A rock 'n' roll rodeo

Organizer wants to keep fans on the edge of their seats

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— For the past 26 years, stock contractor Mack Altizer has been rocking professional rodeo with a powerful blend of foot-pounding music and fast-paced rodeo action.

"We bring a high level of energy to all of our shows," said Altizer, founder of Bad Company Rodeo. "That energy comes from the music, our animals and our staff."

Although some hardcore rodeo fans might be turned off by rock 'n' roll blaring from arena speakers, Altizer's approach has found a place in professional rodeo. He said the rock 'n' roll approach gets the fans in the stands stomping their feet and makes the sport more appealing to a broader audience.

"We bring the party, no matter where we go," Altizer said.

His choreographed show has been a part of the Steamboat Springs Professional Rodeo Series for the past two seasons, and it will play a major role this week as the series heads toward its annual Fourth of July run.

The Steamboat series rotates stock contracts throughout the 10-week summer series, and Mack and company will have the spotlight at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena through July 8.

The former junior and high school champion roper said he used to crank up his stereo between practice runs with his college teammates, and it's no surprise that one of his favorite bands was Bad Company. The idea of rock and rodeo stuck with Altizer after he graduated, and it followed him into the stock contracting business.

Altizer is a little older these days, but it's clear that rock 'n' roll still plays a major role in his life. His bucking horses and bulls have rock 'n' roll inspired names such as American Woman, No Satisfaction, Superfreak and Louie, Louie. His tours also have a rock flair. This year's 14-stop tour, which includes performances in Colorado and Texas, is called Have a Nice Day -- no doubt influenced by Bon Jovi's latest album. Past tours have been named Bad to the Bone, Turn the Page and Takin' Care of Business, to name a few.

But the driving force behind every Bad Company Rodeo is bringing a level of excitement that keeps rodeo fans on the edge of their seats from start to finish.

It's the rodeo's stock animals and a chance to win money that will bring most of the competitors to Steamboat this week. Altizer said there are several National Finals-level horses and bulls in his pen. He also expects to see more than a few cowboys who follow the entire Bad Company Tour.

He might bring in a few more top bulls before leaving Steamboat, but he admits he doesn't want to scare away his contestant base.

"It's a tricky balance," Altizer said. "What you really want is a fair rodeo, where every cowboy feels like they have a chance to win."

So instead of having a few top animals, Altizer tries to make sure he has quality stock that is evenly matched.

-- To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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