PECOS, Texas – If a bucking horse can announce its presence with authority, Deuces Night did it last June at the West of the Pecos Rodeo.
The 6-year-old bay/paint mare out of Night Line by Night Jacket bucked snappily across the Buck Jackson Arena dirt, guiding Texan Chris Harris to an 88-point, rodeo-winning ride. That’s when the Carr Pro Rodeo bucking beast became the talk among cowboys who ride bareback horses for a living.
“When you get on a good horse and make a good ride, it dang sure feels good,” said Harris, a six-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Itasca, Texas. “She’s just a good horse, and I was glad to win that rodeo. I had not won it before. I’d placed there a couple times, but it was a good victory. It’s the oldest rodeo in the United States of America, so it’s quite an honor.”
Harris will be looking to defend its title during the four performances of the 129th edition of the West o the Pecos Rodeo, set for 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 22-Saturday, June 25. He knows the opportunities will be there again this year, thanks in large part to the great animal athletes that come from Carr Pro Rodeo, the livestock firm that produces the annual rodeo.
“It takes somebody who knows the game and understands it, and that’s what you’ve got in Pete Carr,” Harris said of the company’s owner. “It takes passion to put that back into the animals, to take care of them, to feed them the right grain, the right nutrients.
“That guy got his hands on Riverboat Annie, and that horse, to me, is still one of the greatest horses to get on. That takes heart, passion and try.”
Riverboat Annie has been one of the top horses in bareback riding for several years, and in 2007 was crowned the reserve world champion bareback horse. She followed in the footsteps of another Carr horse, Real Deal, the 2005 Bareback Riding Horse of the Year.
Deuces Night is well on the way to receiving a similar honor. She bucked at the NFR for the first time last December and carried Kelly Timberman to the 10th-round victory with an 88.5-point ride. This past April, she and Kaycee Feild posted a round-tying 90-point score in the final go-round at the Dodge National Circuit Finals.
“This is a very special mare that bucks the right way,” Carr said. “You can tell she loves her job. We look for big things from her in the near future.”
The horse was raised by bareback rider Wes Stevenson, who took advantage of the animal’s great pedigree – her sire, Night Jacket, is one of the most celebrated stallions in the bucking horse business today and was purchased two seasons ago for $200,000. Stevenson sold Deuces Night to Carr last year.
“She’s been on of the best in the business all year,” said Stevenson, a six-time NFR qualifier. “I knew she’d have a really good shot to come to the finals. I knew she was that good, so part of the reason I sold her to Pete is that I knew she’d have a good shot to go to the finals. I bought her from Jim Zinser as a brood mare, but she bucked so good, I didn’t want to waste her sitting at my house. I wanted her to have a chance.
“She has a lot of heart. I was the first one to get on her with a rigging, and from the first time we ever bucked her, I knew that little filly has a lot of heart. She’s a very electric horse. She’s going to start doing some stuff right out of the box.”
She’s done pretty well, and the cowboys love the opportunity to ride her.
“Wes is a guru when it comes to genetics,” Harris said. “My hat’s off to Wes. He picked the right stock contractor to sell that horse to, one that’s going to do the right things with her and take care of her.
“I raise bucking horses, too, and the reality is, it doesn’t matter who raises them. It’s about who’s hauling them, who’s feeding them, who’s caring for them, and in this case, it’s the Carr family. Those guys take care of their horses, and they take care of them the right way.”