.

In bareback riding, Scarlett’s Web matched moves with Jake Vold and Fancy Free danced with three-time reigning world champion Kaycee Feild for 88 points to finish in a three-way tie with Steven Peebles for the short-round title. Tilden Hooper placed in a tie for fourth place with an 84-point ride on Good Time Charlie.

On Friday night, Carr animals were big-time performers during the final semifinals round of the tournament-style rodeo. Former bareback riding world champion Justin McDaniel won the round in with an 85-point ride on Night Bells, while two-time world titlist Cody Wright posted an 86 on Sweet Maria.

“It was an excellent weekend for us,” Carr said. “On Saturday, they had a special ceremony for Travis, who is retiring after fighting bulls in San Antonio for a long time.”

Travis Adams is the operations manager for Pete Carr Pro Rodeo.

“It was a great deal and very emotional,” Carr said. “I’m really glad they did that for Travis.”

postheadericon Cowboys win opening leg of race

The season 24 premier of the CBS-TV reality series “The Amazing Race” was aptly titled, “Back in the Saddle.”

Ranch-raised brothers Jet and Cord McCoy battled the opening episode of the 12-week series in a comfortable place in the race around the world for the $1 million first-place prize. When they arrived at the finish line of the first leg, they were greeted by host Phil Keoghan near the Guangzhou (China) Opera House.

“Cowboys, you’re back for the third time, and it’s starting well,” Keoghan told the McCoys. “You’re team No. 1.”

Jet, left, and Cord McCoy have found a lot of fame on the CBS-TV reality series "The Amazing Race," including their term a few years ago as grand marshals to the Calgary Stampede Parade a few years ago. The brothers are on the race for a third time, and during the Season 24 premier, won the opening leg of the race for $1 million.

Jet, left, and Cord McCoy have found a lot of fame on the CBS-TV reality series “The Amazing Race,” including their term a few years ago as grand marshals to the Calgary Stampede Parade a few years ago. The brothers are on the race for a third time, and during the Season 24 premier, won the opening leg of the race for $1 million.

Season 24 is dubbed the series’ All-Star Edition and features the fan favorites that have been part of the program over the last dozen years. The McCoys were joined at the starting line in Los Angeles by 10 other teams. They ended the opening leg of the race atop the leaderboard and set a strong tone for the remaining weeks of the show. Their victory also earned the McCoys an Express Pass, which will enable them to skip a single task in order to advance through the race more rapidly.

They also received a second Express Pass that they must pass along to another team before the end of the fifth leg.

“We’re running our own race,” Cord said. “We have two Express Passes for doing our own thing.”

But his brother was a little more cautious.

“It’s a good thing we have the Express Pass,” Jet said, “but I’d just as soon not give the other one away.”

The series started with a bit of a twist. One team, William “Bopper” Minton and Mark Jackson, suffered a loss when Minton was found to be too ill to compete. He was replaced by Mallory Ervin, who had competed in Season 16 with her father, Gary. Mallory Ervin and Jackson were left to learning about themselves while racing around the world.

While standing at a football/track stadium with the UCLA marching band in the background, the teams were instructed to find the symbols of Guangzhou on the hats of band members.

The task got a little more challenging while the band began to march in patterns, but the McCoys were second to the podium, just behind the Afghanamals, Leo Temory and Jamal Zadran. The first few teams earned the right to board the first plane from LA to China. Once there, the teams had to find their way to the Guangzhou’s Street of Wedding Dresses, which has the largest collection of wedding gowns in south China, and were to find one of three stores for the next clue. While the other teams took cabs, The Cowboys found the metro station.

“This is going to work out really good or really bad,” Cord said. “I definitely hope this is the express train to the Express Pass.”

How prophetic. Once on the metro, the McCoys burst into first place and never relinquished. They found the clues at the dress shops first, then traveled to the 1,968-foot Canton Tower, home of the world’s highest Ferris wheel.

“If you’re going to go off on the race by yourself, you’ve got to have a little bit of confidence,” Cord said. “We can just run our own race and not worry about what everybody else is doing.”

It was in the bubbles/cars that the next clues were to be found, though the brothers quickly learned that not all the Ferris wheel had clues. In fact, in their first location, Cord and Jet found the words, “Try Again.” They had to wait a long time for the Ferris wheel to make its way around.

“Every direction is nothing but city,” Jet said as the tandem made their way around the slow circle. “I’ve never seen anything like that.”

The brothers were raised on ranchland outside the tiny southeastern Oklahoma town of Tupelo, which has a population of 331. Guangzhou has a population of about 14 million. The slow ride atop the Canton Tower afforded The Cowboys a way to step way outside their comfort zone, but it wouldn’t be their last time on this season’s race.

Once they made the round, the McCoys boarded another car and found the next clue, which took them to Haixinsha Stadium, host of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Asian Games. One member from each team had to go up 300 feet to the top of the stadium tower, then be suspended in the air by two wires extended from the hips, then do five back flips.

“That’s all you,” Jet told Cord, his younger brother by 13 months.

“You talk about close your eyes and flip,” Cord said as they ran to the staging area.

When Cord exited the staging area for the tower, he was wearing a red and yellow jumpsuit with fringes while also donning a special harness underneath the jumpsuit.

“I like it,” Jet said, jabbing his baby brother. “Those were your colors … the yellow and the red with the flames.”

As Cord ascended the tower via an elevator, he told his Chinese aids, “At least I’ll have time to say a long prayer on the way down.”

Obviously, the ride up was a tad bit uncomfortable for Cord, a rodeo champion like Jet and most others in his family.

“I don’t like walking around on the top of towers or anything like that, but both Jet and I have been put out of our comfort zones in the race, and we almost expect that,” Cord said. “So even though you’re 300 feet in the air with two little bitty wires and a sweet suit I got, you’ve just got to do it. There’s not an option B.”

As the wires were being attached to the harness, Jet yells, “Holy cow. Hang on, little bother.”

Cord replies, “Hey, brother man, I think this town likes heights.”

The newly married couple of Brendon Villegas and Rachel Reilly finished second, followed by the father-son tandem of Dave and Connor O’Leary. The Twinnies, Natalie and Nadiya Anderson, finished last and were eliminated.

The second leg of “The Amazing Race” will begin with The Cowboys holding a substantial lead. Can they hold on to it, or will it slip out of their hands through the challenges that come with a race boasting of a million-dollar prize for the winner.

postheadericon The first prediction of 2014

I’m going out on a limb, and I know it, but there come times when one must make bold predictions. Here is mine for the 2014 ProRodeo season:

Sage Kimzey

Sage Kimzey

Sage Kimzey of Strong City, Okla., is going to win the Resistol Bull Riding Rookie of the Year.

Yeah, it’s a big limb, I know.

Heading into this week, the 19-year-old cowboy was second in the world standings with about $23,000. He nearly tripled that over the course of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, where he won both the bull riding title and the Xtreme Bulls-San Antonio championship. His total payout in the Alamo City was $40,000.

That’s pretty impressive, and as long as he stays healthy and can continue to ride well, he’s well on his way to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December. Heck, he’s well on his way to the world championship, where he’ll hold a substantial lead when the bean counters in Colorado Springs put everything together Monday.

He’s a good young man from a great family, and I’ve enjoyed watching him over the last year, one that included him setting the earnings record for permit-holders. Now he’s well on his way to that coveted gold buckle.

postheadericon Broadcasting’s best in San Antone

Ted Harbin TwisTED Rodeo

Ted Harbin
TwisTED Rodeo

Steve Kenyon of Pro Rodeo Live is broadcasting from the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, and, as always, he does an amazing job.

Tonight he’s joined by another good friend of mine, Rob Matthews, who operates Pro Rodeo Roundup. Both men are winners of the PRCA Media Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism; Kenyon won in 2009, and Matthews in 2013.

I’m looking forward to listening this broadcast. With their knowledge and understanding of our sport, they’re perfect fits for this show. They are offered the opportunity to call one of the PRCA’s best rodeos. This evening’s show is filled with rodeo’s elite, and there are some amazing match-ups.

This is a brilliant chance for you to keep track of the goings on in the Alamo City. Tune in online HERE and enjoy.

postheadericon Cowboys return to ‘Amazing Race’

The Cowboys are back.

Brothers Jet and Cord McCoy return to prime-time television for Season 24 of the reality series “The Amazing Race,” which airs at 7 p.m. Central Sundays on CBS-TV. The All-Star Edition’s premier is this Sunday, Feb. 23.

“We continually hear from fans that they want their favorites back, and we listened to them,” host Phil Keoghan said in a recent CBS interview.

The brothers, who live near the tiny southeastern Oklahoma community of Tupelo, finished second in Season 16 of the reality program; they were knocked out of the competition after nine weeks during Season 18. During the two spring seasons, the cowboys were recognized as fan favorites, which is why they were invited to be part of the All-Star Edition.

Jet, left, and Cord McCoy are part of Season 24 of 'The Amazing Race,' subtitled the All-Star Edition. This is the third time on the show for The Cowboys. (PHOTO COURTESY OF CBS-TV)

Jet, left, and Cord McCoy are part of Season 24 of ‘The Amazing Race,’ subtitled the All-Star Edition. This is the third time on the show for The Cowboys. (PHOTO COURTESY OF CBS-TV)

“The Globetrotters, The Cowboys, The Twinnies … they’re all here,” Bertram Van Munster, the show’s co-creator and executive producer, told CBS.

The McCoys are one of 11 teams to race around the world for the $1 million first-place prize. Along the way, they will face challenges through the various legs of the race. Typically the first team to conclude a leg of the race earns a prize, while last team is subject to elimination. The team that completes the final leg of the race first will be crowned champion.

The Cowboys join The Globetrotters, Herb “Flight Time” Lang and Nate “Big Easy” Lofton, and the mother-son tandem of Margie O’Donnell and Luke Adams as three-time racers – each team also was part of Season 18, “Unfinished Business.”

“When they called, they asked if my brother was with me, and it just so happened that me and Jet were gathering cattle together that day,” said Cord, 33, a five-time International Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association champion who qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals before retiring from competitive rodeo last year.

“We almost fell off our horses. It was flattering to say that of the 23 seasons of ‘The Amazing Race,’ and for them to call two little old cowboys to ask if we’d do it again, it was an honor.”

The brothers, born just 13 months apart, grew up together on the family’s ranch. While competing on the rodeo circuit, they were traveling partners and each other’s greatest competition. Jet, 34, also owns five IPRA titles. He ranches with his wife, Ashlee, and their 6-year-old daughter, Ti Silver.

“I was a little hesitant to start with, because it’s a big sacrifice to take off and be gone about a month,” Jet said. “But I don’t know how many chances at a million dollars you get, so it wasn’t too much of a thought to go ahead and do it.

“We were very hungry to try to do well this time since we felt like we left something on the table the last time we were on the show.”

After such a successful run in their inaugural race around the world, the McCoys were a little disappointed at their Week 9 exit during Season 18.

“I think me and Cord are both competitors, so it’s a matter of going out and proving it,” Jet said.

They intend to prove it the McCoy way, which means focusing on their own race and not concerning themselves with the gamesmanship that can come with reality shows like “The Amazing Race.”

“Jet and I are pretty good about not worrying about what everybody else is doing,” said Cord, who lives near Tupelo with his wife, Sara. “We’ve got enough stuff on our plate already to worry about whether another team is going to roadblock you or give you the wrong information.

“When we start each leg of the race, if we don’t make mistakes and can go as fast as we can, I think we’ll be OK. It’s a thinking game, and you’ve got to think your way through it. If you do that, we may not win first, but it’s not because of worrying about others. We’ve just got to run our own race.”

Each challenge requires a new set of tools, but the McCoys utilize a back-to-basics approach.

“Most of the stuff you have to work through on the race, me and Cord’s already worked that out,” Jet said, referring to the siblings’ level of communication and trust. “We don’t have to stop and visit about much at all, because we normally know what the other one’s thinking. I think it’s a big advantage, just the two of us being that close.”

Now The Cowboys will spend time with family as they watch Season 24 of “The Amazing Race.”

“The most fun about the first two races we did was come home and sit down and watch the race with your family and friends,” Cord said.

His brother agrees.

“That’s what makes it fun, really, is getting to spend that time with my family and friends,” Jet said.

The fun starts Sunday night.

postheadericon Yost, Young fulfill RNCFR pact

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story appears in the March edition of Women’s Pro Rodeo News, the official publication of the WPRA.

Through the rigors of the 2013 ProRodeo season, Nikki Yost and Taylor Young made a pact to qualify together for the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo.

“I couldn’t be going with someone better than Nikki,” said Young, of Carlisle, Pa. “I think we had two of the best horses in our circuit.”

They did, and they came out as the top two cowgirls in the First Frontier Circuit and will represent their region at ProRodeo’s national championship, set for April 10-12 at the Lazy E Arena near Guthrie, Okla.

RNCFR_2014wCities-NEWEST-smallerYoung went to the First Frontier finale in Harrisburg, Pa., as the No. 1 cowgirl in the standings. During the three-round championship, Yost and Redhot Peso placed time and won the average. That $4,069 served as a slingshot for Yost to surpass her good friend for the year-end championship.

“My whole game plan when I came to the finals was to win the average so I could go to Guthrie, Okla.,” said Yost, who lives with her header husband, Justin Yost, in Mt. Morris, Pa. “That was my goal all season to make it to the (Ram) Finals.

“I wasn’t nervous at all. I just wanted to go in there and make clean runs and ask my horse for everything he had. He actually didn’t have the prettiest barrels, but it worked.”

Yes, it did. Yost and Peso, an 11-year-old sorrel gelding by Redhot Pursuit out of Indian Passion, placed second in the first and third rounds and added a fourth-place finish in the middle round. Their 44.14-second cumulative total earned the tandem the average title.

“I’ve been having trouble just riding my horse and keeping three rodeos in a row clean, so that was my goal for the circuit finals,” she said. “I was just trying to stay away from the barrels, and he succeeded on that.”

Yost wasn’t the only one to make three clean runs. Jennifer Oberg of Piles Grove, N.J., placed second in the average with a cumulative time of 44.35 seconds, while Allison Serio of Kennett Square, Pa., (45.18) and Rogena Richard of Middleburg, Pa., (45.30) rounded out the top four.

“I try not to look at the standings when I go into stuff like this,” Yost said. “I’m just going to try let the chips fall the way they’re supposed to fall.

“Winning the (year-end) really hasn’t set in. It was just amazing. My husband gave me a big old hug. I was just worried about Taylor getting in.”

So was Young, who found the roses among the thorns that came with her run at the circuit finals. Riding Kissmyskooter, a 14-year-old sorrel gelding out of Bubbling Idiot by Elans Playboy, Young tipped a barrel in both the first and third rounds. Meanwhile, her 14.15-second, second-round winning run set an arena record. Plus, with Yost winning both the year-end and average titles, it allowed Young the automatic qualification to the RNCFR by finishing second in the year-end standings.

“I had a great finals, but I didn’t have my fairytale ending,” Young said. “When the third round ended, Nikki came up to me and said she was so sorry. I said, ‘What do you mean? You saved my butt.’ ”

At least it secured the pact that Yost and Young had established several months ago. The two Pennsylvanians didn’t actually know one another until a year ago, when Yost was living in Texas. She noticed that Young was scheduled to compete in Fort Worth, Texas, so she contacted her fellow East Coast cowgirl.

“I just said, ‘If you need a place to stay, you’re welcome here,’ ” said Yost, a Connecticut transplant who lived in Texas for nearly seven years before returning to the East Coast. “I was just trying to be a friendly face for someone from up north previously. From that day on, we’ve been great friends.

“Before she runs, I cheer her on, and when I run, she cheers for me. Even when she creams me, I always root for her.”

The 2013 season marked Yost’s inaugural run in the First Frontier Circuit. Although she had grown up in Connecticut, she and her husband quickly made their home in Texas while he tried to chase his gold buckle dreams in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

“Justin was trying to make his career heading,” Yost said. “With his partners in the rig all the time, Peso and my backup horse had to sit at home all summer long. He’s a header, so when his good horse got hurt, we just came home. He wanted to learn his dad’s business and get some more head horses gathered up.

“Since we were moving back East, my horse has proven himself consistently, placing with some of the big girls. I couldn’t see myself selling him, so I decided to see about making a name for ourselves on the East Coast. One of my goals was to win the circuit finals average, and I succeeded at that; my next goal was to make the RNCFR.”

Mission accomplished. Of course, goals are always adjusted; so are plans.

“I would love to make the run for the NFR, but I don’t know when I’m going to be able to do that,” Yost said. “I don’t know if I’m going to get that opportunity on Peso, but I have high expectations for his full brother. I will probably try on him.”

Bently is a 2-year-old sorrel stud. Will he turn out to be as solid as his big brother? That remains to be seen, but Yost is willing to see what happens. Of course, she’s following her dreams in a special way.

“If I could ride about 20 head of horses and ride all day, that’s where you can find me,” she said. “I’m blessed with my job of taking care of horses.”

That’s what it means to be a cowgirl, and nobody understands that as much as Young, who was raised around horses in central Pennsylvania.

“God had a plan, because when I set a goal this year that I wanted to make the Ram finals, I didn’t know if it was going to happen,” said the young cowgirl, who is attending a private college online and is preparing for a move to southern Oklahoma. “This was my second year in the WPRA and my second year making the circuit finals. I think one of the cool things was that I tied the arena record last year, then I beat the arena record this year.”

It all points to many things, most of which concerning the brightness that resides in barrel racing’s future. It’s nice to know she has something great in Skooter.

“He’s such a diva,” Young said. “He’s laid back, and he knows it, too. He’s easy. He’s my one in a million. He’s pretty cool. My second go-round, I told the girls, ‘I’m coming for you.’ After tipping a barrel in the first round, I was coming back with a vengeance.”

She did, and that $1,252 round-winning paycheck came at the right place and the right time. She visited with her ailing grandfather after that and presented him with the championship buckle. Young said she has great family support and that she’s been able to take between 18 and 20 hours a semester while competing on the rodeo trail because of her drive to succeed and the family’s status as her greatest support system.

“Rodeo is a way of life, and it’s not easy,” she said. “I have a lot of people that make my dreams possible.”

All that’s left is chasing those dreams, but that’s what cowgirls do best.

postheadericon Champs bring star power to RNCFR

GUTHRIE, Okla. – Wesley Silcox and Cody Teel are about as different as two bull riders can be.

Wesley Silcox

Wesley Silcox

Silcox, 28, is from Utah and is now in his 11th season competing in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association; he is 5-foot-8 and has qualified to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo six times in his career. Teel is a 21-year-old, 6-foot-tall Texan who has competed at the NFR each of the last two years; this is just his third season in ProRodeo.

Cody Teel

Cody Teel

But they share something spectacular: the gold buckles awarded annually to world champions. Silcox won his in 2007, while Teel earned his in his first trip to Las Vegas in 2012. They’re two of the top bull riders in the game that will be part of ProRodeo’s National Championship, the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, scheduled for 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10; 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 11; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at the Lazy E Arena near Guthrie.

They are joined by a number of the top bull riders in the game, including NFR qualifiers Brett Stall, Bobby Welsh, Steve Woolsey and Oklahoman Trevor Kastner. Welsh is the elder statesman of the group. When the competition begins, he will be 30 years old; he also has qualified for the NFR seven times, matched only by Woolsey.

Who holds the advantage inside the Lazy E? It’s tough to tell, because there are so many variables in bull riding, but Welsh is the only one of who has earned the RNCFR title, doing so in 2012.

Can he do it again? The bulls will have something to say about it, and so will rodeo’s best.

postheadericon Ranch care a big part of Carr brand

Outa Sight, a 9-year-old paint mare, walks with her first foal in this spring 2012 photo. Animal care is the chief focus of work being done on the Carr ranch, and the work done there shows up at every rodeo the Carr firms produce.

Outa Sight, a 9-year-old paint mare, walks with her first foal in this spring 2012 photo. Animal care is the chief focus of work being done on the Carr ranch, and the work done there shows up at every rodeo the Carr firms produce.

DALLAS – When Clay McCallie looks around the Carr ranch near Athens, Texas, he sees the magnificence.

The ranch is home to tree-lined pastures and the greatest bucking stock in professional rodeo, and it’s McCallie’s task to take care of every inch and every breathing being on the place. He takes his job quite seriously, and the proof comes every time those animals perform.

“It’s just like any other sport; if you don’t take care of yourself at home, you can’t expect to compete at your best,” said McCallie, the ranch manager. “You want to be in top quality shape. Since these are animals, it’s our job to make sure they’re taken care of here so when they get to the rodeo, they’re ready to perform at their best.”

The great animals from Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo will show all that off during the West Monroe ProRodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22, at Ike Hamilton Expo Center.

“Pete Carr wants to have a good rodeo everywhere we go, and it all starts right here on the ranch,” said Jeremy Hight, the assistant ranch manager who also serves at a pickup man at the Carr rodeos throughout the season. “Every person on our team pays attention to the animals, and they know that’s the biggest part of our job is to care for the animals.

“We want to have the best bucking horses, the best bucking bulls and the best timed-event cattle we can have at every rodeo, so it takes a lot of attention to detail every step of the way to make that happen.”

Hight was raised in east Texas and has been around livestock all his life. He has focused his attention to rodeo over the last five years. But McCallie was raised in the rodeo business with his family’s livestock firm, based in Benton, Ark. He brings that experience – as well as several years as a contestant – to his post.

“I look at every animal here every day,” McCallie said. “From riding horses to bucking horses to other horses, we have about 400 horses here, and I make sure that everything is good. We regulate what every animal eats and how we care for every animal. It’s part of our ranch management, making sure everything is cared for.”

Most of the work for the rodeo company takes place on the ranch. Most animals will perform at less than 20 rodeos a season, so most of their time is spent on the ranch. It’s vital they receive the utmost tender loving care possible.

“When you look at the stock that comes from our companies, it’s an incredible load of talent we take to every rodeo,” Hight said, referring to Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo. “I’m in a unique deal where I’m the pickup man and also work at the ranch. Pete’s done a great job of putting the right people in the right places. And the stock is the beneficiary of everything we do.

“I’m fortunate that I get to look out my window at all these great animals every day, then I get to see them perform at the rodeos. For someone like me who just loves horses, it’s pretty incredible.”

The animals are pretty incredible, too; the same can be said about the people who care for them.

postheadericon Harrison taking funny to Guymon

Rodeo entertainer John Harrison will bring a trailer-load of acts with him to perform at the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for the first weekend in May at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena. (Photo courtesy of John Harrison)

Rodeo entertainer John Harrison will bring a trailer-load of acts with him to perform at the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for the first weekend in May at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena. (Photo courtesy of John Harrison)

GUYMON, Okla. – For 10 December nights in the City of Lights, John Harrison rolled out an oversized protective barrel that served as his front-row seat for bull riding during the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

As the barrelman selected for ProRodeo’s super bowl, Harrison’s job was to man the specially made steel keg as an extra piece of protection for bull riders, bullfighters and just about anybody else inside the Thomas & Mack Center’s arena at the time.

“It’s an awesome feeling for me and my family because it’s a position that’s voted on by your peers,” said Harrison, who will serve as the barrelman, funnyman and entertainer during this year’s Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 2; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 4, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena.

“You feel it’s something you deserve. I’m tickled to death I got it. As a trick rider, I got to perform at the NFR three other times, but to be there every night and be part of the NFR personnel was just amazing.”

Harrison has been nominated as one of the best in the business for much of his clowning career. The Soper, Okla., cowboy joined the PRCA as a trick rider in 2001, then transitioned to clowning in 2008. The grandson of world champion bull rider Freckles Brown, rodeo always has been part of Harrison’s life. Being part of the NFR is just a big part of a family legacy that makes Harrison special.

“I love packing the barrel and being there for the cowboys, but I wasn’t there to be part of the entertainment,” Harrison said. “I didn’t get a microphone or anything I’m used to doing at a rodeo, but I’m glad I was selected to be there.”

He will be a big part of the entertainment that is Pioneer Days Rodeo. Just as he was a few years ago when he performed in Texas County, Harrison will pack several acts and a lot of comedy along with his barrel.

“We had a lot of people around here who have told us they wanted us to bring John back to Guymon,” said Earl Helm, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces Pioneer Days Rodeo. “He’s funny and has a lot to offer the fans who make our rodeo one of the best in the world.”

That’s true. In addition to hysterical acts that showcase Harrison’s talent and athleticism, the Oklahoma man serves as a valuable piece of the puzzle that helps make for a near-flawless performance each time he speaks.

“John is good, clean family fun,” said John Gwatney, the production supervisor for Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, the primary livestock producer for the rodeo. “He brings his family with him when he can and includes them with his act.”

Until recently, Harrison traveled the rodeo circuit with his family: His wife, Carla, and their three children, Addison, Cazwell and Billie. Now that Addison is in school, the family outings take place less often; still, family is a big part of who the clown is in and out of the arena.

“It’s his rodeo background, because he grew up in this sport,” Gwatney said. “For us, he helps us with the timing of our production. When you know what needs to be done and have someone that doesn’t have a big ego, then he’s willing to do work and willing to do that for the production.”

That’s the key reaching fans with a variety of entertaining items. Whether it’s a trick riding display that will leave fans in awe or his parody of rodeo queens, Harrison has a lot of ammunition in his bag.

“I think the biggest thing since the last time I was in Guymon is that the acts have just gotten better,” he said. “I have an Olympic act that I didn’t have in Guymon the last time. The one thing I love about Guymon is that with four performances, I can do something fresh every time.

“I do this for the love of the sport. Growing up with it, you enjoy it. Now I can actually make a living at it, so that helps.”

While family is a big part of who Harrison is, he realizes that rodeo serves as a foster family of sorts.

“The friends and the ‘family’ you meet on the road is a big deal for us,” he said. “Plus if it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t do it.”

Not only does he have fun, he brings a lot of it with him. That’s why people in Guymon are excited for his return.