“My reason for being in the business is not necessarily to make money. There are a lot of other things I could be doing,” PRCA Stock Contractor Ike Sankey said., “but I enjoy being around these horses and bulls. That’s why I’m in this business.” Many bucking horses live into their 20s, which is old for a performance horse A strong relationship grows between many of the animals and the stock contractors and their families.“Each of the animals has its own personality, and we get to know them well,” said Sankey. “When they retire, they live out their lives on one of my ranches. When they pass on, we bury them on my property.” It’s a misconception, however, to think rodeo animals can be treated like house pets. These are not cuddly, affectionate dogs and cats that come running at the sound of their names.
They are tough ranch animals.
Veterinarians will tell you that animals belonging to professional rodeo stock contractors receive better care than many house pets or non-rodeo ranch stock. “The rodeo animals I have been involved with are in as good condition as any horses I have worked on,” said Dr. Doug Corey, a large animal veterinarian from Pendleton, Ore.
“I have seen animal caretakers go hungry due to time spent feeding, watering, bedding and tending to the stock following performances, ”said Dr. Jennifer Schleining of Ames, Iowa. “Contractors invest hard-earned money,resources and time building a reputable business in providing quality rodeo stock. Healthy, well-cared-for animals are the center of the successful rodeo production. Quality animals draw good cowboys to the rodeo, which in turn draws the audience.”