DALLAS – When the golden gates open during the 10 rounds at this year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the chances are pretty good the animal bursting out of the chutes will have a Carr brand on them.
Dallas-based stock contractor Pete Carr, owner of Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, will feature 27 animals at the 2013 NFR, a distinction selected by the cowboys that will ride them inside the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The top 15 bareback riders, saddle bronc riders and bull riders selected the 300 best animals to perform with them, and they have named Carr animals as the cream of the crop.
No company has taken that many bucking animals to the NFR in the modern era of rodeo. With almost 90 producers in North America, the Carr firms have the most and nearly 10 percent of the livestock at the NFR.
“For any one stock contractor to take almost 10 percent of the stock to the NFR is incredible,” Rorey Lemmel said. “In today’s age, that’s unheard of. The funny thing is that he’s got a lot more great animals that aren’t going that could go.
“The great thing about Pete is that he keeps reinvesting in the company, which works out for everybody. It helps out the cowboys the most, then that’s passed down to the committees; I think the real winners are the fans, because you get to see the National Finals cowboy come to your rodeo to get on that kind of stock.”
Carr has been nominated as the 2013 Stock Contractor of the Year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, which recognizes the best in the business during the annual awards ceremony that will take place Wednesday, Dec. 4, in Las Vegas, the night before the start of the NFR. When the action commences that Thursday night, the work begins in earnest for the top animals in the game.
“We’ve had a phenomenal year, and it means a lot to me that we’ve got so many animals that have been selected to the NFR,” Carr said. “We work really hard all year to produce the rodeos and feature the stock that will draw the top cowboys, so it’s great that they want to get on these horses and bulls when they get to the finals.”
Carr will have 12 bareback horses, five saddle broncs and 10 bulls, which is proof of the all-around talent that spends most of its time on lush grassland on Carr’s ranch near Athens, Texas.
“It shows you Pete is somebody that puts a lot of work into getting the best horses around,” said Heath Ford, the bareback riding representative in the PRCA. “They’ve not only got the best horses, but they put them out there for us to see. He still has a lot of great horses that weren’t selected this year, but if you care about it, you know you’re going to continue to build that program.
“We all know Pete is going to continue to build that. We all have a lot of respect for him.”
Over the last few weeks, Ford has worked with the other top bareback riders to select the 100 horses for the NFR, and no other stock contractor in the game has more bareback horses or bulls than Carr.
“Pete has put together a good set of bulls,” said J.W. Harris, the No. 1 bull rider in the world standings and a three-time world champion from Mullin, Texas. “I think he wants to show that he’s got great bulls to go with his great horses.
“You know when you go to his rodeo’s you’re going to get on a good one. I like going to Pete’s rodeos because he’s got good people who work for him, but having all those good animals sure makes it easier for us to go to. Pete Carr’s come a long ways in just a few years.”
Yes, he has, acquiring Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo earlier this year. That, combined with Carr Pro Rodeo, makes Carr the largest stock contractor in the PRCA. At this year’s NFR, he will have more stock than any other contractor that will be at ProRodeo’s grand finale.
“When you’re talking about people like Pete Carr, there’s no way they are getting as much back out of it as they put into it,” Lemmel said. “They’re truly trying to make the sport that much better.”
As a cowboy, Lemmel knows. He’s been around rodeo all his life, and he has witnessed many of the greatest pieces of the game’s history.
“When you look at the fact that there are around 80 stock contractors and one firm is taking that many head to the National Finals, it is pretty dang impressive,” he said. “Ultimately, a cowboy’s window is so small that they have to be greedy. They have to take the best livestock to the National Finals. They might make the NFR once or twice, maybe five times, but it’s very rare to have a guy like Billy Etbauer and Tommy Reeves that have gone 20 times.
“They want the chance to get on the best livestock at the NFR and make the most out of that opportunity. That’s why the cream rises to the top.”
Now the NFR will feature ProRodeo’s cream of the crop, which includes 27 Carr bucking beasts. They’ll help electrify the City of Lights.