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August 06, 2023 4 min read 4 Comments

If you’ve got a thing for equines, entertainment, and some darn good dogs, you ought to make it a point to catch a performance by Bobby Kerr and his mustang act.

We got a unique, up-close-and-personal experience with these amazing animals during our Cowpoke U photoshoot in Kerr’s adopted hometown of Hico, Texas, and let me tell ya, even outside their whole rodeo routine, just watching them work was remarkable.

The man behind the mustang magic, Bobby Kerr, is actually a native Canadian who wandered his way down to Texas at about 15 years old, originally finding a foothold as a ranch hand in Tyler before turning to training horses in Hico. He also met his main squeeze in the Lone Star State; his wife of almost 40 years, Susan, was living in Fort Worth when they met.

Also a talented craftsman, Bobby spent about two decades building furniture and creating custom metal signs and fixtures, as well as teamed up with his son, Cody, to build custom motorcycles – still training horses on the side all the while. He took a hiatus from all that and drove a truck for a while, until his friend and famed bit and spur, Jeff Payne, turned his attention to the Mustang Heritage Foundation’s “Extreme Mustang Makeover” competition.

“He told me I needed to check it out, that it was right up my alley,” Bobby recalled. “That was probably 2007, and I just kind of blew it off because before that, I was kind of a quarter horse guy. Well, in 2010, [Jeff] got Susan and I tickets and said, ‘Come on, let’s go’, so we did. And I watched the Mustang Makeover and I was blown away. I was getting kind of tired of trucking, and [the competition] paid about $50,000 and took four months, so I parked my truck and started riding horses again and thought I’d take a stab at it.”

As you might have guessed by now, Bobby did quite well at it, and thanks to social media, videos of his performance went somewhat viral and that created a demand for him to come perform with his horses at rodeos all over the country, including an invitation to perform at the legendary Road to the Horse, and it just kind of spread from there.

“I got my PRCA permit in 2014, and Cotton Rosser from the Flying U Rodeo Company in California had heard about me from a couple people and saw me in Mustang Million on TV, and he hired me for 50 performances right off the bat. Once we were in the PRCA world, it was wide open. [Cotton] opened a lot of doors for us and it’s been great.”

In competitions, the contestants only have 100 to 120 days to transform a totally green wild mustang into a performance horse, but on the rodeo circuit, Bobby can develop them more over time.

“Of course, the more you go up and down the road, more than likely the better they’re gonna get,” he explained. “But it can go the other way, too, you know – the anticipation of the crowd and the announcer and the fireworks and the cheering, it can blow their mind.”

Just like humans, some horses thrive in the spotlight and others never quite take to it.

“There’s a lot of preparation you do getting them ready to go to rodeos,” Bobby said. “I’m always hauling a green horse. I have three horses I use regularly in my act and then I’ll have a green one that I haul with me that gets exposed to everything, and I’ll ease them into and see if it’s up their alley, see if it’s for them.”

As for the dogs, Bobby says sometimes they get too good the longer they do the act. They learn their roles and routines so well that they jump the (sometimes metaphorical and sometimes literal) gun.

“It’s hard to keep a handle on ‘em after you’ve done a lot of performances,” he laughed. “I’ve got six critters out there to keep an eye on, it gets a little hairy at times.”

And how did that compare to working with humans on the Cowpoke U photoshoot?

“We were honored to be a part of it!” he said. “It was a fun experience for us to kind of see behind the scenes and watch the girls do their work, it was cool and I’m proud to see my horses and my old car behind it all. We used Newt, the red roan California mustang. I had him saddled up, jumped him in the car and sat him down, and they took some photos while he was sitting there. They took a couple where [Lozzie] is walking down the street and my palomino, Trigger, is following her; I just saw the video of it, and it’s cool as hell.”

4 Responses

Carol Stoneburner
Carol Stoneburner

August 16, 2023

I love this story so much. Love horses, and love to read about all he has done!!!

Marcia stacy
Marcia stacy

August 16, 2023

So impressive to get the horses to sit in the cars. I would love to see the show live! Wow! So cool!

Cheryl McMullen
Cheryl McMullen

August 06, 2023

Bobby and his animals are amazing! He was a tremendous host and showman. Bobby, thank you and you animals for a truly incredible shoot!

Donna Jobe
Donna Jobe

August 06, 2023

Have enjoyed Bobby Kerr’s training , rodeo acts & Extreme Mustang Makeover for several years. His horses & dogs acts are the best!!!!

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