Friends will approach him and say, “Hey, didn’t you used to be Booger Barter?” There are laughs all around.
After producing some of the most innovative team ropings-awarding $8.5 million in cash, 277 pickup trucks, 102 horse trailers, 1,344 trophy saddles, 2,036 buckles and $664,000 in added money-in August of 2002, Bobby “Booger” Barter sold the rights to his ropings and his name to Equibrand-the same company that owns the USTRC-and agreed to a two-year employment with them and a five-year non-compete clause.
“I had produced 300 large team ropings and I was just tired of it,” Barter said. “I had a five-year non-compete with a two-year employment contract. After the employment, I retired for six months and went across the United States team roping. After six months, I got real frickin’ bored. I said, ‘This is enough for me.’ So that’s when we started putting on the World Barrel Racing Productions and our very first one was the world’s largest. Since then, the barrel racers have grown tremendously.”
Then, just as his non-compete clause had expired in January and Barter was launching his new company, World Team Roping Productions, Equibrand announced its decision to cease all operations of the roping company. All originally scheduled Booger Barter productions were cancelled and Barter agreed to purchase all of the physical assets of Booger Barter Productions and all of the rights to the name “Booger Barter.”
He plans to stay with the World Team Roping Productions moniker, and the ropings will be stand-alone events. In short, as his Web site (www.worldteamroping.com) shouts, “He’s Baa-aak.”
“We’ve enjoyed the opportunity to be associated with Booger Barter Productions over the last five years. Furthermore, we’re excited that Bobby Barter is once again associated with the team roping industry and recognize all that he has done through the years to promote the sport,” said Ken Bray, President of Equibrand Corporation.
Through the years, Barter has been responsible for new concepts, payouts and entertainment-a formula that brought him much success.
“Back when I first started team roping, we would drive to a place, not have enough teams and couldn’t win enough money,” Barter said. “So I invented the guaranteed team roping so you knew exactly what you could win when you got there.”
Early on, the guaranteed payout was the distinctive element of his ropings. Soon, it was obvious that a quality production was paramount to attracting ropers, so he made sure there were good cattle, good flagmen, good announcers and so forth. As that trend caught on, Barter saw a need to separate himself from the crowd again.
“We had to go to the next level and provide entertainment,” he said. “We did that with egg tosses, pay a guy’s entry fees to rope in shorts, you never know what we’re going to do when you come to one of our events.”
“If Denny Gentry has been the godfather of the numbered ropings, Booger Barter is the P.T. Barnum,” fellow roping producer Billy Pipes said. “He is there to entertain. He’s probably the best production guy in the business. People are just all having a good time at his events.”
In addition to an egg toss, Barter might stop the production in the middle of a go-round and have a foot race or dance contest-all the while presiding over his latest stunt with a megaphone in hand-offering entry fees back to whoever wins.
There might be a bonus steer covered in glitter and tassels that if he’s roped in under a certain time the cowboys will get their fees back.
At his World Barrel Racing Productions, he pushed the envelope, as well.
“In the barrel racings, they have dog costume contests, dress up your horse contests and they love it,” he said. “One of our biggest deals was a bikini barrel racing. It was unbelievable. Everybody in the world heard about it. The first one was in the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie and they said there were more people in the stands watching that barrel race than any other barrel race in the world.”
“Only Booger Barter could pull off a bikini barrel race in the Bible belt of Texas,” Billy Pipes said. “He just thinks so far out of the box. It’s all just for fun. It changes the whole atmosphere for everybody.”
There’s not much Barter won’t try.
Curiously, however, there are certain sponsors he won’t allow.
“Team ropers have lots of places to go team rope, but to go team rope for first class prizes, money, entertainment and to have fun we want them to bring their whole family,” he said. “That’s why we’re not sponsored by a beer company or a tobacco company because we want you to bring the whole family and have fun.”
Ever the producer, there are more concepts and formats he is unveiling with the World Team Roping events.
“I was guilty of top loading the event where first place paid really high,” Barter said. “We’ve learned from the barrel racers and from the high price of diesel that we need to spread the money out. At the first event in Waco, we’re guaranteeing to pay 20 places and 20th is guaranteed to pay $2,500. To win first at any major events, you have to draw real good cattle. This will make it to where if you don’t draw, you still can place and get your fees back so you can go to the next one. We call it extended pay. We still are giving a Dodge truck out. So if you get lucky you still win the big prize, but if you’re not that one person you can still make a little money.”
That’s not all he learned from the barrel racers. More likely to utilize the Internet than their team roping counterparts, Barter introduced online entries, the ability to reserve stalls and RV hookups in advance and Web casting.
“All our events are Web casted, so mom, grandpa and grandma can be sitting at home on the computer and watch everything happen,” he said.
In fact, the above-mentioned bikini barrel race had 15,000 Web cast viewers, according to Barter.
“We’ve got all kinds of stuff planned,” Barter said. “Stuff that’s not even planned that will happen. Guys will come up and say they want their entry fees paid and I’ll say, ‘Do something wild,’ and they give me an idea and I’ll say, ‘OK, go for it.'”
And it can all be seen at the Heart of Texas Fair complex in Waco, Texas, March 8 and 9. Calling it the “Best of all worlds, more cash, more places and a Dodge Truck,” the Cinch Jeans Truck Classic rolls into town guaranteeing $150,000 in cash and prizes.
He’s also got events planned for Glen Rose, Texas, on June 28-29 and Guthrie, Okla., over the Fourth of July weekend.
“This year, we’ll only have four or five events, get our feet wet again and next year have a bunch more,” he said.
Oh, and by the way, now he can be called by the name he prefers.
“I sold the name Booger Barter, so I had to go by my legal name, Bobby,” he said. “It’s nice to be called Booger again.”
Not something you hear every day, but that’s the genius of roping’s P.T. Barnum.