STEPHENVILLE, Texas – The people in this neck of the woods know a thing or two about the sport of rodeo.
Stephenville is, of course, the Cowboy Capital of the World, a testament to the dozens of elite rodeo stars that live in Erath County. Some claim it as a secondary home, like world champion heeler Jade Corkill, who still lists Fallon, Nevada, as his hometown though he lives in Stephenville year-round.
The members of the volunteer committee that produce the Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo know how special it is to have such a prestigious event for the locals to attend, to witness and to compete in every year. This year’s rodeo is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, and Saturday, Sept. 26, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26, at Lone Star Arena.
When it comes to the actual production of those three performances, though, the locals rely on the professional crew from Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, one of the most recognized livestock production firms in the game.
“What Pete brings us is good stock and good personnel,” said James Andrea, the committee’s president. “With John Gwatney on the timed-event side, we don’t have to worry about anything there. With Billy Jones on the other side, he runs the whole deal.
“When Pete shows up, we don’t have to worry about anything. We know it’s going to be a first-class show.”
That’s important, because rodeo is a fantastic mix of world-class competition and family friendly entertainment. Stephenville’s rodeo will feature the comedy of clown Matt Tarr, who has been recognized as one of the top young acts in the game; a year ago, he was the alternate barrelman for the National Finals Rodeo.
Announcer Justin McKee, who is best know for his work on national television, will be back to call the action.
“Matt’s from around here, so we really wanted to support the hometown guy, and there’s bee a lot of buzz about him,” Andrea said. “The thing we get with Justin is he understands the vital statistics that come with us being on that final weekend of the regular season. He’ll know how much money the people need to earn here just to make the NFR.”
McKee and Tarr are just part of the mixture that makes the Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo tick.
“It’s not just a rodeo; it’s entertainment, and Pete understand that,” Andrea said. “Our committee goes above and beyond for the entertainment side of it, and we really try to grow the rodeo every year. This year, though, we’ve done our best just to keep everything the same.
“We’re trying to do the best we can to make it happen.”
That’s where Carr and his team of experts comes in.
“Our committee is real rodeo-oriented and knows a lot about rodeo, but there’s a difference between putting on a rodeo and going to a rodeo,” Andrea said. “That’s the comfort of having Pete and the people he has working for him. They can take care of things before we even think of it.”