Just how was the Barnes/MJM PRCA Rodeo of Cherokee and Peterson chosen as producer and stock contractor for the inaugural Atlantic City Boardwalk Rodeo scheduled for April 1-2-3 in 10,000-seat Boardwalk Hall Arena?
Well, let's allow Janet Markowitz, the official Chair of the 2011 Atlantic City Boardwalk Rodeo, to explain:
Markowitz, who owns Chester's Flowers in Atlantic City, said she was surprised when she was named Chair of the exciting first-ever event, but went out and bought a pair of cowboy boots and started researching just what it is that she got herself in to.
"If you're going to do it right, you have to get the best out there," said Markowitz of her first foray into rodeo.
"The name Barnes kept popping up all over the place," laughed the personable Markowitz. "I was amazed at all the wonderful things everybody was telling me about Bob and Donita Barnes and their family. Their name just kept coming up. Finally, when I called a fair promoter, I think it was in Idaho, he said 'Don't get the Barnes family' and I was shocked. Then he said, 'They're just too perfect. Top to bottom. You won't have to worry about a thing. Everything is top quality. You book them and your work is done. They take care of everything. And, you're going to fall in love with them all."
Markowitz repeated the fact that the entire Atlantic City community has embraced John Barnes, who has been out there three times since the January press conference that announced the Rodeo.
"I'm just totally thrilled. Everyone out here loves John Barnes. I can't wait to meet the rest of the family. What people have told me about Bob and Donita, I can hardly imagine," said Markowitz."
"You can't believe how excited Atlantic City is for this Rodeo," added Markowitz. "The casinos have all donated rooms for this event, and everyone wants John and the rest of the Barnes family. We're trying to spread them around, yet keep them together. What a wonderful feeling knowing they're coming here to be with us, to be a part of us, for such a family event."
As he should, Bob Barnes, 82, is thrilled to display all that PRCA Rodeo has to offer on such a big stage.
"It's our 60th year of going down the road," said Barnes in a Chronicle Times interview last week. "And I continue to be amazed at God's blessings that have been bestowed on our family.
"We are a family operation. Donita and I have three kids and now we have 10 grandkids. We're all in it together and we all work hard for our rodeos," said the man who has fostered the longest running PRCA Rodeo operation in the nation.
The PRCA-sanctioned rodeo will feature three performances: April 1-2 at 7:30 p.m. (ET) and at 1 p.m. on April 3.
"I know a lot of people and have met a lot of people," concluded Reading, PA. native Markowitz from her Atlantic City Boardwalk perch. "I meet new people every day in my business. But, from everything I've heard and from knowing John, I've never been so excited to meet the Barnes family. All of us just can't wait."
A couple minutes later, Markowitz telephoned back.
"I just wanted to tell you that we just booked the Oak Ridge Boys to sing the National Anthem at the Saturday night performance. I can't wait to introduce them to the Barnes family."