Rodeo announcer excited to be back in Ramona

[NPI Float="left"]/Media/0/jpg/2010/5/bc10bb99-f352-6361-a6eeb836b5f5a5a1.jpg[/NPI]   Jody Carper, announcer at the Ramona Rodeo in 2006, 2007, and 2008, is returning this year.

   “I’m excited to go back to Ramona,” Carper said. “It’s just a good setup. It’s a great crowd.”

   Since his last stint announcing the Ramona Rodeo, Carper has announced at the 2008 national Steer Roping finals, the 2009 California Circuit finals, and the April 2010 Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Pocatello, Idaho, which features the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit champions and circuit finals average winners.

   “I’ve just been really blessed in my career,” Carper said.

   Carper is originally from Big Spring, Texas, about 40 miles from Midland on Interstate 20. He competed in high school rodeo and qualified for the national finals in steer wrestling. He attended Howard College in Texas, spent a year at Texas Tech University, and was a college rodeo steer wrestler before a knee injury caused him to focus on tie-down roping (then called calf roping) and team roping.

   Carper still competes in the roping events. His desire to become a rodeo announcer dates back to his childhood, when he emulated announcers. 

   “I knew that’s what I was going to do,” he said.

   During a high school rodeo in Texas, he offered to announce, even though he would not be paid. That gave him his start. 

   “It’s been really good for me,” he said.

   Carper did not obtain his PRCA announcer’s card until 2006.  He purchased his PRCA competitor’s permit in 1997 and won enough money to fill his permit and purchase his full PRCA card in 1998.

   He has held a PRCA competitor’s card ever since.

   On three different occasions he traveled with Fred Whitfield, who has won seven tie-down roping world championships and one all-around world championship. Whitfield and Carper traveled together to Ramona in 2000, when Carper won the first calf roping go-round.

   Whitfield and Carper would eventually have something else in common — both are married to a former Miss Rodeo Lakeside.

   Cassie Whitfield was Miss Rodeo Lakeside in 1994 and Kelli Carper was Miss Rodeo Lakeside in 2001. Kelli McMurren was the reigning Miss Rodeo Lakeside when she met her future husband at the Reno Rodeo in 2001. They didn’t start dating until 2002, after she had turned over her crown. They were married in 2005, and, while the Carpers initially moved to Texas where Kelli attended school at Howard College, a short time later they moved to Jamul.

   “I’ve become a Californian,” said Carper, who as a tie-down roper qualified for the California Circuit finals in 2003.

   Kelli Carper grew up in Chula Vista and attended University High School, but her parents had moved to Jamul. 

    “We just really liked it,” Jody Carper said.

   Carper was invited to announce the California Circuit finals in 2008 but had committed to the national steer roping finals. In November 2009, he announced the circuit finals in Norco. 

   “It’s fun for me because it’s all the guys that I rode with over the years,” he said. “I know pretty much everybody.  It makes it exciting for me and makes it fun.”

   The circuit finals announcers apply to announce the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo. Carper and Mike Mathis of Texas were selected. 

   “They rolled out the red carpet for us,” Carper said.

   Carper noted that added prize money of $4,000 per event and working with rodeo barrelman Clint Sylvester will increase his enjoyment at the Ramona Rodeo.

   
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