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BAY CITY, Texas – Julie Culver likes the small-town feel she gets in this community of nearly 18,000 people southwest of Houston – a stone’s throw from the Gulf of Mexico. There is a distinct personality, and it translates into the Matagorda County Fair and Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 1-Saturday, March 3, at the Matagorda County Fairgrounds. “We have a lot of people who come to our rodeo out of Houston, and they like that it’s a small community and we’re personable and friendly,” said Culver, the fair’s manager. “They can see the relationship between the Board of Directors and the producers. Everybody gets along. It’s like a big family, where everybody’s close.” The team from Pete Carr Pro Rodeo is part of that family and has been for several years. It’s a bond that has been forged through character and understanding of the needs of contestants, fans and sponsors. “Everybody works together to pull it off,” she said. “They work very hard to make sure our event is very family-friendly, and that is important to us.” That includes an award-winning group of individuals that work well together. Carr has been nominated five times for PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year, and the in-house announcer, Andy Stewart, has nine nominations for Announcer of the Year. They are joined by Jeremy Willis, a nominee for Pickup Man of the Year; Clay Heger, a nominee for Bullfighter of the Year; and Sandy Gwatney, the 2016 Secretary of the Year who has been nominated three other times. “Pete and his crew area absolutely fabulous,” Culver said. “They work great with the directors, and they come in behind the scenes and help take care of things. They are all very easy-going people, but they’re very cautious about the cowboys’ safety and the safety of the stock. “The whole thing is very well-rounded. They bring good stock, and that helps bring the cowboys. They’ve been here a long time, so they know.” The biggest name, though, is John Harrison. He has been named the PRCA’s Comedy Act of the Year three times and the Coors Man in the Can three times. He’s also been selected to be the NFR barrelman three times. “We absolutely love John,” Culver said. “He does different acts every night. In this county, the people are creatures of habit, and I have people who come every night. We want to see something different. “He’s also fabulous with our exceptional kids. He’s just an awesome person that makes our rodeo better.” That’s the goal every year, and it’s why some of the top names in the game make their way to Bay City every year.