Legends aren’t just born, they’re bred, and the proof can be seen all over the Pete Carr Pro Rodeo ranch in Athens.
“I started off with zero animals, and I had to build by buying the right animals,” said Carr, a Dallas-based livestock producer who has been recognized as one of the top stock contractors in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association over the last several years. “I focused mainly on mares, then I focused on the best studs that were out there, knowing I had to develop a factory and put everything together that over the next 10, 20 or 50 years would carry on a high level of performance.”
It’s completing a cycle for Carr, a former bareback rider who left the game in 1994 to focus his attention on his general construction contracting firm, Resource Commercial Inc., also based in Dallas.
“Rodeo’s my passion; that’s what I love,” he said. “Who doesn’t want to be a cowboy? I grew up rodeoing as I was working in construction. When I got to the point with my construction company where I could go out and do some other things, rodeo was something I wanted to stay close to.
“Whether it’s my nature, but I seem to get pretty deep into things. I don’t get into something lightly. As I progressed in the rodeo business, I wanted to build it up to be the right company.”
He’s achieved it. He is well known for having some of the best bucking horses and bulls in professional rodeo.
“I look for size, ability, the way they buck, how they jump in the air,” Carr said. “It’s the whole package. It’s definitely a look I try to find. The first sale I went to, I bought Black Coffee and River Boat Annie and a couple of other really nice horses. I know what I like, and when I see it I get it. For whatever reason, it’s worked out, and the horses I like typically end up doing very well.”
Cowboys have liked Carr’s animals. The top 15 cowboys in each of the three roughstock events—bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding—select the horses and bulls that perform at the National Finals Rodeo.
Carr has had as many as 27 in one year at Las Vegas in December and last year had 16. Black Coffee was a six-time NFR bucking horse, and River Boat Annie was there 11 times. Now the next generation is making its mark. Painted River, a 9-year-old mare out of River Boat Annie, is expected to make her fourth trip to the NFR this December.
“I’ve learned a great deal of patience in the rodeo business: Buying these animals and breeding these animals and eventually breaking these animals into the rodeo business and watching them develop,” he said. “We probably have 100 colts right now that people haven’t seen that are ready to go.
“I think the future looks bright with what I’ve seen this year.”
That’s what the cowboys are counting on as they plan for the years to come. —Ted Harbin
Ted Harbin is a longtime journalist who spent 22 years in the newspaper industry before focusing on rodeo. He owns Rodeo Media Relations and TwisTed Rodeo and is one of just eight individuals to be honored with media awards by both the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. He lives in Maryville, Mo., with is wife, Lynette, and their two daughters, Laney and Channing.