HEMPSTEAD, Texas – When Clint Sciba went to Las Vegas for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo to watch the sports spectacle, he knew that’s what he wanted to see in his hometown.
“My main basis on that deal was that if we were going to spend that much on a PRCA rodeo, I really wanted to make it the best in the Southeast, whether it’s southeast Texas or the Southeastern United States,” said Sciba, the rodeo co-chairman with Paul Schroeder on the Waller County Fair board. “We wanted to produce the most non-stop, action-filled rodeo within the constraints of our finances, so that’s what we set out to do.”
The early results have been fantastic, which is good reason why the Waller County Fair and Rodeo is preparing for its second straight year of Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association action beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4-Saturday, Oct. 6. The top names in ProRodeo will be on hand, which is an enticing addition to a community that is already loaded with great rodeo talent.
“I’d gone to Vegas, in part, to watch Clint Cannon ride there at the finals,” Sciba said, referring to the three-time NFR qualifier from Waller, Texas. “Clint had already come in and talked to the board about making our rodeo a PRCA rodeo and gave us the three stock contractors he wanted us to consider bringing in.
“He really wanted us to look at Pete Carr and what he does, so when I went to Vegas, and when I’d gone to RodeoHouston that year, I really paid attention to how much stock was Pete Carr’s. He had the animals that we were looking for, and he understands the Vegas-type of entertainment we wanted. He has the stock to get the cowboys there, and that’s the one thing we learned: If you don’t have the stock, the cowboys aren’t going to be there.”
Carr owns Dallas-based Carr Pro Rodeo, and he’s become one of the most sought-after livestock producers in the sport.
“It’s really special for us to be involved in an event that wants to grow and be part of professional rodeo.” Carr said. “Clint Sciba took a chance on us and we will continue to try and exceed his and everyone’s expectation in Waller County. The entire fair and rodeo team are excited about what all is going on in Hempstead. They want to continue to grow the whole fair and rodeo, and I think they’ve got the community support and enthusiasm to make it happen.”
It helps considerably that Waller County is becoming known for its elite ProRodeo contestants. Not only does Cannon live nearby, but so do tie-down ropers Cory Solomon, a two-time NFR qualifier from Prairie View, Texas, and Fred Whitfield, an eight-time world champion from Hockley, Texas – Whitfield is closing in on his 20th qualification to ProRodeo’s championship event. With that type of high-caliber firepower in the rodeo’s back yard, it makes for an easy transition to producing an NFR-quality event.
“We’re flooded with a ton of great ropers in our area, and the competition so tough,” Sciba said. “Not only do we have great guys like Fred and Cory, who are at the top of the game this year, but we’ve got a lot of other ropers in this area. Now you bring in Clint Cannon, and you have someone who has pushed the bucking horse riding and the importance of having a good overall rodeo.
“We’re quickly becoming a rodeo community, not just at our fair, but throughout our region. It’s a natural fit for us to step up to the PRCA ranks. The PRCA brings us a lot of publicity, not just local, but regional and national.”
Cannon will be unable to compete at the NFR this December after sitting out some time with a groin injury, but he will be a big part of his hometown rodeo. Still Solomon and Whitfield will be in the grand entry along with dozens of other Texans that will ride in behind the Lone Star flag as the state’s representatives are introduced to the crowd of nearly 18,000 each of the 10 nights in Las Vegas.
“You get chills when you see 16-time world champion Trevor Brazile as he flies into that arena carrying the Texas flag and they introduce all those Texans,” Sciba said. “It’s even cooler to know you have a chance to see three guys who are part of that introduction that are from right here in our area. Just seeing all those Texans is cool; that’s even cooler to know how well we’re represented here in Waller County.”
That same sentiment goes into every run and every ride that takes place in the Waller County Fairgrounds Arena. It’s no wonder why Sciba is so excited.