BRIDGEPORT, Texas – David Petty has seen a few rodeos in his lifetime.
Petty is chairman of the ProRodeo in Claremore, Okla., runs a rodeo scoreboard business with his wife and serves on the executive council of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. He grew up around the sport, and it continues to be a big part of his life.
He thought he’d seen it all, but that changed last May when he was working in Bridgeport. Petty watched the Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo blossom, and he knew a key factor was the rodeo’s first-year with stock contractor Pete Carr, who owns Dallas-based firms Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo.
“It was the professionalism, the production,” Petty said. “It was a well-oiled machine. I tip my hat to the Bridgeport committee. They recognized the need for making a change and stepped up to do it.”
Carr and his crew will return to town to produce the 2013 rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, at the Bridgeport Riding Club Arena. Then two weeks later, they’ll travel to northeast Oklahoma to produce Petty’s Will Rogers Stampede.
“We saw the same kind of need Bridgeport had, and we reached out to Pete to help us with that,” Petty said. “One of the things small rodeo committees are struggling with is we have to have a product to keep people coming back, and Carr Pro Rodeo brings that product that entices people to want to see that show.
“Once people do see it, the chances of them becoming a regular at the rodeo are higher.”
Production is the key to Carr events.
“We try to have the theatrical portion of our show not interfere with the competition side,” said John Gwatney, a production supervisor for the Carr firm. “We try to run a good, fast, clean performance without interfering with the competition.
“That’s where we’re different from other rodeo companies. If we’re not ready, the cowboy has to wait. When it comes time for that cowboy to compete, we’ve done everything we can to make that animal ready for that cowboy, so all he has to do is nod his head.”
It also helps to have some of the top bucking beasts in the sport. Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo had 31 animals at the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. In all, the two companies have had three animals named Bareback Horse of the Year.
“Pete Carr purchased Classic Pro Rodeo earlier this year, and that makes him the biggest and best stock contractor in rodeo right now,” said Loydd Williams, chairman of the volunteer committee that organizes the annual rodeo. “When you put those two companies together, it’s going to be tough to beat in terms of bucking stock and the overall production of rodeo.
“This is not your 1960s stock contractor. This is a great production that fans will love from start to finish. Pete Carr and his crew have made our rodeo better.”
That was the key ingredient behind the decision for the Claremore committee to hire Carr.
“People think Pete is known for having great bucking horses, but there’s a lot more to it,” Petty said. “With his crew, the timed-event end went smoother; everything went smoother. It was just a better product.”
That has Williams and others in Bridgeport excited about fans will experience this year during the two-day rodeo.
“The thing with Pete and his crew is that they put in all the work and handle everything so the production is seamless,” Williams said. “We got so much feedback after having Pete at our rodeo last year that we knew we’d made the best decision for our rodeo.”