If you’re familiar with the rodeo world, you may not understand where the stock for a rodeo comes from. The person who provides stock is appropriately named a stock contractor.
To start off, there’s usually more than one stock contractor for a rodeo. It’s common for one contractor to bring in the roughstock, the bulls and broncs, and another to bring the steers and calves for the timed events.
The life of a rodeo stock contractor is spent predominantly on the road, traveling from town to town. It can be a solitary life, which is why those who choose this as their career have usually been born into it, and have a passion for preserving the western lifestyle and passing it down to new generations.
When stock contractors are not on the road, they are at home tending to their animals. The stock that you see at rodeos are all considered athletes, which is why they require training. Make no mistake, rodeo stock is well cared for, despite the false claims that animal activist groups make.
In addition to monitoring the health of their stock, training, breeding, and breaking horses, a contractor may also take on additional duties, such as picking up at rodeos.
The life of a stock contractor is demanding, both physically and mentally; I know this from experience, as I have worked alongside several rodeo contractors. These are the people who spend their time working behind the scenes, making sure that each rodeo is a success.
To all of the rodeo stock contractors who work tirelessly day in and day out, my hat goes off to you. Thanks for keeping the Old West alive!