Garth Brooks says it best, “ it’s bulls and blood, it’s dust and mud, it’s the roar of a Sunday crowd…” all of this pertaining to the great thing we call, a rodeo. Some people are born into it, some have the fire to start from scratch, and some are blessed with the opportunity later in life. At the end of the day, there is no wrong way to get there, either way, you end up going down the rodeo road and you just never look back.
I am going to be perfectly honest with you all, I truly, one hundred percent wanted to be a stock contractor. No joke! Something about the production of the show, the care of the stock, the lifestyle, I wanted it. I wanted it so bad, I was doing all the research I could to figure out how to get started. Little did I know what battles lay ahead of me if I had gone that route, but the lifestyle still fascinates me. For this CLN Insider, I wanted to give you the inside scoop on stock contracting. The backbone of any successful rodeo.
For most rodeo goers, you sit on the edge of your seat when the gates are pulled and the bull or bronc comes flying out with a cowboy on his back, but that is all you see. The show starts and ends there for everyone watching, but there is a whole back production that goes on in order for that bull or bronc to come out of that gate safely.
Stock contractors know their stock, inside and out. They know how they sit in the chute, they know how they are going to come out, they know whether they are going to run or come right to the gate; these are all things that play a part in the show you see in the arena. The contractor then has to relay that information to the pick-up men who, really, are the heroes on horseback. Most pick-up men who travel with the same contractor get to know the stock just as well as the contractors do, in most cases.
There is so much more to it than just the “eight-second ride”, most people don’t see the countless hours put in taking care of sick stock, the hours on the road, or feeding the animals before even feeding themselves. Being a stock contractor isn’t just about providing the animals for the show, it’s a lifestyle that you have to love and be dedicated to. I have been lucky enough to know a few contractors in my short time, and let me tell you, it is so much more than “the boots and chaps and cowboy hats”.
I hope you enjoyed this CLN Insider, brought to you by all of the great stock contractors that have inspired me over the years. I am looking forward to doing a more in-depth article on contracting a little later, but if you liked this article, make sure to share it and follow Cowboy Lifestyle Network on social media.
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