BIG SPRING, Texas – When Scotty Spencer was a youngster, he knew the attraction to danger.
As an adult, he lives it virtually every weekend, if not more. That’s the life of a world-class bullfighter, who looks eye-to-eye with some of the nastiest bucking bulls in rodeo with the goal of protecting fallen cowboys and just about everyone else in the arena at the time.
“I used to race motocross,” said Spencer, who will be fighting bulls during the 78th Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo, set this year for 8 p.m. Thursday, June 16-Saturday, June 18. “I guess it’s the adrenaline and danger of it. If it’s danger, I want to do it. I don’t know why, but that’s the way I’ve always been.”
Spencer is just one major cog in the machine that runs Carr Pro Rodeo, a Dallas-based livestock contractor that produces the annual Big Spring rodeo. Not only is he a bullfighter, but also Spencer is one of the ranch hands on the Carr property near Athens, Texas, meaning he tackles many of the day-to-day duties it takes to run an operation like that.
When the Carr crew arrives in town to produce a rodeo, Spencer handles many of the behind-the-scenes jobs – from feeding, sorting and moving the animals to helping make sure each show runs well.
“I do fight for other people, too, so I’ve been around a bunch of ProRodeos,” said Spencer, who was raised in Mesquite, Texas, and didn’t get into rodeo until the mid-1990s. “Our rodeos are, by far, the smoothest run, professional rodeos I’ve been to.”
That’s an attribute to Pete Carr, owner of the livestock firm that has emerged as one of the elite in ProRodeo.
“Our rodeos are so smoothly run because Pete hires the right guys,” Spencer said. “We have the best pickup man there is, and John Gwatney runs the front end; John runs that stuff at the NFR, the Dodge Circuit Finals and a lot of other big events, too. Pete hires the best to do their jobs, and they do their jobs well.”
Everyone in rodeo is noticing that, too.
“We hired Pete after the stock producer we were using sold out, and he’s done us a good job,” said Ace Berry, president of the Big Spring rodeo committee. “I think the best thing about Pete is his production. He does have a really good bucking stock string, really nice broncs and bulls.
“I think his production is the main thing. He just puts on a really good rodeo.”
Carr Pro Rodeo burst onto the scene six seasons ago when Real Deal was named the 2005 Bareback Riding Horse of the Year. Two years later, Riverboat Annie was named the reserve world champion bareback horse. They continue to be major players in the game, but they’re just two of the great animal athletes in the Carr string.
“Pete’s a super nice guy, and even to the guys that haven’t gone as much, he’s really good to us,” said Casey Sisk of Corona, N.M., one of the top 50 saddle bronc riders in the game. “He’s got a good crew, and the rodeos are run great. You can tell everyone involved with Carr cares about making a good rodeo.”
A good rodeo in Big Spring means pulling out all the stops. Keith Isley, who has been named the Clown of the Year, Coors Man in the Can and Comedy Act of the Year each of the past two seasons, will be featured at this year’s event, along with Blake Goode, who will Roman ride two Brahma bulls during each of the three performances.
Combine that with the outstanding rodeo competition, and the Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo will be one of the most exciting events to hit this region all year.
“I think the only rodeo in Texas that’s been running longer is in Pecos, and Pete Carr produces that one, too,” Berry said. “We know we’ll have a really good rodeo with a lot of excitement.”