LATEST FRONTIER NEWS
Outside the Arena -- True MaverickMarch 26, 2015
By Justin Shaw
**Courtesy of the ProRodeo Sports News, official publication of the PRCA
March 26th, 2015
Jerry Nelson is known in the rodeo world as the man behind Frontier Rodeo, the guy who calls himself Nutty Jerry, runs an amusement park and an oil business. What they may not know? This is the same Jerry Nelson who owns the American Basketball Association’s best team.
The Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks are quite a dominating force in the ABA. Yes, the ABA which uses the red, white and blue ball. The league that was bought out in a merger by the NBA in 1976, only to be rebooted in 1999. The team has won the championship the last three years it’s played, and currently is riding an 87-game winning streak.
“I do crazy (stuff) all the time,” Nelson said when asked what prompted him to buy a basketball franchise. “I’m a sports nut. When Steve Tucker came to me and said he needed someone to back the team financially, initially I wasn’t really interested. But he was persistent, and I really liked him and he seemed like a nice guy.”
Tucker, the coach of the Mavericks, came to Nelson while the team was still located in Beaumont, Texas, in 2009. The team had potential, but it needed monetary support, which is where Nelson came in.
“The first year I got involved, I was partnered with a doctor in Houston, and I only owned part of the team,” Nelson said. “After the first year, I bought him out and took the team over. We played in Beaumont for two years, but it wasn’t really a good market, so we decided to move the team to Shreveport.”
Debra Green, who had worked for Nelson for many years on the Frontier Rodeo side of things, received a phone call from her boss in 2012.
“He called me one day and told me that he wanted to move the team to Shreveport, and he wanted me to do it,” said Green, the general manager of the Mavericks. “I was in shock for a minute, but then he said, ‘Deb, bulls or basketball, it doesn’t matter, just go sell it.’”
With Nelson’s desire for the team to move and continue to succeed, and Green’s marketing and financial background, the Mavericks found a new home in 2013.
In both 2010 and 2011, the team won the ABA title while playing in Beaumont. After that, the franchise was put on hold for two years while a new city and venue could be found. During that time, Nelson was also in negotiations to buy an NBA Developmental League (NBADL) team in Minot, N.D., but that fell through.
Debra Green’s husband – seven-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo steer wrestler Gary Green – joined the organization as the operations manager.
“It’s been really nice bringing a winning team to the community,” Gary Green said. “We have a great group of people here, and we have a long winning streak and have won three championships, and we’re hoping to win our fourth.
“What makes this team so good is that Jerry is paying them a good salary to play, so unlike some other teams where the guys need day jobs and can’t practice together as much, our team treats playing like a job, because it is.”
Nelson is revered by everyone involved with the organization, especially his players.
“We’re the best organization in the league, top to bottom,” said 39-year-old forward Alex Sanders. “We have the best owner by far, the best coach and the best guys – both on and off the court.
“It’s amazing, because at this level it’s almost impossible to find an owner like Jerry Nelson. There might be some NBA owners out there as dedicated as Jerry, but there aren’t many in sports like him.”
It isn’t just that the Mavericks haven’t been defeated in 87 games – it’s the way they’re winning that has been the most impressive part.
The team is 28-0 this season, and has averaged 139 points per game. They are the top seed in the ABA playoffs, and will host the championship games April 7-13 in Hirsch Coliseum.
Shreveport-Bossier has rarely had a close game this season, something that Debra Green wants to change.
“There are about 12 teams in the league like us; teams that might actually be able to beat us,” she said. “Our region doesn’t have many teams as good as us, so next season we’re going to travel more and try to play home-away games with Arizona and Chicago to improve our competition. We need to bring those good teams to our place to grow our fan base.”
Nelson enjoys watching his team blow the competition out, but says he certainly wants to see better teams come to his building.
“I want to play the baddest teams in the league every night, not just play the teams in our division or region,” he said. “My philosophy is that even as a champion, every now and then you need to get socked in the mouth a little bit. I want to play the teams that can play with us and be competitive. We’re going to branch out.”
Sanders, who played for Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum during his college years at Louisville, also spent a few years on the Harlem Globetrotters.
He says the key to the team being so dominant is the coach.
“I’ve never met a coach more passionate for the game than Steve Tucker,” said Sanders, who has been on all three championships teams with the organization. “He eats, sleeps and dreams basketball. His caring for us and passion for the game is what makes this all possible.”
Nelson says he has “the best coach in America,” and that Tucker has been the architect of the roster.
“Steve has a system, and each player is going to follow it, or they aren’t going to play for us,” Nelson said. “We’ve had some exceptional basketball players come through here, but they weren’t good teammates, so we sent them home.”
The Mavericks have gotten so good that teams from overseas leagues in Asia and Europe have started plucking their players.
Ed Horton, who was the ABA league and ABA Championship Finals MVP last season, left the team in December to play for a team in Slovenia. The team also lost point guards Chris Hagan and Tony Hooper to China, but still hasn’t missed a beat.
“We lost three very good players, but they had opportunities to go play overseas and make a lot of money,” Nelson said. “They were under contract, and I could’ve forced them to stay and finish the season, but I’m not that kind of person.”
It’s easy to see why everyone in the organization loves Nelson – he really does care about his players and wants what’s best for them.
It’s that kind of attitude that’s made Nelson so successful in the rodeo industry. He’s won numerous awards for his bucking stock over the years, namely with saddle bronc horse Medicine Woman and bareback horse Full Baggage.
He says there’s a simple philosophy he uses in all his business ventures.
“Owning a basketball team is no different than owning a rodeo stock company – I always want to be the best in everything I do,” Nelson said. “Winning games and championships in basketball is the same as winning horse of the year awards in rodeo. If you’re going to attempt to do something, you have to try to be the best there is.”
Other Frontier Rodeo News
- 62nd Wrangler National Finals Rodeo RecapDecember 14, 2020
- Frontier Rodeo Company wins 6th straight PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year awardDecember 8, 2020
- 61st Annual Wrangler NFR RecapDecember 16, 2019
- BUCKING BULL SALE - Monday, Sept. 2, 2019 - Freedom, OKJuly 18, 2019
- Top roughstock rides at the 91st Annual Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo - March 7-10, 2019March 14, 2019
- Frontier Rodeo Company 60th WNFR RecapDecember 16, 2018
- Frontier Rodeo Company Announced 2018 PRCA Stock Contractor of the YearDecember 11, 2018
- SLE Pro Rodeo February 27, 2017
- Frontier Rodeo takes home the gold !! December 1, 2016
- Medicine Woman Does it Again !!October 24, 2016
- Don Gay to judge Big Tex Choice contest August 24, 2016
- Schlegel has career day at Cody StampedeJuly 6, 2016
- Wrights dominate saddle bronc riding at Cody StampedeJuly 5, 2016
- Final Results for Lehi RoundupJune 26, 2016
- Bennett hits right number to win Corpus ChristiApril 19, 2016
- Final Performance Results, Corpus Christi, Texas! April 17, 2016
- Results after Third Performance, Corpus Christi, TXApril 16, 2016
- Corpus Christi results after second performance April 15, 2016
- Results After First Performance, Corpus Christi, TX. April 14, 2016
- Foltyn claims Montgomery crownMarch 28, 2016
- Local Favorite, Clayton Foltyn, of Winnie, Texas Takes Home the Money in Bull RidingMarch 26, 2016
- Southeastern Livestock ExpositionMarch 19, 2016
- Arcadia All-Fla Championship RodeoMarch 14, 2016
- Brown has sunny time in FloridaMarch 14, 2016
- ‘He’s the one,’ Palin campaigns for Trump at Arcadia RodeoMarch 14, 2016
- Lewis Feild: Oct. 28, 1956 – Feb. 15, 2016February 16, 2016
- 64th Annual Mid Winter Fair Rodeo WinnersJanuary 19, 2016
- Frontier Rodeo Company Named 2015 Stock Contractor of the YearDecember 21, 2015
- 2015 world champions crowned in Las VegasDecember 13, 2015
- Rusty Wright continues family’s winning legacyDecember 10, 2015
- Frontier Rodeo Company Receives PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year, Saddle Bronc of the Year, Medicine Woman, and PRCA Reserve World Champion Bareback Horse of the Year, Full Baggage! December 3, 2015
- State Fair Of Louisiana Pro RodeoOctober 27, 2015
- Medicine Woman, Dirty Jacket repeat as top stockOctober 20, 2015
- Pasadena Livestock Show & RodeoSeptember 23, 2015
- Casey Martin breaks through in CodyAugust 17, 2015
- Casey Martin breaks through in CodyAugust 17, 2015
- Freedom Rodeo And Old Cowhand ReunionAugust 17, 2015
- Diaz Sets Dodge City Round-Up Arena RecordAugust 3, 2015
- Kimzey has Good Time at Spanish ForkJuly 27, 2015
- Hardwick tops WCC Spanish Fork fieldJune 2, 2015
- Asay rides Frontier’s Dirty Cop to overall lead in bull riding at Buc Days RodeoApril 26, 2015
- Hermann thrills crowd to win barrel racing on final day of Buc Days Rodeo in Corpus ChristiApril 26, 2015
- Murphy, Breding finally tame Frontier bulls to lead going into weekend at Buc Days RodeoApril 25, 2015
- Frontier bulls steal spotlight on first day of Buc Days RodeoApril 24, 2015
- YMBL Championship Rodeo resultsMarch 28, 2015
- Full Baggage has Young thinking about more travel (Southeastern Livestock Exposition results)March 22, 2015
- Spencer happily takes his Medicine in ArcadiaMarch 15, 2015
- Frontier Rodeo Co. building history with award-winning livestock; looks to Roswell May 15-16March 10, 2015
- Jerry Nelson's Frontier Rodeo Company Will Provide the World's Top Bucking Horses for THE AMERICANFebruary 28, 2015
- Semi-Finals crowns champions, names American qualifiersFebruary 28, 2015
- Andrews Rodeo dominates WNFR Top Stock AwardsDecember 23, 2014
- PRCA Bucking Stock of the Year AnnouncedOctober 20, 2014
- State Fair of Louisiana Accounts New Pro Rodeo Contract for 2014September 22, 2014
- Pasadena Livestock Show & Rodeo ResultsSeptember 18, 2014
- Pass, Bownds gain ground in PasadenaSeptember 18, 2014
- Results: XIT Rodeo & Reunion in Dalhart, TXAugust 11, 2014
- Sundell Finds Right Medicine in Dodge CityAugust 5, 2014
- Cody Stampede - Rodeo ResultsJuly 8, 2014
- Stall Rushes Toward Top with Big Night in CodyJuly 1, 2014
- Cody Wright Lets it Rip for 90 in MontgomeryMarch 15, 2014
- Frontier Rodeo Scores Big in Bucking Stock AwardsOctober 21, 2013
- Frontier Rodeo Featured in Buckin' Stock MagazineOctober 1, 2013
- World’s Top Rodeo and Bull Riding Champions to Compete for $2 Million Cash Payout in Richest One-Day Event in Western Sports HistoryAugust 22, 2013