HEMPSTEAD, Texas – Whether it’s Window Rock, Ariz., or Eagle, Colo., bareback rider Clint Cannon knows he’s going to do all he can to compete at rodeos produced by Carr Pro Rodeo.
It’s a little easier when it happens in his back yard, which is the case at the Waller County Fair and Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4-Saturday, Oct. 6. In fact, Cannon was one of the driving forces behind Pete Carr and his crew being in Hempstead now that the annual rodeo is part of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
“I’ve probably won more money on Carr horses as anybody in the PRCA,” said Cannon, a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Waller, Texas. “Almost every go-round I’ve won at the NFR has been on Pete Carr’s horses. I’ve won rounds at Houston on Pete Carr horses, and I’ve won rounds at San Antonio on them.
“When you look down the list and see your name next to one of Pete Carr’s horses, then you know you’ve got a good horse.”
That’s important to have for roughstock cowboys, those who ride bucking horses and bulls for a living. On a 100-point scale, half the score is based on how well the animal bucks, while the other half is based on the rider. In bareback riding and saddle bronc riding, the rider’s score is centered around how well the cowboys spurs in rhythm with the animal.
That is why having high-caliber horses is important to Cannon, who has won RodeoHouston twice in his career. Now he wants a shot at winning his hometown rodeo, and he knows his odds go up just having Carr horses in the mix.
“Pete’s got so many great horses, plus he’s got some young, up-and-coming horses every year,” Cannon said. “Even if it’s an unknown horse, you know you’ve got a shot to win on it because it’s Pete’s.”
Cannon has excelled on several Carr horses. In June, he posted a 90-point ride on Dirty Jacket to finish second at the West of the Pecos (Texas) Rodeo. Last December, he won a round at the NFR on Real Deal, the 2005 Bareback Riding Horse of the Year; it was the second time the two have matched moves together to win a round in Las Vegas.
Real Deal is one of the rankest horses in ProRodeo. In fact, the 12-year-old brown gelding is part of the “eliminator pen” at the NFR, because most bareback riders have trouble handling the moves he makes.
“My whole riding philosophy is that it’s a fistfight,” Cannon said. “Real Deal is always a fistfight. I’ve always gotten along with big, strong horses better than most people in ProRodeo. I don’t get that fear worked up from the name of the horse, because I’ve been on them and I know I can handle them.
“I’m a stronger guy, and I work hard. Being stronger takes away from some of the power those big, strong horses throw at you.”
Even with great success on Real Deal, there are a lot of horses sporting the Rafter C brand that Cannon would love to draw in Hempstead.
“If Pete has a rodeo, we try to enter it,” he said. “That’s why we got him to come to Waller County.
“I’ve done well on Black Coffee and had some success on Dirty Jacket, Real Deal and even won a little on Grass Dancer and Sin Wagon. I’ve been on so many of Pete’s horses, I can’t even remember all the ones I’ve been blessed with. It’s always fun going to rodeos like that, because you know you can win on just about anything they run under you.”