ELK CITY — The 1,300-pound bay horse has a free-flowing mane and a thick foretop that at times covers those coal black eyes.
Even at 22 years old, Commotion looks like a cocky thug.
But anyone who saw Commotion buck in his career of nearly 12 years would agree that's precisely the look the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association three-time bareback horse of the year was shooting for.
Today, the stallion, retired from the arena during the 2006 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, prances around his pen at the Beutler & Son Rodeo Co. ranch likes he owns the place. Commotion acts like he's worthy of the statue on one corner of a busy intersection in the Beutler family's hometown of Elk City.
“Well, he is,” said Bennie Beutler, the third of a five-generation rodeo company.
At 4 p.m. Friday, a dedication ceremony will be held for artist T.D. Kelsey's larger-than-life-size statue of Commotion at the National Route 66 Museum Complex in Elk City. The ceremony kicks off the three-day celebration of the 75th-annual Elk City Rodeo of Champions.
“We just thought he was such a great horse for us and brought us a lot of recognition and everything, we'd pay him back a little bit,” said Beutler, 62. “He's still very much alive and looks really good.
“And we wanted to do it here at home because the city of Elk City has been great to the Beutler family all these years.”
Kelsey, who lives near Guthrie, Texas, studied six photos and a video of Commotion in action. And he visited the horse.
“I got a big kick out of getting to look at Commotion himself,” Kelsey said. “That horse is awesome.
“And I looked at those pictures and watched that video. In my opinion, he's what a bucking horse ought to be.”
‘It's game time, boys'
In his glory years, when they loaded Commotion in the bucking chute, he stuck his head up over the top of the gate, either to look around or announce his presence — or both.
Then a cowboy, just trying to make a living eight hard seconds at a time, put his bareback rigging on the stallion who stands 16 hands tall. Beutler said Commotion tossed his head and snorted, sending the message, “It's game time, boys.”