STEPHENVILLE, Texas – Matt Bright earned $81,489 last year riding bucking horses, his best season yet for the 27-year-old cowboy from Azle, Texas.
Bright, a bareback rider, earned his first qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on a foundation laid by his nine event titles, including the Cowboy Capital of the World Rodeo. He knows what it takes to win in Stephenville, and he expects the 2011 winner to follow a similar path to the championship of one of the most storied events in north Texas.
“Any time you can win first, it’s definitely good for a guy’s confidence,” said Bright, who rode the Carr Pro Rodeo horse Alberta Child for 85 points to win in Stephenville last June. “I got a little horse of Pete’s that was just outstanding in that arena. When a guy can make a ride like that, it helps; it helps your confidence, and it makes you feel good about yourself.”
There are hundreds of top ProRodeo contestants returning to Erath County for the three-performance rodeo, set for 7:45 p.m. Thursday, June 9-Saturday, June 11, at Lone Star Arena. It’s where rising stars and world champions will shine.
Alberta Child is one of the rising stars in the game, a horse that comes from Canada. Another rising star is Outa Sight, which directed Cody Angland to a second-place finish in Stephenville a year ago, then became a major player around ProRodeo. The 6-year-old mare was so good, in fact, that the top bareback riders in the game voted her to buck at the 2010 NFR.
“We just eased her around this year and let her figure it out,” said Pete Carr, owner of Carr Pro Rodeo. “It looks like she’s going to make it.”
Outa Sight was sired by the great Night Jacket, a horse purchased from Jim and Margie Zinser for a record $200,000 just two years ago. Outa Sight is just one of many great bareback horses that are part of the Carr program.
“Pete sure enough has a bunch of great horses,” said Will Lowe of Canyon, Texas, a three-time world champion. “You dang sure know you’d better be ready when you get on one of Pete’s horses.
“Anytime you ride bucking horses, you’ve got to have your hammer cocked.”
Bright knows that as well as anyone. During the eighth round of the NFR last December, the Tennessee-born cowboy was prepared to ride Carr’s Real Deal, the rank 2005 Bareback of the Year. The brown gelding reared in leaving the chute, slamming Bright into the back of the metal-piped fencing. The result was a fracture of the lumbar spine and four months away from the game.
Since returning to action, Bright has picked up two wins in Shreveport, La., and Guymon, Okla. The latter involved a strong 87-point ride on Carr’s Dirty Jacket, another bucking beast that is considered one of the best animals in bareback riding.
“I like Pete,” said Clint Cannon, a two-time NFR qualifier from Waller, Texas. “He’s always honest, and he always brings good horses to rodeos. He runs a good show.
“The great thing about Pete is that he’s not afraid to bring his good horses. We know when we go to one of Pete’s rodeos that you don’t have to get on a piece of junk. You know you’re going to have a chance to draw a good horse.”