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Stock Show Insider: Bonds riding high in saddle

Pete Bonds is riding high in the saddle.

The 64-year-old Saginaw rancher was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame during a Thursday night ceremony in the Fort Worth Stockyards.

On Saturday night, Bonds and his ranch hands finished second in the Fort Worth Stock Show’s Ranch Rodeo.

The specialty rodeo showcased daily ranch work by featuring events such as stock sorting, ranch vet and bronc riding. It was a reminder of the sport’s humble beginnings in the Old West in the late 1800s when ranch cowboys congregated in a community, contested their working stills and called it a rodeo.

On Friday afternoon, Stock Show officials conducted an organizational meeting with the members of eight ranch teams and went over the ranch rodeo’s rules and regulations. But Bonds showed up a bit late for the meeting because he was engaged in a business transaction. He got caught up in selling cattle over the phone with a buyer from the West Texas town of Seymour.

“The main reason we’re here because these boys love It,” Bonds said in an interview Friday after the Ranch rodeo meeting. “We’re here to thank them for putting up with all of the (stuff) that they have to do during the year. In fact, we have a boy (Dustin Shelton) who is not here (for the planning meeting), because he’s doctoring yearlings (cattle) and trying to get here. And I was late because I was selling a bunch of cattle.”

However, it was not Bonds’ first rodeo. He and Shelton, and the other the Bonds Ranch team members knew exactly what to do under the bright lights throughout two sold out performances at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum. After competing two nights, the Bonds Ranch finished runner-up behind the Swenson Land & Cattle Co. from the West Texas town of Stamford.

The Bonds Ranch has won the Stock Show Ranch Rodeo twice, in 2011 and 2015. Bonds praised his ranch hands for their ability to come together and effectively compete.

“These boys are doing what they do every day,” Bonds said. “We’ve got a little disadvantage because our guys do not work together every day—they’re all from different ranches (Bonds-owned properties). Most of these cowboys whom our guys compete against are from the same physical location, but our guys are scattered out.”

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