Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the statewide mask mandate, and annual events are returning to the calendar. That includes the Nacogdoches Pro Rodeo & Steer Show, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 25-Saturday, March 27, at the Nacogdoches County Exposition and Civic Center.
“I’m looking forward to feeling like an American again,” said Anita Scott, executive director of the expo and civic center. “I’m looking forward to hearing that prayer from our announcer, Andy Stewart, everybody taking off their hats and standing for the national anthem, and feeling and experiencing that good feeling the rodeo brings.”
A big part of that feeling comes from the team at Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, which produces the event every year. The Carr team has some of the best bucking stock in ProRodeo, and that’s an attractive feature for the cowboys that ride them. The professional crew that is part of the stock contracting firm is also recognized as an experienced and talented group.
“The presentation, the production and the personnel he brings is simply amazing, and we look forward to them coming to Nacogdoches,” Scott said. “They’re professionals. It’s a professional rodeo from the back pens to the arena and everywhere in between.”
Carr bucking animals have graced the expo and civic center every year since 2013 and are a major part of the success that’s occurred in east Texas. Over time, though, Scott has leaned on Pete Carr, the owner and operator of the Dallas-based outfit.
“Whenever I’m having a problem, I can call Pete up,” she said. “He has a wealth of contacts and information to help me. Just being able to call him and having us work together to solve whatever problems may arise is very refreshing.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has instigated several changes for this year’s event. The seating capacity will be 50 percent of normal for all three performances, and the hospitality area will be designated just for VIPs; in a typical year, contestants are allowed in the hospitality section, but Scott and other organizers are trying to decrease exposure.
“When I was stressing about my hospitality, Pete said, ‘don’t worry about that, because these cowboys and cowgirls just want to rodeo,’ ” said Scott, who noted that local money in the purse has increased to $20,000. “To be able to express my concerns was nice, and he made me feel so much better.”
Once the show starts, though, that’s when Carr and his team go to work. There’s an electricity in the air, and it is shared across the building.
“The caliber of stock we see on TV at the big rodeos will be the same ones we’ll see right here in Nacogdoches,” she said. “They’re the ones the cowboys want to ride, and that helps make our rodeo that much better.
“It’s a good rodeo. We’ve always had a good rodeo, and I love that we’ve continued that.”