PECOS, Texas – The West of the Pecos Rodeo has been around for 134 years, but the 2015 version may well have been one of the very best.
The volunteer committee that organizes the annual event was recognized as one of the very best a year ago, nominated for Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Now that same core group of individuals is working hard to improve for this year’s rodeo, set for 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 22-Saturday, June 25, at Buck Jackson Arena.
“It was such an honor to even be in the same class as the other nominees,” said Brenda McKinney, a longtime member of the committee. “This event is so important to our whole community. To be nominated in that class was very humbling.”
“It helps us as a committee to get through all the work and everything involved in such a production when you are nominated in such an elite group.”
The honor was well-deserved, and the local organizers are building toward an even better 2016 championship. That’s why they have hired some of the best personnel in ProRodeo, including Dallas-based Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, the premier stock contractor in the PRCA. The firm has four nominations for Stock Contractor of the Year and has had more animals perform at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo than any other livestock provider over the last three years.
The list of elite personnel includes Boyd Polhamus, a regular Announcer of the Year nominee who owns four awards; sound director Benje Bendele, who works many of the biggest events in the sport, including the NFR; Sandy Gwatney, a Secretary of the Year nominee; Bullfighter of the Year finalist Clay Heger; and Jeremy Willis, a finalist for the 2015 Pickup Man of the Year.
“When you look at who we have, we have the best of the best putting on our rodeo, announcing our rodeo, doing the sound at our rodeo, working behind the scenes of our rodeo,” McKinney said. “All that helps us get the best of the best among the contestants.”
This year’s West of the Pecos Rodeo also will feature Troy Lerwill, one of the most decorated entertainers in the game. He has been recognized as one of the greatest comedy acts in rodeo as well as one of the most respected barrelmen.
“We’re very excited to have him on board this year,” McKinney said. “We’ve wanted to have him to our event many times, and we are finally able to get him here. I think the crowd will really like what he does.”
From the family-friendly entertainment to the world-class competition, the local committee has entrusted the production and the livestock to the Carr firm, just as it has for more than a decade.
“Pete Carr is a class act,” she said. “He’s so professional and easy to work with. He just wants to please, and he’s always accommodating. He’s willing to work and do whatever we ask, even if it’s last-minute. His people are all very professional, so it’s nice to work with them every year.
“It’s such a big job putting on a rodeo. When you have somebody like Pete, he makes our jobs easy. Of course, he’s also got the best stock.”
It all adds up to a winning combination for rodeo fans in West Texas.