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LOVINGTON, N.M. â€“ Over the years, the men and women who organize the annual Lea County Fair and Rodeo work tirelessly to make it one of the best events to hit southeastern New Mexico every summer.
Their work is being recognized at a national level.
In 2013, the members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association nominated the rodeo as one of the top five large outdoor events in the country. With most of the PRCA membership being competing cowboys, it says something about the things being done every year.
â€śWhen I found out weâ€™d been nominated, it took my breath away,â€ť said Corey Helton, chairman of the Lea County Fair Board. â€śIt was such an honor considering who we were competing with, rodeos like Cheyenne (Wyo.) and Pendleton (Ore.) that have such a long history.
â€śTo be nominated in that group is such an honor. I was proud to be part of the fair board.â€ť
There are lots of reasons for that pride. In addition to the rodeo committee being nominated in 2013, Pete Carr was nominated as PRCA stock contractor of the year; Pete Carr Pro Rodeo produces the Lovington rodeo and has for a number of years.
â€śI think we have such a good relationship with Pete, and that makes a difference in our fair and rodeo,â€ť said Greg Massey, chairman of the rodeo committee. â€śIt was very special to me that we were nominated for rodeo of the year the same time Pete was nominated for stock contractor of the year.
â€śWeâ€™ve said for a long time that Pete Carr is one of the best contractors in rodeo, and now everybody in the PRCA agrees.â€ť
Massey has been on the rodeo committee a number of years, and heâ€™s seen the rodeo grow over the years. Now itâ€™s a major part of the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour and hosts the Lea County Xtreme Bulls. Combined with one of the greatest expositions in the region, it is a major stop for ProRodeoâ€™s biggest stars.
â€śIâ€™m also on the rodeo committee, and we work hard,â€ť Helton said. â€śWe go to Las Vegas during the convention and go to the meetings so that we can do things to make our rodeo better and better every year. It takes a lot of work, and every person on the committee is dedicated to making it the best it can be.
â€śBeing nominated is the biggest thing to happen to this fair and rodeo in a long time.â€ť