BIG SPRING, Texas – People in west Texas know what it means to celebrate their heritage.
That’s why it’s such a big deal to take part in the Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo, set for 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, June 21-23, at the Big Spring Rodeo Bowl. Of course, it helps when the 79th annual celebration also is a great show.
“I think the only rodeo in Texas that’s been running longer is in Pecos, and Pete Carr produces that one, too,” rodeo chairman Ace Berry said, referring to Carr Pro Rodeo. “We know we’ll have a really good rodeo with a lot of excitement.”
From the mutton busting to the Santa Rosa Palomino Club’s showcase to the incredible talent and humor of Keith Isley, fans have come to expect great things for their entertainment dollar. That’s just a small taste of what’s on tap for Big Spring, a community of about 27,000 people that will get to see the best in ProRodeo during the three nights of competition.
“We’ve been able to have some of the top cowboys come to Big Spring,” said Derek Wash, one of the volunteers who helps produce the event, now in its 79th year. “We’ve also got Aaron Watson coming in performing and a local band, Lenorah, opening for him. We had Aaron here two years ago, and that was one of the things people really liked, so we brought him back.”
Carr Pro Rodeo is back to with some of the best animal athletes in the sport. Last year, the Dallas-based livestock producer had 14 animals perform at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the sport’s championship event. In addition, the Carr crew handles all the little tasks behind the scenes so each performance seems flawless.
“I think the best thing about Pete is his production,” Berry said. “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.”
The fans are the beneficiaries. Between the musings of announcer Mike Mathis and the championship-caliber action inside the Rodeo Bowl, there is plenty going on for those who pack the arena. The Santa Rosa Palomino Club is a 30-member drill team that showcases the yellow horses. The group was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Isley is one of the most celebrated acts in ProRodeo. He has been named the Clown of the Year, Coors Man in the Can and Comedy Act of the Year each of the past three seasons.
“We’ve brought back our parade this year and made it for 10 a.m. Saturday,” said Derek Wash, one of the volunteers that produces the annual event. “That was a longstanding tradition and a way to always kick off our rodeo, but it’s always just so hot.
“We didn’t have it last year, but we wanted to bring it back this year and have it on Saturday morning so it was cooler and could be enjoyed by more people. Quail Dobbs has been taking care of that for years and years, and he does a great job with that.”
Dobbs, a clown that was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2002, lives in nearby Coahoma, Texas. He brings the experience and understanding of what it means to put on a true showcase of Western heritage, tradition and the world of a rodeo cowboy.