story by Siri Stevens Tony Keeton started his company, Rockin’ K Rodeo in 2017. It’s not his only full time job. Tony has worked for […]
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Meet the Member Steve Carter
story by Lindsay Welchel
Steve Carter, 29, a bull rider in the International Professional Rodeo Association, got his start in bull riding at a young age, his grandfather had competed, but Steve focused more on football in high school and wasn’t able to return full force to rodeo, perhaps America’s most traditional sport, until after he’d served our country. Steve was an Army Ranger for two tours to Iraq and two to Afghanistan. He almost didn’t make it back.
In 2006, Steve was injured in a suicide bombing.
A recipient of the Purple Heart, he came home, and it was a dare from someone who claimed he couldn’t ride a bull that was the catalyst in restarting Steve’s rodeo career.
“This one kid started talking crap and said, ‘you can’t ride bulls,’ and my exact words were, ‘how much money is in your bank account?” The two made a bet, and the following weekend Steve got back on a bull for an 89.5-point ride. “That got me thinking I could do it again,” he says, and laughs that he and his opponent in the bet became good friends, so he let him keep his money.
Steve is originally from Texas but went to high school in Wisconsin and has lived in 14 states. He was stationed at Fort Benning in Georgia while he was a Ranger and now lives in South Carolina traveling everywhere for rodeos.
This summer Steve traveled with 17-year-old IPRA champ Garrett Tribble, as well as Canadian cowboys. Highlights for Steve were trying to learn French from the Canadians and qualifying for his first International Finals Rodeo. What might have turned into a lowlight when the car Steve was traveling in was burglarized, instead became one of his favorite on-the-road stories, because he was able to track down the thief and recover his belongings.
“One thing I’ve learned is lock your car,” he jokes. Fond memories aside, there were setbacks Steve has had to overcome in the form of injuries, like a groin injury earlier this year, and a broken collarbone one week before the IFR that caused Steve to have to sit out of competition and be a spectator in Oklahoma City.
If his buddies had to describe him, Steve thinks they’d say he’s the grandpa of the group, but in seriousness, he’s the one they come to for advice.
“I try to help everyone. I don’t like to preach to guys, but you kind of have to have a grasp on the future,” he says and adds, “When you’re going down the road like this, it’s easy to spend everything you make. The biggest thing is trying to help guys to where they can have something besides enough money to get to the next rodeo.”
In addition to rodeo, Steve sells horses and works as an account manager for Real Time Pain Relief, a topical pain cream company that also sponsors their resident bull-riding employee.