LOVINGTON, N.M. – Trey Kerby makes no bones about what makes Lovington’s rodeo so great.
“Pete Carr and his crew are one of the most important parts of our rodeo,” said Kerby, chairman of the rodeo committee for the Lea County Fair and Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8-Saturday, Aug. 11, at Jake McClure Arena; that also includes Lea County Xtreme Bulls, which is Tuesday, Aug. 7.
“That’s what keeps this rodeo as big as it is, with the big names and the people that come to town. They will travel a long way to do it. They will turn down a rodeo closer to them so they can get on the stock Pete Carr has.”
He’s referring to Dallas-based Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, one of the largest livestock producers in the sport. Carr has been nominated five times as Stock Contractor of the Year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Over the last five years, the Carr firm has had more animals selected to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo than any other stock contractor.
Over the last 13 years, the company has had four animals selected as PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year: Real Deal, Big Tex, Deuces Night and Dirty Jacket.
“It’s a pretty important role in our rodeo,” Kerby said. “If you’ve just got some stock, you’re not going to get the big names to show up to your rodeo. That’s who our fans come to watch, the best of the best. Anything that can get the best guys and the best girls here is pretty important to us.”
The proof is in the firepower that is the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. Last year’s champions read like a list of who’s who of the greatest stars in rodeo: Bareback rider Orin Larsen, a three-time NFR qualifier; steer wrestler Matt Reeves, a six-time NFR qualifier; saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss, a nine-time finalist; tie-down roper Cory Solomon, a five-timer; and barrel racer Taci Bettis, who earned her first trip to Vegas last year.
Larsen posted the highest-marked ride of last year’s rodeo, a 90-point marking on Carr’s Scarlet’s Web, a 16-year-old bay mare that has bucked at the NFR 11 times.
“Any win like this, big or small, is huge for me at this point,” said Larsen of Ingles, Manitoba. “That’s just a great horse that I’ve wanted to get on for a long time.
“It was pretty cool to get on her here.”
He wasn’t the only one who found success on Carr bucking horses. Sterling Crawley, a four-time NFR qualifier, placed on Carr’s Miss Molly in Lovington a year ago.
“This is a great rodeo,” Crawley said. “The bucking stock is outstanding. When you go to a Pete Carr rodeo, everybody’s got a chance to win.
“This is a good time of year. This rodeo has a lot of money, and the crowd is always good. That’s hard to pass up.”
That is the perfect combination for fans who take in the Lea County Fair and Rodeo in 2018.