A Stock contractor is an individual or business that provides animals for rodeo competition. Stock contractors supply "rough stock" - Saddle bronc and bareback bronc horses (Au-buckjumpers) and bull riding bulls, plus steers for steer wrestling (also called "dogging steers") and team roping, plus calves for calf roping events. Contract stock has produced a more uniform range of bucking stock which are also quieter to handle.
Most bucking stock is specifically bred for use in rodeos, with horses and bulls having exceptional bucking ability fetching a high price. Most are allowed to grow up in a natural, semi-wild condition on the open range, but also have to be gentled and tamed in order to be managed from the ground, safely loaded into trailers, vaccinated and wormed, and to load in and out of bucking chutes. Due to the rigors of travel and the short bursts of high intensity work required, most horses in a bucking string are at least 6 or 7 years old.
In 1903, Raymond Knight built the first rodeo arena and grandstand in Canada, and in the process became the first rodeo producer and rodeo stock contractor. In the 1950s, one of the best-known North American stock contractors, Reg Kesler set up a string of rough stock due to the growing demand for bucking horses. He supplied stock to rodeos and events across Canada and the United States before retiring in 1967. Kessler was posthumously inducted into the National Cowboy & Western Museum Rodeo Hall of Fame in October 2009.
In Australia stock contractors may also supply some of the brumbies used in the “brumby catch” event which is part of stockman challenges.
- Hicks Jenny, “Australian Cowboys, Roughriders & Rodeos”, CQU Press, Rockhampton, QLD, 2000
- Partian, Chris. "Diamond in the Rough." Western Horseman, July 2007, pp. 132-140
- "History of Raymond". Welcome to Raymond, Alberta. Retrieved April 15, 2009.[dead link]
- "2009 Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductees and Honorees Announced". National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. July 24, 2009. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
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