HENDERSON, Texas – On the opening weekend of the 2014 Pro Rodeo season, two of Pete Carr’s most decorated bucking horses proved their greatness again.
It was in Hempstead, Texas, just a stone’s throw from Houston, where a couple of elite bareback riders shared the event championship with matching 89-point rides. Winn Ratliff, a 2012 qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from Leesville, La., matched moves with Carr Pro Rodeo’s River Boat Annie, while Steven Dent, a six-time NFR qualifier from Mullen, Neb., spurred Carr’s Real Deal.
It was as if history were shining brightly on present-day rodeo. You see, Real Deal is the 2005 Bareback of the Year, and River Boat Annie is the 2007 Reserve World Champion Bareback Horse. Both will buck at the 2013 NFR for the ninth straight time this coming December.
“Those are two great horses that love what they do,” said Carr, owner of Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, which will produce this year’s Rusk County PRCA Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17-Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Rusk County Expo Center in Henderson.
It’s that kind of horse power and bull power that will be on display inside the 5,000-seat Expo Center this weekend. Combined, the Carr firms make up the largest livestock producer in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, with more than 300 animals that have performed at the NFR over the course of the companies’ existence.
“I love Pete Carr rodeos, and that’s one of the reasons his name came up first on my list,” said bareback rider Clint Cannon, a four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Waller, Texas. “He always brings good horses to rodeos. He runs a good show.”
Having great animals is important, and Carr has several truck loads. In addition to Real Deal, Carr has seen two other great horses that have earned the coveted Bareback of the Year crown: Big Tex in 2010 and MGM Deuces Night in 2012. Big Tex joins River Boat Annie and Wise Guy as Reserve Champions and joins Grass Dancer as two of the horses that are part of the mix in the world record-tying 94-point rides.
“It’s nice to go to a rodeo and have really good horses out for everybody,” said Jake Wright, a two-time NFR qualifier from Milford, Utah. “The stock contractor here has that kind of caliber that it’s really a riding contest and not a drawing contest.”
Those are important ingredients to the men who make their livings on the backs of bucking horses and bulls. But the type of rodeo that Carr produces is also a drawing card for timed-event contestants who make their living racing, roping and wrestling.
“To me, Pete Carr is one of the new wave of stock contractors as much about one end of the arena as he does the other,” said Trevor Brazile, a 17-time world champion. “There have been stock contractors that don’t really have a complete rodeo. In my opinion, Pete puts on a complete rodeo.”
“Pete has such an array of horse now that no matter where he goes, he will have it to where everybody has a chance to win money,” said saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss, a four-time NFR qualifier from Heflin, La.
For the fans and contestants, that’s what will make for a great event in Henderson.