CLAREMORE, Okla. –A decade ago, the organizers of the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo were regularly seeking more sponsorships and hoping to fill the stands.
My, how things have changed. Those same organizers are expecting good crowds for this year’s rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 28-Sunday, May 30, at Stampede Park in Claremore. Sponsors have come through, too, but there are reasons behind the rodeo’s success.
“Pete Carr is very important to our rodeo,” volunteer David Petty said of Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, the stock contractor that produces the annual event. “We were pretty stagnant and needed to do something, and we needed a professional that approached rodeo from a professional point of view.
“The team that Pete has assembled throughout the last seven years we’ve had him are professional, they do their jobs and they do it well.”
The result is in the product that happens in the arena. Rodeo is a mixture of elite athletic competition and family entertainment, and the Carr firm realizes that as well as any livestock producer in professional rodeo. By looking at rodeo as a two-sided puzzle piece, the contestants know the competition will be level, and fans see an engaging show.
“Pete’s got a good following on the roughstock end, and cowboys will make sure they go to a Carr rodeo because they know there are good bucking horses and bulls,” Petty said. “Pete, being a former competitor himself, knew what it took to have a top-notch stock company. I think we’ve got a good partnership with Pete and his crew. Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s always done us a good job.”
Claremore’s rodeo first hired the Carr team in 2013. A year later, the Stampede won the first of its five straight PRCA Small Rodeo of the Year awards. The proof is in the elite contestants that make their way to Rogers County every spring and in increased number of fans that make it part of their lives.
“Pete’s team is in charge of the production of our rodeo,” Petty said. “The thing about Pete Carr Pro Rodeo is that they’re a respected company that guarantees us good contestants and good livestock for those contestants to compete on. They’ve got a tremendous crew. From the guys feeding and sorting in the back pens to the guys handling the production, they’re all important.”
Northeast Oklahoma is home to people that truly understand rodeo, but the Stampede attracts a diversified fan base. That wasn’t always the case.
That’s the case now.
“The simple fact is that people aren’t saying it’s the same-old thing any more like they did for a long time,” he said. “They’re getting their entertainment dollar’s worth. It’s a pretty cheap ticket to see as much entertainment as they get to see.
“When we hired Pete Carr, the coffee-shop talk changed a whole bunch, and people liked what they were seeing at our rodeo. That’s the thing we take pride in.”