CLAREMORE, Okla. – Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo organizers aren’t settled on the past.
Sure, being named the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s 2014 Small Rodeo of the Year is quite an honor; now it’s time to look ahead.
“We didn’t want to rest on our past accomplishments, no matter how proud we are of them,” said David Petty, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo. “We wanted to step it up a little more because our fans deserve it. We want to give them the best show, the best rodeo they’re going to find anywhere.”
That’s one of the reasons why the committee is bringing back John Harrison, one of the top entertainers in ProRodeo. In 2014, the Soper, Okla., man was honored as the Coors Man in the Can for his exploits as a rodeo barrelman and funnyman. He also won the PRCA’s Comedy Act of the Year.
“I love packing the barrel and being there for the cowboys,” Harrison said, pointing to his role as an in-arena protection for fallen bull riders.
But there’s so much more to Harrison’s tasks at each rodeo performance. He is one of many award-winning pieces to the Claremore rodeo’s puzzle. The rodeo is set for 7:45 p.m. Friday, May 22-Sunday, May 24, at Will Rogers Stampede Arena. Discounted tickets can be found on the rodeo’s website, www.WillRogersStampede.com; fans can also follow the rodeo on Facebook.
He will be joined by charro Tomas Garcilazo, a two-time winner of the PRCA’s Dress Act of the Year, and the championship livestock from Dallas-based Pete Carr Pro Rodeo. The Carr firm has been nominated as PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year each of the past two seasons; in 2014, it was named the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s Stock Contractor of the Year.
Harrison, though, adds the comedy to the event, helping add to the family friendly atmosphere that is the sport of rodeo.
“John is a true entertainer, and I love the fact that he’s from Oklahoma,” Petty said. “There aren’t many rodeos in Oklahoma that can boast of two great acts, but we can.
In addition to hysterical acts that showcase Harrison’s talent, the Oklahoma man serves as a valuable piece of the puzzle that helps make for a near-flawless performance each time he speaks.
“John is good, clean family fun,” said John Gwatney, Carr’s production supervisor. “It’s his rodeo background, because he grew up in this sport. For us, he helps us with the timing of our production. When you know what needs to be done and have someone that doesn’t have a big ego, then he’s willing to do work and willing to do that for the production.”
That’s the key reaching fans with a variety of entertaining items. Whether it’s a trick riding display that will leave fans in awe or his parody of rodeo queens, Harrison has a lot of ammunition.
“I do this for the love of the sport,” he said. “Growing up with it, you enjoy it. Now I can actually make a living at it, so that helps.”