BIG SPRING, Texas – The Big Spring Rodeo Bowl will be the showcase for some of the greatest animal athletes in the sport.
The foundation, though, is on the Carr Pro Rodeo ranch southeast of Athens in east Texas. It’s where bucking horses and bulls are pampered and where trees align pastureland to provide shade and cover. It’s where established athletes are matched to create the next generation of stars.
“We definitely take care of the animals,” said Pete Carr, owner of the Dallas-based livestock firm, which serves as the primary stock contractor for the 79th annual Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo, set this year for 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, June 21-23.
“Jeff Collins is our ranch manager, and he takes care of everything as if it were his own. That means a lot to me and my wife. We know we can trust everything he does.”
From the right feed to the acres of grassland, the Carr Pro Rodeo ranch is a great place for great animal athletes.
Right now, mares that have performed at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo – from River Boat Annie to Black Coffee – are providing the TLC to their weeks old colts, fathered by NFR bucker Korczak. Yes, it’s 375 miles from the Rodeo Bowl to the Carr ranch, but the fans who pack the Big Spring stadium get to see the result of great breeding when they watch the animals in action.
For instance, River Boat Annie was named the reserve world champion bareback horse in 2007 and has been to the NFR every year since. She has three colts that are being prepared for their trips to Las Vegas.
“She’s got a 3-year-old colt that we just bucked with a dummy,” Collins said about one of the first arena experiences for young horses.
The device is controlled by a remote control that, when clicked, releases a lock on the dummy so it feels as though the dummy is bucked off. In order to give the young buckers confidence, Collins hits the remote trigger at three seconds.
“When River Boat’s colt bucked, it was so cool and so electric that it took everything I had to push that button,” Collins said. “You hope to see that kind of action every time that horse bucks.”
That’s what Carr is hoping and why he’s invested into the breeding program as much as he has. Korczak bucked at the NFR in both bareback riding and bronc riding, which makes him a valuable portion of the breeding program. The paint horse’s genetics flow quite easily among many of the colts on the ranch.
“I’m excited by what we’re seeing as far as our breeding program,” Carr said. “Over the years, I’ve gone out and acquired great animals, both horses and bulls. I want to produce great rodeos, entertaining rodeos. To do that, you have to have the best contestants. To get the best contestants, you have to have good livestock.
“I’m happy that our breeding program is contributing to that.”
The foundation for a great rodeo lies on an east Texas ranch, but the benefits are found in Big Spring.