PECOS, Texas – The history is there in this West Texas town of more than 8,700 people.
Next week will mark the 133rd year of the West of the Pecos Rodeo, the oldest event in the sport. It takes more than a history book to tell the tale of the big-time rodeo. A lesson in current events is also a valuable tool.
You see, the West of the Pecos Rodeo is the perfect combination of traditional Western values mixed with modern showmanship, thanks in large part to the staff from Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, a Dallas-based livestock company that produces the rodeo. It’s just what fans expect when they show up for this year’s event, set for 8 p.m. Wednesday June 24-Saturday, June 27, at Buck Jackson Arena.
“One of the things Pete has helped us with tremendously is because he’s got such a good livestock lineup, he’s got the quality of animals that brings the top cowboys,” said Joe Keese, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo. “The good news for the fans that follow the sport of rodeo is that no matter what night they come to our rodeo, they’ll get to see their favorite guys go.”
Carr has a world-class lineup of bucking stars. In fact, no other stock contractor in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association has taken more animals to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo than Carr, who, in each of the past two years, has had 27 animals selected to buck at ProRodeo’s grand championship.
Most of those will be part of the action in Pecos, which is a major stop on the rodeo trail for the greatest cowboys in the game. In fact, Pecos champs are often among the elite that qualify regularly for the NFR.
“The cowboys like coming because of the tradition,” Keese said. “We do lot of things at our rodeo that are to the cowboys’ benefit, and I think they like that.”
“With this arena and our set up, it’s a test of the cowboy’s skills, and it’s tradition. People want that Pecos buckle.”
This year’s event also will feature Justin Rumford, the three-time reigning PRCA Clown of the Year. Rumford grew up in a rodeo family and has done nearly everything possible in and around a rodeo arena. Now he carries that experience into the role as a key piece of the entertainment pie and the event’s funnyman.
But he’s just a small part of a big puzzle that is the Pecos rodeo.
“An awful lot of the cowboys filled their permits in Pecos,” Keese said, referring to the development stage of ProRodeo whereby permit-holders must earn a minimum amount of money through competition to be eligible to become members of the PRCA. “A lot come back here every year because they came with their granddad, then their dad, and they want to keep that going.”