The Rafter B Bar brand represents the Barnes PRCA Rodeo Company, one of only two firms that can boast their stock being selected for every Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Bob Barnes, with his sister Marjorie, started the business in Peterson, Iowa, in the 1940s and became a PRCA stock contractor in 1951. Nine years later, he brought stock to the first-ever NFR in Dallas. Whether the event has been in Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, or Las Vegas, buckers packing the Barnes brand have been loaded in the chute.
“It humbles a person in a hurry,” says Bob and Donita’s son, John, who runs the business now. “It’s a lot of hard work to be there. You don’t have to be born with a golden spoon in your mouth to be a success, you just have to roll your sleeves up and work hard.”
And the honors have piled up. In 1984, the company won the PRCA’s Stock Contractor of the Year award. Bob was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Rodeo Historical Society’s Hall of Fame in 2010. Meanwhile, his late wife, Donita, who passed in 2011, was the 2010 recipient of the Tad Lucas Award from the Rodeo Historical Society—arguably the highest honor for women in rodeo. The next year the PRCA named its Contract Personnel Lifetime Achievement Award for her and she was the first honoree, awarded posthumously.
Some of their notable stock over the years includes Crystal Springs, the 1977 Bucking Horse of Year; Boy Ballou, purchased as a weanling for $400 in 1979, bucked off the likes of Ty Murray, Dan Mortensen and Billy Etbauer during his career; and more recently, Cat Power carried Chet Johnson to a 91-point ride at Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Today, Bob and Donita’s children, Marty, Mitzi and John, carry on the business under the Barnes banner and with their own firm, MJM Rodeo.