BIG SPRING, Texas – One of the toughest jobs in the world of rodeo is being a bull rider; just try staying on nearly a ton of twisting, spinning muscle that was bred to do this.
Just staying on doesn’t necessarily guarantee a cowboy will win a big check. In fact, once the first task is done, the next is riding well enough to beat most of the contestants in the field – only the very best in each rodeo earn the money they want for placing high.
That’s the plan of attack for bull riders competing in the 79th Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo, set this year for 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, June 21-23. The three nights will feature some of the greatest bull riders in the game, and they’re planning to test their skills against the bulls from Carr Pro Rodeo.
“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. J.W. Harris of Mullin, Texas, is a three-time world champion bull rider who has been on the top of the game for most of his professional career. 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,” Harris said. “He’s actually trying to get a better bull herd, which is more than you can say for a lot of stock contractors.”
Domangue and Harris are two of ProRodeo’s elite bull riders who are scheduled to ride in Big Spring. What they’ll see once inside the Big Spring Rodeo Bowl is a herd of outstanding animal athletes.
“I’ve always tried to get the best animals I can get, whether they’re bulls or horses,” Carr said. “Everybody thinks I’m a horse guy, and I am; I just want to be a bull guy, too.”
The cowboys have definitely taken notice. For instance, Trey Benton III of Rock Island, Texas, is fourth in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings, he won the rodeo in Mercedes, Texas, this past spring, scoring 91 points on Carr’s Missing Parts.
“Whenever a guy’s trying to make a perfect pen of bucking bulls, that’s great,” said Benton, 20, who is in the middle of the world championship race and run for the rookie of the year award in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, ranked in the top five in the world standings by mid-April. “When you’re trying to improve your pen all the time like Mr. Carr, then that means a lot to us.”
Not only is Benton working toward his first NFR qualification, he’s also on track to win the coveted Rookie of the Year title. Chandler Bownds of Lubbock, Texas, did both a year ago and sits in the top 15 in the world standings this year.
“I always try to make it to Pete’s rodeos,” Bownds said. “They’re always good rodeos, and you always get a chance to get on a good set of bulls, so that helps make them good rodeos to go to.”