JACKSONVILLE, Texas –The staff of Pete Carr Pro Rodeo is a bit like the Wizard of Oz.
There are a lot of behind-the-curtain things happening to help make the Tops in Texas Rodeo make seamless transitions from one aspect of the event to the next. It’s not movie-making nor witchcraft; it’s a detailed approach to making a world-class competition also be a family-friendly night of entertainment.
The Carr crew will show that at this year’s rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, May 13-Saturday, May 15, at the Jacksonville Rodeo Arena.
“Just this past week, John Gwatney came and spoke at the Lion’s Club meeting,” rodeo committee member Penny Hanson said, noting that Gwatney is the Carr firm’s production manager. “He was able to show the other side of it, the behind-the-scenes things they do. It was really interesting, and I think a lot of people learned a lot that day.”
Most, though, aren’t there to identify the production magic; they arrive in the stands for the show, which will feature a record number of 316 contestants entered to compete in Jacksonville. Of those, 36 have qualified to the National Finals Rodeo, the year-end championship in ProRodeo.
The Top in Texas Rodeo will also feature eight world champions, including three-time reigning barrel racing titlist Hailey Kinsel, three-time bareback riding champ Will Lowe, two-time bulldogging winner Hunter Cure and 2015 saddle bronc riding titlist Jacobs Crawley, all of whom have strong Texas roots. In all, the champions account for 16 gold buckles.
“Just seeing the number of contestants is incredible to us, but then when you add that it’s going to be a who’s who in rodeo, it just makes it more exciting,” Hanson said. “We know Pete is going to help bring the contestants. He’s got some of the best livestock in rodeo.
“The top contestants want to come to rodeos he puts on because of that. It’s very exciting for us to have this level of contestants wanting to be part of our rodeo.”
The Carr firm has been nominated for PRCA’s Stock Contractor of the Year a dozen times and has had several animals recognized as horses of the year. From Real Deal to Big Tex to Deuces Night to Dirty Jacket, the Carr brand is easy to identify
“Pete and his crew are very important to our rodeo year after year,” Hanson said. “They are all such professionals that it helps us. From the minute they arrive for our rodeo, they hit the ground running. Our people don’t have to worry about a thing as far as the production of our rodeo.
“Everything runs smoothly because of the team Pete has put together. Over the years, we’ve become really good friends with so many of the people that are part of Pete’s crew. They make everything run better.”
A good relationship between organizer and producer is vital to community events like the Tops in Texas Rodeo. Both entities seek the best outcome possible each night of the rodeo.
When that occurs, magic happens, and a community is thrilled.