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Mustang act showcases trainability, personality of wild horses, cattle dogs

Bobby Kerr jumps his mustang Poncho over a burning Cadillac at the Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo Saturday night. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
Bobby Kerr known for traveling to rodeos with mustang show

To show off the great American mustang, rodeo entertainer Bobby Kerr decided to adopt the horses and turn them into celebrities as part of nationwide act featured at the Ute Mountain Roundup.

Kerr got his start in 2011 by competing in the Extreme Mustang Makeover, which challenges experts to train wild Bureau of Land Management horses in a short time and do an act.

His performances were fan favorites, and he won the event in 2012 and 2020. The initial makeover experience sparked the longtime cowboy’s creativity on what mustangs can be trained to do.

“Next thing you know, I’m booked for 40 performance shows in California, and it has grown from there,” he said. “This deal did not come along until I was in my 50s. For a guy my age to get a new gig, travel around and get paid has been quite a blessing.”

He travels the country to perform at hundreds of rodeo arenas in a coordinated act with his three mustangs, cattle dogs, a ring of fire, saloon and chuck wagon, motorcycle side car and antique Cadillacs.

Kerr directs the swirl of activity from Poncho, his trustee bay mustang, which is guided into the arena by Burt the border collie enthusiastically pulling on a lead.

Trigger, an American mustang born in the wild, sits in a Cadillac driven by rodeo entertainer Bobby Kerr. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)

Trigger, an 11-year old palomino gathered from Wyoming, and Newt, a 5-year-old red roan gathered from Devils Garden, California, arrive on scene. They are directed by Kerr’s commands and gestures to lie down and roll over consecutively.

Poncho spins as Kerr fires a rifle into the air, then jumps over a Cadillac that has suddenly burst into flames.

Poncho shows off his cutting skills in a game with the cattle dogs, blocking their quick maneuvers as they try to get back to the Cadillac.

To conclude, Kerr switches bareback onto Trigger and parades the arena displaying more mustang skills. Then they load up onto the Cadillac, and Trigger sits down in the back seat, and the entourage leaves to cheers from the crowd.

Bobby Kerr and his wife, Susan, at the Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)

“It’s amazing what you can do with wild mustangs,” Kerr says. “I’m kind of the softer side of the rodeo, showing the love between the horses, dogs and me. These wild horses have been good to me, and I want people to know how valuable, trustworthy and useful they are. They are the heroes of this nation, a symbol of freedom.”

In 2017 and 2019, Kerr’s show was awarded the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Specialty Act of the Year. In 2021, Kerr was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. Poncho sat as a passenger as Kerr drove a Cadillac through Times Square, and his act was featured on “Good Morning America.”