Cotton’s Ultimate Challenge returns to the Longhorn Arena
Coming to the Texas Longhorn outdoor rodeo arena July 23, will be the second annual Cotton’s Ultimate Bull Riding Challenge. The first Challenge was so well received that Ray Cotton and rodeo director Coleman Peveto decided to make it an annual event. The second Challenge will be formatted about the same as last year’s, but expanded with entertainment and an addition to the Longhorn drive.
Cotton has a herd of about 25 Longhorn cattle. Last year he and Peveto had the idea to round up some local cowboys and cowgirls, form the herd and drive them around the arena. This year Dan Harris and Bob Ford, both longtime Orange County working cowboys will be in charge of recruiting the drovers for the cattle drive. Harris also has a working horse drawn wagon that will be worked into the drive. With a little use of the mind’s eye it will be easy to imagine how it was on the plains in the days of the drives to Kansas, to the railheads, shipping the cattle to hungry folks in the East.
Peveto is expecting nearly fifty bull riders to get on the books for the show. Last years’ Challenge had 48 riders; more than the Professional Bull Riding in Beaumont. Peveto has lined up four contractors to bring bulls to this year’s challenge. There will be a pen of bulls that will give any rider a hard ride at any time.
The Longhorn arena is very fan friendly. Fans are closer to the action than in many venues. The lighting is good and the sound system is unequaled in the region.
In addition to the longhorn drive, Peveto has used some of his connections to bring to the show Mike “Scooter” Smith. Smith is an award winning rodeo clown. Starting in rodeo as a competitor in bareback and bull riding in 1992, he moved into the cowboy protection side of rodeo in 1995.
Starting small and adding to his acts, Smith started winning awards. The International Professional Rodeo Association is the second largest rodeo association. In 1997 Smith entered the contract acts showcase in the International Finals Rodeo, the IPRA finals, and won second place. Smith went on to place in the showcase five more times. He has been nominated for the prestigious Coors’ “Man in the Can” award six times. There are a total of 14 other contests and awards Smith has won.
Four of Smith’s acts include trained animals. There is Cisco the Kid, a miniature horse, Oz, a miniature Braham bull, Hermit, the Llama, and six “Liberty horses;” these are horses that perform together as a team. Smith also brings a lot of humor to the arena and no two shows are ever the same. It will be exciting to see what he chooses to bring to this show.
As soon as last year’s show ended, Peveto started to critique the event and begin to plan for this year. He will not say what he has in store for crowd other than a special opening and a special buckle presentation between the short go and the long go.
“I have been working on this show for the better part of the year since the last one. Ray and I want this to be the best bull riding of the year and it looks like it will be. We have $1,000 added money, four contractors to bring in some really great bulls, Scooter to put on one or two of his acts and keep the crowd entertained. In addition to the added money we have another custom designed Broken Arrow Silver Company buckle to the winning rider and two buckles to give out in a special presentation, like we did last year,” said Peveto. “We have a really great arena here that can be used for any type of rodeo event. The lighting is good, the seating is good, and the sound system is the best in the area. The fans will not be disappointed with what is planned this year. I have asked Dale Lee, the pastor of the Orange County Cowboy Church to do a special cowboy prayer to open the show. He has agreed to come and will do his prayer from horseback.”
Local bull riding has been scarce since the cessation of the regular scheduled events at the Longhorn’s indoor arena. This will give bull riding fans a great show.
On the schedule at the Longhorn is another ranch rodeo on Aug. 13. Ranch rodeos are gaining in popularity. The four man teams are practicing and getting ready for the event.
For information about rodeo events call the Texas Longhorn at 337-589-5647 or Peveto at 409-504-3557.