Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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May 14, 2014

Ranch care big part of brand, rodeo

JACKSONVILLE — When Clay McCallie looks around the Carr ranch near Athens, he sees the magnificence.

The ranch is home to tree-lined pastures and the greatest bucking stock in professional rodeo, and it’s McCallie’s task to take care of every inch and every breathing being on the place.

He takes his job quite seriously, and the proof comes every time those animals perform.

“It’s just like any other sport; if you don’t take care of yourself at home, you can’t expect to compete at your best,” said McCallie, the ranch manager. “You want to be in top quality shape. Since these are animals, it’s our job to make sure they’re taken care of here so when they get to the rodeo, they’re ready to perform at

their best.”

The great animals from Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo will show all that off during the Tops in Texas Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. nightly Thursday through Saturday, at the arena near the former Lon Morris College.

“Pete Carr wants to have a good rodeo everywhere we go, and it all starts right here on the ranch,” said Jeremy Hight, the assistant ranch manager who also serves at a pickup man at numerous Carr rodeos throughout the season. “Every person on our team pays attention to the animals, and they know that’s the biggest part of our job is to care for the animals.

“We want to have the best bucking horses, the best bucking bulls and the best timed-event cattle we can have at every rodeo, so it takes a lot of attention to detail every step of the way to make that happen.”

Hight was raised in East Texas and has been around livestock all his life. He has focused his attention to rodeo over the last five years. But McCallie was raised in the rodeo business with his family’s livestock firm, based in Benton, Ark. He brings that experience – as well as several years as a contestant – to his post.

“I look at every animal here every day,” McCallie said. “From riding horses to bucking horses to other horses, we have about 250 horses here, and I make sure that everything is good. We regulate what every animal eats and how we care for every animal. It’s part of our ranch management, making sure everything is cared for.”

Most of the work for the rodeo company takes place on the ranch. Most animals will perform at less than 20 rodeos a season, so most of their time is spent on the ranch. It’s vital they receive the utmost tender loving care possible.

“When you look at the stock that comes from the two companies, it’s an incredible load of talent we take to every rodeo,” Hight said, referring to Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo. “I’m in a unique deal where I’m the pickup man and also work at the ranch. Pete’s done a good job of getting the right people in the right places. The stock is looking great.

“I’m fortunate that I get to look out my window at all these great animals every day, then I get to see them perform at the rodeos. For someone like me who just loves horses, it’s pretty incredible.”

The animals are pretty incredible, too; the same can be said about the people who care for them.

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