Casper Star-Tribune staff writer
CASPER, WYOMING—Casper native Pete Martinez has been lots of places since he last performed in his hometown.
He returns Sunday, June 11, to sing during opening ceremonies for the first event of the 2006 College National Finals Rodeo, and then he'll do a mini-concert that day at intermission between the 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. runs of Broncs 'n Bulls at the Casper Events Center.
In November, he had dinner at Vice President Dick Cheney's house.
"That was cool," he said this week. "But I'm the only one who didn't get to eat dessert. I just picked up my guitar and started singing for them while they were having dessert."
Martinez attended Fort Casper and CY schools and graduated from Natrona County High School in 1979. He then graduated from Casper College and attended the University of Wyoming.
He has released two CD's on the Rodeo Records label, "Changes" and "I Would for You." His single, "Bull Rider," has become a rodeo favorite nationwide.
Martinez said this week that in addition to his appearance at Bulls 'n Broncs, he has another surprise in store for two CNFR contestants.
"The all-around cowgirl and all-around cowboy on Saturday night will receive a Fender guitar trophy with my logo, provided by Art Guitar and local sponsors," Martinez said.
The CNFR performance will kick off the "Coming Home Wyoming" tour this summer and into the fall for Martinez, with stops in Jackson, Gillette, Cody, Sheridan, Riverton/Lander and Cheyenne. It will be his first multi-stop tour in his home state.
Specific tour dates will be announced on his Web site, petemartinezusa.com.
Martinez was in Casper twice last June, first to participate in a tribute to Chris LeDoux and sing at the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Fashion Show and Luncheon during the CNFR and then as part of the free River Days celebration to dedicate Platte River Commons and the Three Crowns Golf Course.
But it's clear that the former professional bull rider is most comfortable in an arena full of rodeo fans -- as long as he can take his guitar.
"As a former contestant, I feel a closeness to the competitors," Martinez said. "I want to be a part of the CNFR. I really want to help in any way I can, and if that's by simply sharing my music, I'm glad to be able to do it."
NIRA Commissioner John Smith appreciates what Martinez has to offer.
"Pete is a talented individual, and we couldn't be more pleased to have him come and perform at our marquee event," Smith said.