The stockbroker of the Eagle County Fairgrounds
EAGLE, Colorado – This is Coffee Bean. Not the guy in the cowboy hat and sunglasses. That’s Pete Carr and he’s Coffee Bean’s boss, or as much of a boss as Coffee Bean is willing to put up with.Carr is back as the stock contractor for this year’s Eagle County Fair and Rodeo, supplying the rough stock – bucking broncos and bulls – that will try to disembowel some perfectly delightful young men. Those young men will do their darndest not to be disemboweled. It’s a dirt dance and they do it all the time.If thunder meets lightning, and it usually does, they’ll ride River Boat Annie, a mare with more trips to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas than a slot machine repairman. Or maybe they’ll draw Real Deal, the 2005 Bucking Horse of the Year, or Grass Dancer, whose only job is to throw cowboys through the hole in the ozone and on whom Ryan Gray set a world record last year in Eagle. It’s all business and it’s all about the score. The more points and money the cowboys accumulate, the better their chances of making the NFR in Las Vegas. The more talented the animal they’re trying to ride, the better their score will be.Half a cowboy’s points depend on the horse or the bull, so the more gawd-awful the animal behaves, the better.Cowboys like Carr’s crew because every time they’re astride some of his stock, they know they have a chance to win, says cowboy Ted Harbin.”You want every guy to have a chance. The guy who draws a colt that’s only been bucked twice doesn’t have that chance,” Harbin said.
Coffee Bean and those in her line of work actually work about 80 seconds a year. That’s not a typo – 80 seconds. They’ll buck 10 times a year. Carr is a great boss. We all want a boss like Carr. They’ll buck twice this weekend in Eagle, then they’ll buck again in Lovington, N.M., next weekend. Then they’ll be off until October. Before this week they have not bucked in two months. A good bucking horse has a 15-year career. Carr has had some still bucking when they’re 30.Carr’s horses’ other job is to get together with equine creatures of the opposite gender and create little bucking buckaroos. This they do about 45 days a year. If a stud is doing this job, he’ll breed 30 colts a year.That 46th day the guys can be a little cranky.Carr understands that you get what you pay for. Take a stroll through the corrals behind the reviewing stand and you’ll see 10 mares that each cost an average of $30,000. Bill Clinton didn’t pay that much for his girls. Eliot Spitzer did. Like we said, you get what you pay for.Carr tries not to play favorites, but River Boat Annie’s picture is welded to the side of his horse trailer. A man cannot love a girl more than that.
How, then, does one train horses and bulls to buck like River Boat Annie and Real Deal or Grass Dancer or Coffee Bean? You’d be trying to teach Nancy Pelosi to sing like Aretha Franklin; you can’t do it.”They’re bred to do it,” Carr patiently explained. “If they don’t like to buck, you can’t make them do it.”When horses hit about 2 years old, Carr and company put mechanical dummies on them to see how they react. If they react badly, that’s good.Horses buck naturally, and only stop bucking when they’re taught that it’s not in their best interests. Carr’s horses are not broke for anything, although Coffee Bean did break cowboy Cody Dumas’ back.Carr was raised on rodeo, competing in high school then professionally for 15 years. He founded Carr Rodeo to earn a respectable living in rodeo after he got tired of collecting his body parts in a plastic basket.Eagle is a special place, Harbin says, and Carr brings his best horses here. He loves all the rodeos he’ll do this summer, but Pete loves us best.