GUYMON, Okla. – Dirty Jacket is just 7 years old, but already he’s built a lasting legacy in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
Each of the last three seasons, the bay gelding out of Dirty by Night Jacket has guided cowboys to the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo bareback riding championship. Last year he was bucked twice, and he matched moves with three-time world champion Will Lowe for 87 points to win the event; two days later, he and Joe Gunderson danced across the Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena dirt for 86 points, good enough for second place.
“He’s just a real good horse, the kind you want in a bucking horse,” said Gunderson of Agar, S.D., who used his finish in Guymon a season ago to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the first time in his career. “When you have a horse like that, you just let him do the work and try not to mess him up. He’s too good a horse.
“You’d be the only reason you don’t win money on him.”
There’s a good chance cowboys will win on Dirty Jacket during this year’s Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 6; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 8.
Lowe has qualified for the NFR nine times and has dozens of well deserved honors that match his tremendous athletic ability. His win in Guymon last May was the first of his career, and he was plenty tickled to strap on that champion’s belt. He credited that fine piece of leather to the Carr horse.
“That horse likes that arena a lot,” said Lowe of Canyon, Texas. “He just likes to buck. He’s such a good horse. He’s in the TV pen at the NFR, so you know he’s the one guys want to get on.”
The “TV pen” features the horses selected to perform in the fifth and 10th go-rounds, the horses that can help cowboys reach 90-point rides on any given night.
“That horse just bucks,” D.V. Fennell, a two-time NFR qualifier from Porum, Okla, said of Dirty Jacket. “He leaps in the air and shows off. He’s not just a dead easy hopper, but he’s a mix between a hopper and a bucker. He’s the one that you want.”
Not only has Fennell won money on the gelding, he’s seen some of the best in the business do the same. One of his traveling partners, Jared Smith, won Guymon in 2009; Jerad Schlegal won in 2008 – each time Dirty Jacket has helped cowboys to the winner’s circle, it’s been with 87-point rides.
“It’s just a good setup for that horse,” said Carr, who has been part of the No Man’s Land tradition for six years. “Probably the most deciding factor is we get some of the best cowboys in the country in Guymon. When you’ve got great cowboys, they make your horses look really good. Dirty Jacket’s drawn pretty well there.”
But Dirty Jacket isn’t the only top-caliber Carr horse that will perform inside Hitch Arena. Two of his half-brothers, Deuces Night and Outa Sight, will be in the draw – both 6-year-old mares are coming off their first trips to the NFR. All three horses are by Night Jacket, one of the top bucking horse stallions in ProRodeo, and all bucked in Oklahoma City a month ago during the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo. In fact, Kaycee Feild rode Deuces Night for 90 points to split the final go-round.
“That Deuces Night is one outstanding bucking horse, the kind that will be the bareback horse of the finals, I think,” Fennell said. “Chris Harris won Pecos (Texas) on that horse, and she’s definitely a bucker.”
Bareback riders make a living with their hands wedged into a rigging, that’s strapped tightly around nasty bucking horses. They realize how important great animals are to their livelihood and for chasing their gold buckle dreams. That’s why they go to Carr Pro Rodeo events and why they’ll be in Guymon next week.
“I like Pete,” said Clint Cannon, a two-time NFR qualifier from Waller, Texas. “He’s always honest, and he always brings good horses to rodeos. He runs a good show.
“The great thing about Pete is that he’s not afraid to bring his good horses. We know when we go to one of Pete’s rodeos that you don’t have to get on a piece of junk. You know you’re going to have a chance to draw a good horse.”
The pen is stacked with great Carr horses, from veteran buckers like Real Deal, the 2005 Bareback Riding Horse of the Year, and Grass Dancer, which helped Ryan Gray to a record-tying 94-point ride in 2009, to younger athletes like Open Range and Hometown Girl.
“They won first and second on those two horses at a futurity a few weeks ago,” Carr said. “I’ve got high hopes for Island Girl and a couple of really good ones in Cool Change and Buck Wild. They’ve been pretty special so far.”
Of course, he can say that about a lot of the Carr Pro Rodeo bareback horses.