How the RNCFR in Kissimmee is creating opportunities for its contestants
Hailing from the First Frontier Circuit, meet Andy Carter, a 35-year-old bareback rider from Missouri. Andy has been to the Great Lakes Circuit Finals eleven times and the First Frontier Circuit Finals twice. He is no stranger to the PRCA circuit rodeos. Andy grew up around the sport of rodeo and started riding calves at age 7. He’s been riding for about 28 years, and has spent 13 of those years focused on bareback bronc riding.
Andy was a contestant last year at the 2015 RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo. He qualified at First Frontier and was able to advance to Kissimmee for the first time to compete. He shared with us what a privilege and honor it was to qualify and compete. He said, “I was very thankful for the opportunity.”
At the RNCFR, one of the added perks for the contestants is that they receive a $1,000 stipend for qualifying and competing. Now, some may be wondering why this money is provided to the contestants. For some of the contestants, this stipend helps them afford travel expenses to be here. Not everyone in the sport of rodeo wins big, and sometimes these contestants barely have the means for gas to get around. It can also help with travel costs for their families to attend and watch them compete. Aside from that, the contestants can use this stipend for their meals, lodging in Kissimmee, and visiting the local attractions in and around Central Florida.
Last year, Andy Carter received his stipend and chose to save it. About a month after the RNCFR, he was passing through Cedar Rapids, Iowa and came across a store known as the Country Corner. The owner had decided to close the business and was liquidating all the goods. Andy had been considering using his stipend money from the RNCFR to possibly start a new business venture and open his own western store. After all, you can’t ride forever!
After some consideration, he decided to move forward with purchasing the business and relocating it, and now has his own Carter’s Western Store in Ellsinore, Missouri. They have been open since October 2015. Andy shared with us that business is going well. He said, “I hope to sell a lot of Justin Boots!”
Andy said, “Most people don’t realize how the stipend Osceola County provides can impact a contestant’s life. It can honestly change it. What the county does for contestants is wonderful.” It can give contestants hope, amazing experiences in Kissimmee, and even help start a business.
Andy Carter qualified again this year to attend the RNCFR at the First Frontier Circuit Finals Rodeo in the bareback competition. Though he won the third go-round during First Frontier, he landed on his shoulder and had a severe injury that occured. Andy has been recovering ever since First Frontier and will be able to compete at the 2016 RNCFR!
Best of luck to all the contestants! See you soon!