Carman drives cattle to local rodeo

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A team roping header throws his loop toward a calf during the 2022 muley team roping at the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo. The volunteer committee uses locally raised cattle for team roping and breakaway roping.

GUYMON, Okla. – The wildfires that devastated the landscape a couple weeks ago are still smoldering in some places in the Texas Panhandle.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire, which scorched more than a million acres of land, was mostly contained earlier this week, but fire officials aren’t ready to call it completely covered. That territory encompasses land just a few miles south of the Oklahoma Panhandle.

It’s been mortifying to watch and even scarier for those in its path, but the people who live in this region prove their resilience. They battle the blazes, and they work hard to recover from disasters like this. It’s in their DNA. They must continue to fight.

“We’ve actually been pretty fortunate here,” said Jeremy Carman, a Texas County businessman who has been closely involved in the planning of the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 3; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 5. “We’ve had some spots, but nothing in Texas County. I’m not sure how people replace their cow herds. It’s going to be tough.”

Carman has watched the situation unfold, all while hundreds of cattle are grazing north of the Texas border. In addition to raising cattle as part of his business practices, he is providing calves for the muley team roping and breakaway roping at the Guymon rodeo. A former chairman of the community’s biggest event, this will be his sixth year of making sure the timed-event cattle are in the right place at the right time.

“I’ve got all those cows bought and should have enough,” he said. “Each run will feature a fresh calf, so you have to have a lot of calves ready for that. I think about 500 head should be enough.”

It’s a labor of love for Carman, who said the initial investment into his herd was a considerable jump from what it has been.

“The cattle market this year has been extremely challenging,” Carman said. “I’d say these lightweight cattle have gone up $500 a head since last year.”

With the baseline of 500 head, that’s an increase of $250,000 if not more. Carman purchases the animals, and Goodwell cowboy brothers Chuck and Ed Hoss care for them. Why is this type of investment important to the producers of the Oklahoma Panhandle’s ProRodeo?

“We had the muley team roping for a long time, and when the prices got too high, we went back to horned cattle for a few years,” Carman said. “Everybody wanted to bring the muleys back. The muley team roping is unique to Guymon, and it brings the cowboy out in those guys. It evens the playing field for all the teams, and that makes it a lot of fun.”

It’s also fun to watch. Because each run is made on a calf that has never been put through the chute system or run at a rodeo, nobody knows how the animal will react. That hint of mystery is appealing for the cowboys and fans alike. This also will be the second year the WPRA will sanction breakaway roping, so having the right calves makes everything better for the competition.

“I think everybody’s excited about adding another women’s event,” Carman said. “We wanted to make sure we had the finances right before we added it, because those girls deserve to be running at even money to what the men do. I think that help sets us apart from a lot of rodeos, too.”


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