Rocky Mountain Pro Rodeo Company is stock contractor again this year for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Posse PRCA Rodeo. RMPR owner Will Cook said that his bulls and bucking horses have been to “all the big rodeos” and many are championship quality.

Rodeo fans can look forward to some championship rough stock coming out of the chutes at the 59th annual Johnson County Sheriff’s Posse PRCA Rodeo, tonight through Saturday at the Johnson County Sheriff’s Posse Grounds in Cleburne.

Will Cook, owner of Rocky Mountain Pro Rodeo Company, said his company has brought “all the rodeo stock and personnel” to Cleburne for the rodeo.

“The bulls, the horses, the bulldogging cattle, the team roping cattle, the calves —we bring all of that,” Cook said. “And we bring the announcer, the funny man [the bullfighter who also entertains the crowd with jokes and skits], the bull fighters, the pick-up men, the chute help. We do it all.”

But it is the “rough stock” — the bulls and the bucking broncs — that the rodeo fans love to see. And Cook said his company has some of the best.

Of the bulls that Cook has brought to Cleburne, 15 have been to the Championship Bull Riding Finals, and four have been to the Professional Bull Riding Finals. Several more, he said, “are on their way” to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

The bull named Wipe Out on the roster for tonight’s rodeo “has been to all the finals,” Cook said. “I think he’s been ridden [the full eight seconds] maybe once in the last two years. And then there’s Playboy. He’s a young bull and unless he gets injured, he should be at all major finals in the next year or so.”

Cook said he has brought saddle broncs to Cleburne that have “been to all the big rodeos,” including horses named John Wayne and Big Bang Theory.

And when it comes to the bareback broncs, “Cimarron [is] here again this year. Cowboys have won on him twice here at Cleburne,” he said. “Let’s just say they’d all like to draw him” as their mount in the bareback bronc-riding competition.

Sheriff’s Posse Capt. David Welty said Wednesday that local rodeo organizers have been thoroughly pleased with the quality of the stock Cook and his company have brought to Cleburne.

“There are several ways to gauge the success of a rodeo. Some people base it on [profit]. But another way is to look at the number of cowboys and cowgirls who want to come and compete there,” Welty said. “And in the short time that Mr. Cook has been our stock contractor, we have seen our rodeo grow tremendously. This year, we have the most contestants signed up to compete that we have ever had. And that’s a real compliment to Will Cook and his company. These cowboys know that with the stock he brings to the rodeo, they can swing their leg over that animal and have a real good chance of walking away with a check.”

And it isn’t just the number of contestants that’s impressive, Welty said — it’s also the quality of the competitors coming to Cleburne, too.

“We’ve got more top 10 cowboys and cowgirls here this year than we have had in a long, long time. These are some true champions. And we couldn’t be happier with the quality of the stock and the quality of the competition.”

Cook had equally complimentary things to say about the Johnson County Sheriff’s Posse, too.

“That bunch work their butts off putting this rodeo together. They are one of the oldest committees left in the country putting on rodeos like this, and they do an outstanding job,” he said. “They raise all the money, and then they turn around and put that money right back into their community. Not many rodeo committees of their caliber left anymore. They are a dying breed.”

Although this is only Rocky Mountain Pro Rodeo’s third year as stock contractor for the Cleburne rodeo, Cook said the company itself has been around for 31 years. He said his company takes stock to about 30 rodeos every year across Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.

“I used to ride myself, and I always kept a few horses around. Then I added stock for the timed events. At first, I would just lease the stock out to other stock contractors [to take to rodeos], but then I decided to do it all myself,” Cook said.

Cook and his two sons — Todd Cook and Casey Cook — own and operate Rocky Mountain Pro Rodeo together. It is, Will Cook said, a family business in every aspect.

“My sons work with me, and at least one of us it at every rodeo we send stock to,” he said. “I don’t let any of our stock go nowhere without at least one of us going, too. The animals are family, too, you know. And most of our employees are second generation employees.

“I’d say with about 80 percent of them, their parents used to work for me. So yeah, it’s a family business all the way.”

But the elder Cook admits that he lets his sons —both of whom will be doing pick-up duty in Cleburne — do most of the work now.

“I used to do it all myself, but they pretty well run it all these days,” he said. “I act like it makes me mad. But it doesn’t. Why would I be mad at somebody else doing all the work?”

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