BAY CITY, Texas – People in this community tucked near the Gulf of Mexico deserve to enjoy family-friendly entertainment.
That’s the belief of the organizers of the Matagorda County Fair and Rodeo, which is why they work so hard to make this exposition one of the best in the region.
“I think we’re a small-town event and that we have a very friendly atmosphere and environment,” said Julie Culver, the fair’s manager. “With our rodeo, we have some different things we do in addition to the PRCA events. We have local events that bring a lot of community activity.”
It’s that local flavor that add so much to the county’s rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 1-Saturday, March 3, at the Matagorda County Fairgrounds.
“We have the carnival going outside, but inside, we have a great event,” Culver said. “We have a great producer who brings great stock, and we have a great announcer.”
Dallas-based Pete Carr Pro Rodeo produces the event, and Andy Stewart is the in-house announcer. Both have received numerous nominations for year-end honors in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association; Carr for Stock Contractor of the Year and Stewart for Announcer of the year. Only five people in each category receive those nominations.
“Everybody works together to pull it off,” she said. “They work very hard to make sure our event is very family-friendly, and that is important to us.”
This year’s rodeo will feature the award-winning comedy of John Harrison, who will be the clown and entertainer for the three-night event. Harrison has been named Comedy Act of the Year each of the past three seasons.
“We know he’s funny and that he’s won awards, but the big thing to me was that he has different acts,” Culver said. “For some of our rodeo fans who come to all three performances, they’ll get a chance to see a different act each night. We were looking to keep each performance fresh.”
Part of that falls on the production from the Carr firm. Because rodeo is a mixture of entertainment and competition, having smooth transitions from one to the other is vital.
Harrison, Stewart and Carr aren’t the only award-winning pieces of the rodeo puzzle. Sandy Gwatney is the reigning PRCA Secretary of the Year, and she returns to Bay City. Also in the mix are Clay Heger, a two-time nominee for Bullfighter of the Year, and Jeremy Willis, a two-time finalist for Pickup Man of the Year.
“Pete and his crew area absolutely fabulous,” she said. “They work great with the directors, and they come in behind the scenes and help take care of things. They are all very easy-going people, but they’re very cautious about the cowboys’ safety and the safety of the stock.
“The whole thing is very well-rounded. They bring good stock, and that helps bring the cowboys. They’ve been here a long time, so they know.”
It’s made for a solid partnership that benefits the members of the community and the contestants that compete.