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CROSSETT, Ark. – The celebration in this southern Arkansas community is always a big deal in August.
But the party really gets going this year for the Crossett Riding Club PRCA Rodeo, which will celebrate its 70th year with four performances set for 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8-Saturday, Aug. 11, at Cap Gates Arena in Crossett.
“We have a good history,” said Marty O’Fallon, a longtime member of the volunteer committee that organizes the annual event. “Back 20 to 30 years ago when the cowboys could go to as many rodeos as they wanted, we got all the big names in Crossett. But when the PRCA put limits on the guys, that kind of hurt us.
“Then we hired Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, whose got the best stock going and the most stock that’s been to the National Finals Rodeo over the last few years, and that gives the cowboys the option. When they come here, no matter what they get on they know they have a chance to win money.”
That’s important to the cowboys and cowgirls that make their livings in rodeo. But it’s also important to fans who flock to Crossett for the town’s rodeo every year. They know because of the history and Carr that they will draw many of the top contestants every year.
“We’ve more than doubled our added money in the last 10 years,” O’Fallon said. “That’s helped. It makes it worth coming to Crossett. It’s worth going a little bit out of the way for good livestock and a good payday. That’s a very busy weekend in rodeo, and we still draw well.
“We also have some of the best hospitality of anywhere around. A cowboy’s not going to leave Crossett hungry. We’re going to try to take care of them.”
The contestants know. The list of 2017 winners includes bull rider Sage Kimzey, the reigning four-time world champion; Jacobs Crawley, the 2015 saddle bronc riding champion; and bareback rider Jake Brown, a three-time NFR qualifier well on his way to a fourth trip to Las Vegas in December.
Add to that the award-winning livestock from Carr, the 2014 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Stock Contractor of the Year and a five-time finalist for PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year. The firm has had more animals selected to the NFR than any other stock contractor over the last five seasons.
“Pete is a very big part of our rodeo,” O’Fallon said. “When we do our advertising, we have really pushed that Pete Carr is the very best in ProRodeo and that he brings the big names and the great stock to town.”
Carr isn’t the only award-winner to be part of Crossett’s rodeo. Scott Grover, the 2017 WPRA Announcer of the Year, has been a fixture in Crossett for the last decade. That’s been a big change from previous years.
“The longest-tenured announcer we had was five years before we got Scott,” said O’Fallon, who explained that former board members used to change announcers every year. “Since we’ve been on the board, we took the attitude that we want Scott Grover to be the voice of Crossett’s rodeo.”
It’s a major reason the Crossett Riding Club PRCA Rodeo remains one of the best.