The Rodeo Corpus Christi begins Thursday at the American Bank Center, and riders are practicing for this weekend’s competition.
And while athlete preparation and the horses they ride on can certainly be important to their success, it is actually the dirt laid on the ground that can really make or break their performance.
“The dirt 100% affects the rodeo athletes,” Tie Down Roper Tyson Durfey said.
Each of the riders have specific needs when it comes to their dirt conditions and they each examine their dirt very carefully.
“I look at how much water content is in the ground and how deep it is,” Durfey said.
These conditions may not seem like much to the common fan, but for these riders the conditions play a major role in their performance.
“If the ground is deeper it is going to be harder for the horse to run, harder for him to stop, harder for him to back up.”
The man in charge of laying down the dirt at the American Bank Center is Rickey McCain. He has been volunteering for this job ever since he started in 1993. He also takes very close care of the dirt.
“I come back in here and i’ll deplow and open it up real deep and we will loosen it up and grind it up with a grinder and maybe add some moisture to it.”
The dirt comes from Petronila ever single year and McCain and his team have a tall task each time the rodeo comes around.
“This is a lot of work I’m running wide open.”
As the opening day of the Corpus Christi Rodeo approaches the American Bank Center gets closer and closer to being best in show.