Create Bridges: Small Business - Big Rural Impact

Episode 8: Going Pro Ain't No Bull Part 2

December 31, 2020 Create Bridges AR Season 1 Episode 8
Create Bridges: Small Business - Big Rural Impact
Episode 8: Going Pro Ain't No Bull Part 2
Show Notes Transcript

On this last episode of 2020, we pick-up on the rest of the interview with Cline Hall and Cody Whitten of Generations Pro Rodeo. In this conclusion, we continue our discussion about the Entertainment industry, their philosophy to work through obstacles and Cline shares with us a BIG surprise announcement on the future goals for the rodeo in Ash Flat. We are glad you are with us on this journey of celebrating and encouraging businesses in rural Arkansas, and we look forward to talking with more of you in 2021. 

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Hello, everyone. My name is Hazelle Whited, Create Bridges program coordinator for the Ozark Foothills.

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On this last episode of 2020, we'll pick up on the rest of the interview with Cline Hall and Cody Whitten of Generations Pro Rodeo.

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In this conclusion, we continue our discussion about the entertainment industry,

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their philosophy to work through obstacles and Cline shares with us a big surprise announcement on the future goals for the rodeo

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in Ash Flat. We're glad you're here with us on this journey of celebrating and encouraging businesses in rural Arkansas.

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And we'll look forward to talking with you more in 2021. Come join us, explore the impact of small business here in rural Arkansas.

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What challenges would you face? Who can help you meet those challenges? How do you get in touch with others like you?

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This is great. Bridges, Arkansas. And we invite you to come cross these bridges with us.

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That's amazing. And that kind of leads me to the time of year.

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I mean, we're in the end of the year of 2020, which in the beginning of this year looked a little bleak, right in springtime when Covid hits.

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So, you know, part of me wants to ask that that standard question of how did it affect you.

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But I guess I really, after knowing you've still gone to National, you still were able to put on PRCA shows.

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You actually went through Covid. I guess really what I want to ask is what helped you push so hard through Covid and just keep on going?

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Twenty years of feeding bulls in the dark and rolling round bails to the snow. Being broke down on the side of th  e road.

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We could tell stories all day long. We're laughing about one thing while ago. Blowing up a motor. We're blowing up a motor in south Arkansas,

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calling a rodeo, friend of mine. And next thing you know, we're in his dad shop putting stuff together. We lost a rear end one year on a truck in Gillette, Wyoming.

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We bought a new truck. We just dropped with us, pulled in, unhooked the bulls, loaded another truck and left. Left that truck there.

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And whatever the damage was, what the damage was. That, you know, we also went to Martin,

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Tennessee, one time and a good friend of ours actually stayed with me.

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I lost a transmission on the way home and I called like three different friends.

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And one of these friends isn't a rodeo person. He is just kind of a right or die guy.

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And they called him and said, hey, you know, I need you to come right now.

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Bring a trailer, load this truck, you know. And then the other boy hooked onto the bulls.

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And he actually before he hooked on, he took his truck and we pushed him flatbed the flatbed to push the one on and brought it home,

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you know, in 20 years, in 20 years of that stuff.

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And, you know, then on rodeo since 2009, no disrespect to anybody with Covid but we were not going to let Covid stop us.

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That wasn't gonna be what stopped our year.

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Like I said, we have to adapt in this business any way. any business has to, they ever touched on this a little bit earlier about.

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But you've got to keep moving forward on stuff. And if if you let something stop you, then then you're going to fail.

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You've got to keep. You've got to keep going. Even just step aside of Covid, on a normal day to day basis.

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You adapt. You know, you've got to make sure your product you're selling is the right kind of product you're in.

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You can't get mind locked to think that it's going to work no matter what.

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You have to keep moving forward. And so it did hurt us. But actually, we made it through this year, probably a lot better than we suspected we would.

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When we first started we kind of thought of this ain't going to work. But through the PRCA,

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they they helped us with some, I guess, leniency.

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And we had lots of planning that had to go in to make sure that they were safe for the spectators and stuff like that.

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But so the one thing that saved us was our small hometown.

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And having this rodeo here is what saved us. We were we were really going strong when Covid hit.

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I just blew the motor out of my Peterbilt. Just got it. Just got a new one put in there. 

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And we were really going strong. I was in Maine with a load of bulls, farthest I've ever gone.

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And Cody and the crew went to Florida and we had the bulls, the trucks and everything in Florida.

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And I was in Maine. We moved back to Dothan, Alabama the next week.

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Lexington first. And that's where the motor. Yeah. Lexton, Kentucky, the motor blew.

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Then we get it fixed to send it to Florida. I'm in Maine and Cody and the other guys.

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were comming back through Alabama had a show and then everything is..  so the bulls, the arena the truch and everything are not coming home.

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Yeah, they've been gone for four or five weeks by that time. Yeah. So then they I mean, these bulls, they live on the road sometimes.

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And so do we.  So, then they move to Gonzalez, Louisiana, have the full arena setup.

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The bulls are there. The crew is there. I've made it back from Main.

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I'm there. The whole group's together, we're setting up and Covid starts getting talked about really hard.

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And we set up the full arena not knowing what was gonna happen.

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Night before the show already sold out tickets. You know, tickets are sold out.

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Show starts tomorrow when the government officials in Gonzalez, Louisiana, told us we were... Essentially the governor said he would send the military.

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Yeah, I said you'll just have to we have to send them.

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He said (the Governor) they'll be here in a little while.

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Yeah. We said, okay, well, we were just kidding. We said we would start tearing down the arena.

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So that's it hit us hard when it hit because we didn't think we could be shut down.

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You know, we know it's the American way.

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You know, we've we've always been, you know, the country that you as long as you're not stepping on someone else, you can do what you want.

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You can you be whatever you want to be, you know, as long as you're not pushing someone back, doing it.

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And that was, that is the biggest thing to me growing up

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the way I have. How this has affected me is, is there is limitations on business.

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You know, they can't break your spirit or nothing, but they can limit you on what you can do and out of respect.

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You still respect them and you do what they asked and you try to do what's best for everyone.

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You know, you financially. That's been a tough burden for probably me.

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And a lot of a lot of small businesses in this area is you have to what 

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you have to do to keep going, but you have to do it respectfully of other people's lives and families and stuff like that.

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Especially in entertainment. You go to the rodeo now they're in the Covid deal

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You'll have half the people at the rodeo don't want to wear a mask and are mad because you've got these guidelines,

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you can't sit down six feet of other people. And you got the other half the public that are

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mad because these people aren't following the rules and they're trying to follow the rules. And and so then you're out there in the middle.

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You have to set up some guidelines and try to enforce it to keep everybody happy.

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You know, both parties are going to have to figure out, you know, we're gonna have we're gonna have fun at the rodeo regardless.

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That's one of the small outdoor venue we have here at Ash Flat.

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We had the best year. We okay. So on the row, we've had the worst year on the row we've ever had.

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Okay, well, here at Ash Flat, where we live, we've had the best year we've ever had.

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And it's really brought like the community people together more in the outside rodeos,

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like, you know, people's kind of got to we've gotten soft, we've gotten where 

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we got air airconditioned and we've got you know, we have to have all these things.

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And so some of that's harder on our rodeos because when the weather gets bad, we actually see a big drop in numbers just due to temperature.

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And we understand nobody wants to be out there in the hot sun. But this year it really didn't reflect because everybody wanted to be outside.

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It's just like camper sales. I was talking to someone on camper sales has been unheard of this year because everybody and their brother wanted to go camping,

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you know, and and that's the same with us. We're an outdoor event. And it really helped helped our businesses.

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As far as that goes. The only thing with Covid, you really had to sharpen your pencil and calculator this year because there's, believe it or not,

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some people think that there's tons of money to make on every venture you go on, but there's not. Some of them are really tight anyway.

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So you cut back for your people, you cut back your crowd to thirty percent of volume.

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That's a lot of difference. It doesn't pay the bills on most of the bigger rodeos now.

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But some of our local businesses and they've stepped up, you know, when they footed the bill.

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And that's that's major. I mean, that was so, so major for them to step up and help us more to offset that cost.

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I mean some businesses I hate to go ask for a sponsorship this year.

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We know they're struggling and they said nope, we're you know, we're doing this.

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We're going to, we're still your sponsor. We still want to advertise this year.

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We want the rodeo to go on so everybody can move forward. And that community we live in,

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and that right there, pushes us through.

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Yeah. I mean, I know we talked about that some of your funding model is from sponsorships, especially here at the local rodeo.

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Right. So and, you know, they have been an important part in making sure you're successful. They care about you as a family.

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They want to see you succeed. But with that sponsorship, you also give, you know, those businesses an opportunity.

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You know, to kind of shine and showcase. You talk about that, cause I know that's something that's near and dear to your heart.

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I don't want to name any particular business because I don't have my sheet with me and I want to be sure to touch on all of them.

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There's a lot of them in this area, but we offered different things for different business.

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Anything that can set your your business apart from the rest is my

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advice to you. You know, we sell arena signs that get mentioned every week and they get seen every week.

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We sell, we sell the barrels. We sell the bounty bull. We sell the title sponsor.

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We sell the bullfighter's. So the bucking shoots are another main one.

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Every time animals bucked out that shoot, well, then your company gets the credit.

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And the best part about rodeo is people will take pictures or videos from our rodeo and you'll see it five years later, 10 years later.

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And it's on somebody's wall. And your sign is right there

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for years. You might sponsor us one year, but your advertising goes four years.

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And then we're not talking about people just in this town.

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We're talking about people in, you know, Montana, that they're friends with us on Facebook and their posting the video of our bull. 

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And next thing you there's one of our sponsors and it's a huge publicity thing on that aspect.

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And we do realize to that somebody in Montana knowing about, you know,

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the hardware store here in town or something like that's not necessarily going to help them,

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but you've got to keep working towards your goal and keep building.

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You know that that's a big step. I mean, just yesterday, somebody messaged me about buying something in Ash Flat, just passing through

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and they knew I was the guy to know where to get it, you know.

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And it's so many people there, people over the past 10, 12 years that come to Ash Flat Rodeo with us,

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that live three hours from here and here every week, you know, and

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then they get to know and everything, in town, and when they pass through, they know where to go. They know where to stop.

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And they know what they need. Well, truthfully, I know this sounds crazy,

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but there's no telling how many cars I've sold for our local businesses for two or three of our local dealers.

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Two people that came to our rodeos or worked for us. And they're like, hey, you know, I'm looking for this.

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I'm like such and such has got one, I seen it the other day, you know, they go down there and they buy it and call me and say hey man.

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Thank you. Just because, you know, we all have to feed off each other, you know, and make sure that everybody's took care of you.

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It's just like anything else in life. You can't take too much or too little of anything.

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You just have to all work together and stay as a group. And that's something we work towards.

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Yeah, I know you both are very passionate about this community, and I've always seen it in the things that you do.

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And so, you know, I think our listeners get a better sense about what you do, as, you know, entertainers.

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Let's face it, that's what this is. And, you know, just kind of the process of putting rodeos together and then just being business people.

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I mean, you guys are at the end of the day, this is a business. This is something that you have to strive for a year.

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You're going have whether it's covered or a bull dies or something.

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Right. I mean, that happens. And what you do to overcome that.

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And that's so important. So the last thing I wanted to talk about is kind of what the future holds for Generations Pro Rodeo.

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And, you know, kind of you. Have you guys thought about that?

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And, you know, what does that look like? Oh, there's there's lots of things coming.

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You just have to have to wait and see. I'll tell you one thing that I will go ahead and tell you hasn't happened yet.

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But in the future, we're going to have a rodeo on the Cowboy channel, in Ash Flat. 

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That's one of our next goals. The Cowboy channel has really stepped up this year.

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And they, we were lucky enough to have rodeo or two on the cowboy channel and, you know, Internet access.

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And there's a lot of obstacles there. But we're getting closer to that where our arena is.

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And we've got to get the crowds up enough to the show.

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We've got to get a few more things in line. But, you know, that's one of our goals.

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This is kind of a shout out to Next. We'd really like to have some Internet there, in the arena, so they can come on here.

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So, I mean, that's one of our goals. A national televised event here in Ash Flat.

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Fantastic. I mean, that's huge. And so if anyone's listening,

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if you guys can help fill the stands so that the numbers go up and then anyone's got an in with the high speed Internet,

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let's start pushing on down that direction. So it's a you know, it's something that when just get the budget for and you get our businesses onboard.

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That's our next push. That's our first time talking about it here in the public for everybody.

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But what we're gonna be coming to you and talking to you about.

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And, you know, our end goal, we talked about it a little bit earlier with, you know, me and Cline both work towards this.

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We come up the Generations Pro Rodeo. Cline is two or third generation (cowboy).

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You know, I kind of come I guess maybe I'm a second generation cowboy.

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And, you know, we are working towards just like anybody else. Our end goal is make sure that our kids are part of rodeo and,

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you know, to leave a legacy in rodeo or pro rodeo.

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We want our names to be nationally known. We want our business to be nationally known.

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We want to leave that to our children. We have four kids between us and and they are a 100 percent rodeo kids.

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I mean, they eat, breath, sleep rodeo. You know play with rodeo toys.

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There's no telling how many cows I've stepped on in the middle of the night, you know. Stubbed my toes. Clines had areastangled up in his feet and fell down in them.

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But, you know, ultimately, we're just like any other parents. We want to see our kids succeed.

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We want us to succeed. We just want to keep living life and enjoying life.

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I mean, I know Cline and me, we both we enjoy this. We do this because we love it.

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We don't. This ain't just for money. You know, I do other stuff that makes more money than this.

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And the kids, you told me they're very much enjoying it, too, especially the youngest ones.

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The two little ones. The two older ones are the brains. You know, Kelton and Carly are both super smart.

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They both and they both, like me, Cohen's participated in some rodeo.

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Carley's participated. She wants to do barrel racing. Kelton, well we've

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not figured out whether he's rodeo clown or if he's going to... He thinks he will be a rodeo clown, you know.

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And then we've got a bull rider. Cohen is going to ride bulls and that's what he'll tell you, seven days week.

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I don't know that he'll get all one yet, but he's going to tell he sells it pretty well.

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And Adeline, I'm not sure what she's going to do. She, I think, going to fangirl Cohen for a while.

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And then she says barrel racer, you know, whatever she wants to be. But they want to be part of the business.

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I mean, this is for them. This is like. They've all got animals. Every one of them has their own bull or cow or, you know.

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And we didn't really touch on this. But me, and Cline are working towards.. we are really good at bulls.

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We're working towards horses. We're starting to buy more horses. We're working on our I guess our bucking stock side on horses.

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And and my kids, they really liked the horses. They know I'm a horse person.

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So and Cline is the bull guy, I'm the horse guy. And that's kind of how we are.

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And so we're working on that side of it in in and they are all wanting to have their own bucking horse.

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And then, you know, someday maybe they'll take this business over me and Cline can sit in the stands,

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actually see how this works, because, you know, rest of time we got our heads down working.

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Yeah, well, that's great, because I think one of the things that our businesses,

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we want them to really kind of pay attention to is what's going to happen. You know what does this look like when you're no longer here?

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Who is taking it over? And whether that's family or you've sold it to someone who you know is going to live 

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what hard work you put behind it. That's something that most businesses need to consider.

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And the fact that the kids right now seem like they they might want to take over that, that's exciting.

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Right. And that's big too, because, I mean, if you really drive around any anywhere in the world,

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you're going to see tons of dreams made and tons of dreams lost.

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I mean, you don't, nobody thinks this way that you're driving down to a big city.

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Think of all the buildings that are sitting there that are vacant now and that building was somebody's goal. That building was built for a purpose.

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And so you don't want to ever be that. You want to think in your life that your legacy will go on forever, that your dream will shoot forward forever.

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And that's how you raise your children, you raise them right. You still, me and Cline both,

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neither one of you are ever going to push our children in a direction to make them do something they don't want to do, but they love it.

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And that's a great thing for both of us to have

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Children that love what we do. And, who knows, like my two girls, may marry and run off and disappear into the city somewhere.

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We don't know. But at this point in life we're loving it.

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You know, we're living it up. Absolutely. So have we. Have I missed anything?

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Is there anything else that you want Ash flat and actually this, I've seen this picked up nationally now.

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So, you know, is there anything you want people to know, whether about business life? I do want to touch base on the help.

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We have so much help from the community. We have a lot of help from some of our local friends.

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You know, like I said, Scott Long, Tanner Hunt, Dusty Carr.

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Chris and Chad, Lance, Kelly. I mean, there are people were leaving out.

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I mean, there's so much help.

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I mean, you've been part of our rodeos. You know Joey's been part. Everybody we know has been part of our rodeos.

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And that's a great thing for us. It brings... it whos how to bring everybody together on one like thing.

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And we don't all have to be from the same background, you know,

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and we talked about earlier to the Pledge of Allegiance and saying the prayer and all that stuff.

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That's a Like-Minded thing. You know, you go. That was a big thing to me

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when I'm at the NFR is here's 10 rounds. And everybody in there standing up, saluting the veterans, their saluting the flag.

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They're proud and proud Americans. And that that's what what we need to get to.

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We need to all be together and unified and be proud Americans and do like we used to.

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Don't be afraid to get out and go to the rodeo.

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Now, you know, there's so many people that come to the rodeo or won't do things just because they've never done it and nobody's going to bite you.

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It doesn't matter what you wear. You know, there's people of all backgrounds.

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And that's the fun part about rodeo. There's always a lot of people there.

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Different cultures, different things. And you're all welcome there. Everybody's welcome there.

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And that's one thing, like my pet peeve, on thing I want to say, just try it.

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Just don't do because you've never done it. Come out and see us, go to your local rodeo, go to your local business and walk through their store.

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Just because you haven't been in there doesn't mean you don't mean that... You don't even have to go to our rodeo.

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Just go to a rodeo, you know, start loving something, live life a little you know.

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I mean, me and Cody will try just about everything. Well, you know, you wouldn't see us at the opera, but if you had tickets we would go with you.

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Yeah, I actually have been. We went to the Beauty and the Beast. Yeah, that.

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We've been there and we've tried it. And that's what I think a lot of people need to do. There is nothing I won't try once.

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So but anyway, you know. But that's the thing. Go. It's an outdoor party with the rodeo going on.

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That's basically what - a social event. Yeah, it's it's an event. Essentially this rodeo,

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it's a family reunion. Every time we get together, it's like a family reunion.

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I've got so many friends that I walk by. I bet I say hello and ask how the kids are and how the wife is a million times every Wednesday

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night because I've missed them people. We you know, we actually live for Wednesday night's around here just to make sure we get to see our friends,

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you know, and because we're all I mean, everybody's our friends.

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And that's the best part about rodeo, that people don't realize what they're missing.

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Rodeo is family, everybody in rodeo is family. And you can, and this is crazy.

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You can literally hate somebody - that two people can hate each other.

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And if that guy's horse gets hung up, you're going to save his horse and save his butt because...

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Because that's just what you do. That's the right thing to do. And that's how you are raised to be.

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Well, Cody, Cline, I sure appreciate you coming on the show. I learned a lot.

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I think our listeners actually really have a good understanding about not only, again, rodeo, going pro, but also just business and life in general.

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So I sure appreciate you being here and our listeners,

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I appreciate you being part of another episode of Create Bridges, Small Business, Big Rural Impact.

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See you next time. Thank you for having us. Thanks. For more information about this or any Create Bridges podcast or more about Create Bridges, Arkansas, visit

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uaex.edu/createbridges.

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The Create Bridges Arkansas podcast is made possible by a Walmart grant to the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

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Cooperative Extension Community Professional and Economic Development Unit.

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And with the cooperation of Spring River Innovation Hub and White River Now productions.