STEPHENVILLE, Texas – The men who ride bucking horses know the most important aspect of their job is the animal beneath them.
That’s the foremost reason saddle bronc riders make sure they’re part of the field when Carr Pro Rodeo produces an event. It’s why they’ll be on hand at when the Cowboy Capital of the World Rodeo kicks off 7:45 p.m. Friday, June 9-Saturday, June 11, at Lone Star Arena.
“Any bucking horse you know you have a chance to win on is one you want to get on,” said Jesse James Kirby of Dodge City, Kan. “That’s what you have when you go to a Carr rodeo. I think Pete Carr is doing a damn good job of supplying a bunch of really good bucking horses.”
Dallas-based Carr Pro Rodeo is a developing stock-contracting firm that focuses on high quality. Owner Pete Carr rode bucking horses for years before he got into the livestock business, and he uses that understanding when he goes to work at every rodeo he works, whether it’s in Stephenville or Pecos or Eagle, Colo.
“Pete does a great job of getting us horses we can win on,” said Taos Muncy, who won the college and PRCA saddle bronc riding championships in 2007. “He’s got a bunch of great horses. We do what we can to make sure we go to Pete’s rodeos.”
That seems to be the case for most of the elite cowboys on tour, but it’s also the way it is for those rising stars in the game. The Cowboy Capital of the World Rodeo will feature them all, and contestants will flock to Erath County for a chance to win a longstanding rodeo in a historic rodeo area.
“You definitely want to go somewhere that you have a chance to win,” said Casey Sisk of Corona, N.M., a four-year pro was part of the rodeo program at Tarleton State University. “I’ve been hurt the last two years, so I haven’t been able to go to a lot.
“Pete’s got a great pen of bucking horses, the kind you like getting on. I could name off four or five I’d love to get on.”
Whether it’s Miss Congeniality or True Lies or a number of the other great broncs that live most of the year on the Carr Pro Rodeo ranch in Athens, Texas, there’s one thing that’s consistent: They’re tremendously athletic animals.
“Pete’s got some buckers and some young horses that he’s trying to bring up in his program,” Kirby said. “I think he’s got a well-rounded pen of horses, and everybody loves to get on them.
“He also does a damn good job of putting a rodeo on, too. From the openings to the events, they keep it in a timely manner. They keep a lookout for their fans, so it’s something fans want to see, too.”
Sisk travels the rodeo trail with Muncy, his childhood friend, and two other Wrangler National Finals Rodeo veterans, Cody Taton and Isaac Diaz. The foursome would like to earn that trip together to Las Vegas in December, and they know what it’s going to take to get there.
“You know you want to go to the best rodeos and get on the best horses,” Muncy said. “You dang sure have to do your part.”
In all three roughstock events – bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding – contestants are marked on a 100-point scale, and half the points are based on how well the animal performs. When things come together, the high-marked rides are magical. Those soaring scores are a regular occurrence at the Stephenville rodeo, where Andrew Counts won saddle bronc riding in 2010 with an 89-point ride on Carr’s Corner Guard.
“For me, winning takes a lot to draw good,” Kirby said. “When you take advantage of drawing good and you’re mentally prepared, you’re not fighting anything, your saddle, your mind, whatever. To me, it’s 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical.
“You’ve got to be consistent. You want to ride the same every time. You just stick to the basics: Spur them out good and lift on your rein. And have fun. That makes a big difference when you see guys are struggling, that they’re not having fun. I always have fun at a Pete Carr rodeo.”