Special at the Empire – Tribune
BIG SPRING – Dane Driver and the rest of the volunteers who organize the Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo are doing everything they can to attract more and more people to the annual event.
It all started with building a fanbase, and it culminates in adding more competitors to compete, starting with this year’s event, scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday, June 16 through Saturday, June 18 at Rodeo Bowl.
For the folks in this West Texas community of 28,000, it comes down to seeing intense competition, and a big part of that equation comes from Dallas-based Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s outstanding livestock and production.
“The luxury of having Pete as a stock contractor is the kind of bucking stock we get here is the kind cowboys want to ride,” said Driver, a longtime volunteer committee member. “It’s not like he only has one or two winners in his trailer; he brings many good horses and bulls to our rodeo.
Carr is one of ProRodeo’s leading cattlemen, having been nominated for Livestock Contractor of the Year 12 times in a row. His herd not only includes world champion bucking horses, but is also full of proven winners in bareback riding, bronc saddle and bull riding.
The Big Spring Committee has upped the ante by increasing its local money in the stock market to nearly three times what it was a year ago. That, combined with what the Carr firm brings to the table, pays off during rodeo week.
“We were Pete’s first rodeo when he got his card years ago,” Driver said. “With him comes the professionalism and the quality of the stock. The caliber of his staff – whether it’s John Gwatney as the drop boss or the timekeepers or the secretary or the pick-up men or even the guys at the back – it’s all top notch.
“If you want your rodeo to run and be a spectator event, it has to run like a well-oiled machine, and it doesn’t just happen. This happens thanks to everyone Pete brings with him to produce our rodeo.
Production is vital in rodeo today. Everything is going perfectly, despite the rodeo being an animal-focused event. It’s thanks to the members of the Carr team who understand the need to put on a great show. Rodeo is more than a competition; every performance is also an evening of family fun.
“There are production challenges here at Big Spring, but they’re handling everything well,” Driver said. “It has to happen both backstage and in the arena for a two-hour show to go the way we plan.
“When you have someone like Pete and his team members, you have partners to overcome the obstacles you face.”
It’s something the people of Big Spring expect from their rodeo.