STARKVILLE, Miss. – Rodeo is much more than a sport.
It’s a true showcase, the perfect piece of family entertainment. That is the mindset taken by the staff involved with Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, which is bringing its show to the Rotary Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, and Saturday, Feb. 15, at MS Horse Park in Starkville.
“We try to have the theatrical portion of our show not interfere with the competition side,” said Cody Whitney, a production supervisor for the Dallas-based livestock 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.”
That’s very attractive for everyone involved. Fans love it, which makes the experience perfect for local organizers.
“I know I’m going to have a top performance and that we’re going to have top stock that’s been at the National Finals Rodeo,” said Bricklee Miller, an organizer with the Rotary Rodeo. “That’s going to give the contestants the best opportunity to have high-marked rides in the riding events and fast times in the timed events.
“That helps make it a fun event for the fans.”
The overall package is set up for everyone involved. The Carr team works hard to make it a fair competition for the cowboys and cowgirls, then puts in a concerted effort to put together a production that will have fans talking long after the final bull is bucked.
“We micromanage our program ahead of time,” Carr said. “We can’t be perfect, but we can dang sure get as close as we can. We’re always striving to be better, identifying the weaknesses and taking constructive criticism. It’s an everyday challenge, but I think trying to be better is just trying to take it to the next level.
“I’m proud of what we do, but I know we can always find ways to improve things. I like that the people I work with have that same mindset, too.”
The proof is in what happens at each rodeo performance.
“I think the key to the success of a Carr rodeo is a combination of good animals and good production,” Miller said. “I think it’s really important to keep the fans engaged in what they’re watching and be very conscience of the time frame so we can have them enjoy a great show.
“The one thing I’ve found with Pete Carr and his crew is that they’re very attentive to the overall production. They know what it takes to keep the fans engaged.”
It’s a start-to-finish project for the entire Carr staff.
“What starts the production is our version of Americana,” Whitney said. “We’re looking to get peoples’ emotions up, get them on the edge of their seats so when that first animal bucks, the height of the excitement is already up.”