BIG SPRING, Texas – There are many reasons why the top cowboys in the game make their way to this west Texas community every June.
One, of course, is the chance to ride some of the best bucking beasts in the sport, thanks to Carr Pro Rodeo, the stock contractor for the 78th Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo, set this year for 8 p.m. Thursday, June 16-Saturday, June 18. Owner Pete Carr makes sure outstanding animal athletes are part of the action, just as he has done for years.
“You definitely want to go somewhere that you have a chance to win,” said Casey Sisk of Corona, N.M., a rising star in saddle bronc riding. “Pete’s got a great pen of bucking horses, the kind you like getting on.”
Sisk isn’t the only cowboy who feels that way, and that’s what makes Big Spring a special stop for many of the top athletes in the game.
“Pete Carr, in general, is a great stock contractor,” said bull rider D.J. Domangue of Wharton, Texas. “He spends a lot of money and tries real hard to try to improve his stock. He’s already got great horses, and he is trying to put together a good pen of bulls.
“Plus he’s a great guy, and that’s hard to come by when you’re talking about stock contractors in rodeo. He listens to the cowboys. He wants to know what we think, and he wants our opinions. He wants to get the top guys.”
Domangue has been one of the top guys for years, having qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo three times. But the top guy in the bull riding business is J.W. Harris of Mullin, Texas, and he’s been that way for a long time. He, too, realizes the role stock contractors play in his business of rodeo.
“The great thing about Pete is that he went out and bought some new bulls,” said Harris, the reigning three-time world champion bull rider. “He’s actually trying to get a better bull herd, which is more than you can say for a lot of stock contractors.”
The key is to focus on the fans, he said, but a contractor must pay know to the cowboys’ needs.
“I know he’s trying hard,” said Shawn Hogg, an NFR qualifier from Odessa, Texas. “He’s got a lot better set of bulls than a lot of guys, and it’s just getting better.”
That’s all contestants can ask for.
“The guys want to go to rodeos and see that there are things that are making a difference,” said Ardie Maier of Timber Lake, S.D. “With Pete, you can tell he’s working hard at getting a good set of bulls. It helps, because it gives everybody a chance.”
Carr has made a name for himself in the world of bareback riding with greats like Real Deal, the 2005 Bareback Horse of the Year, and Riverboat Annie, the 2007 reserve world champion bareback horse. But Carr has outstanding animal athletes in every roughstock event.
“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.”
Cort Scheer knows that better than most. He won Big Spring last June, riding Carr’s Deuces Wild for 85 points to collect the biggest check in saddle bronc riding. It was one of several big checks that helped the Elsmere, Neb., cowboy to qualify for the NFR last December.
“You dang sure know you’re going to get on some good buckers when you go to a Carr rodeo,” Scheer said. “Shoot, that’s why we do this, so we can ride great bucking horses, and Pete Carr has a pen full of them at every rodeo he goes to.”