PECOS, Texas – Bryan Richardson is quite proud to be a Texan.
Dallas born and raised, his grin displays the type of statehood pride that could compare to the Lone Star flag. To Richardson, a bull rider who has qualified three times to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, being a cowboy in Texas is just a way of life, and winning in Texas is almost as important as winning that coveted world championship.
“Of all the buckles I’ve won in my career, the buckle I got for winning Pecos last year is the one I wear,” said Richardson, who rode the Carr Pro Rodeo bull Sippin Jack for 89 points to win the 2010 West of the Pecos Rodeo. “It actually meant a lot for me to win that rodeo. That’s the oldest rodeo in the world, and it’s a prestigious rodeo, just for the Texas Circuit alone.
“I’ve been going to that rodeo since my rookie season (in 2000), but I’d never done any good. It didn’t matter to me, because I came back every year. It was nice to finally get to win that rodeo.”
The 129th edition of the West of the Pecos Rodeo will have four performances set for 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 22-Saturday, June 25. Not only will it feature most of the top bull riders in rodeo, it will also feature outstanding bulls from Dallas-based Carr Pro Rodeo.
“I take a lot of pride in having the kind of animals the cowboys want to get on,” said Pete Carr, owner of the livestock firm that produces the annual Pecos rodeo. “The fans come to see a good rodeo, and I think having good animals to get on gives us a better opportunity to draw the best cowboys in the world when they have a choice on which rodeos to enter. Together that makes it a great experience for the paying customers.
“We will keep striving to improve our herds every year because we want to attract the best cowboys to come to these rodeos.”
The contestants see that, too.
“Pete Carr cares about our opinion,” Richardson said. “He wants to keep us happy, and he knows how to do it. A lot of contractors won’t try. They just want a bunch of working bulls that can go out there and buck a bunch of times a year.
“Pete understands that nowadays, the bull business is what it is. You can get a really good bull for not a lot of money, and then you’re going to get the good cowboys to come to your rodeo and compete on those bulls.”
The key ingredient in making a living in bull riding is consistency. The cowboys who have the highest riding percentage tend to have the lion’s share of the money. But contestants know there are plenty of tests out there in the world of rodeo. Since half the equation in bull riding comes from the animal, cowboys realize getting on top quality livestock is crucial.
“Pete Carr, in general, is a great stock contractor,” said D.J. Domangue, a three-time NFR qualifier from 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.”