Cowboy and his American mustangs to perform at Hamel Rodeo
Photo Credit: Giorigo Trovato
The Mustang Man is headed to Hamel.
For this year’s Hamel Rodeo, Bobby Kerr, renowned horse and dog trainer, will perform as specialty act during each performance of the rodeo July 6-9, 2023.
The Hico, Texas cowboy will bring his mounts: Poncho, Trigger, Newt and JT, wild mustangs he has trained.
The horses do a variety of things: work as liberty horses (with no bridle or reins), responding to physical and verbal cues from Kerr, spin, make lead changes, and lay down as he shoots a gun over them.
Cow dogs are part of the act, too. At Kerr’s whistle commands, a dog jumps into Kerr’s arms while he is on horseback, while the mustang demonstrates its athleticism and ability to handle cattle. The dog works as the cow, while the mustang does the “cutting.” Then another horse comes into the arena, working at liberty -with voice commands only -from Kerr.
The grand finale of each show is when his main horse, Poncho, jumps into the seat of Kerr’s 1936 Chevrolet (the Good N Broke limo, he calls it) as Kerr gets in the driver’s seat and drives out of the arena.
It’s a testament to the bond between man and animal, and what can be accomplished with the American mustang.
Kerr has bonded with the Mustangs and they trust him. He spends hundreds of hours with them, teaching them, loving on them, and showing them he is trustworthy.
His superb talent with horse training was evident when he won the Ft. Worth Stock Show and Rodeo’s Mustang Magic Celebrity Freestyle competition in February, in which competitors were required to put on a six-minute show, using at least one mustang. He pocketed $25,000 for the win.
Kerr got his start with mustangs more than ten years ago, when he participated in the Mustang Makeover, finishing in the top five both years he took part in it (2011-2012) and competing in the Mustang Million in 2013, a mini-series on NatGeo Wild. He finished second on one mustang in the million dollar contest and third on another one.
He’s won recognition in the PRCA, too, being selected as the PRCA Dress Act of the Year four times (2017, 19, 2021-2022) and being selected to work the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2016.
People love the mustangs and the dogs, and Kerr loves to show the public the adaptability and intelligence of the mustangs. He appreciates what the horses have taught him. “They’ve changed my whole outlook on training horses,” he said. “I get along with them, buddy up to them, and get their talent to shine.”
As a young man, he competed as a tie-down roper, bronc rider and bull rider, but his artistic talents always shone through. To pay for rodeo entry fees, he painted lettering on trucks as he went down the rodeo road. He’s done metal art and has built western furniture, like a chandelier from a wagon wheel, leather lampshades with green leather fringe and buck stitching, and a bed with cedar corner fence posts.
He and son Cody built a rodeo chopper, a custom motorcycle, with a hand painted road map on the fenders and fuel tank and the intake as a horse head with its mouth wide open. Just a few years ago, he started another project, silver engraving.
Several years ago, he and his wife Susan, who married in 1984, began the Texas Cowboys Hall of Fame Museum in Hico, which was eventually moved to Ft. Worth.
Whatever he does, he’s all in. “When I get into it, I’m 120 percent,” he said. “You get a dream and you go with it, and when it turns out, it’s a pretty rewarding moment.”
He and Susan travel across the U.S. with their animals and have performed at rodeos across the country: from Helena, Montana to San Antonio. This is his first year to entertain at the Hamel Rodeo.
This year’s Hamel Rodeo is July 6-9 at Corcoran Lions Park in Corcoran. Performances begin at 7:30 pm each night, with a 1 pm matinee on Saturday, July 8.
All tickets are general admission and are $25, except for the Saturday matinee; those tickets are $18.
To purchase tickets and for more information, visit the website at HamelRodeo.org.