LOVINGTON, N.M. – On a warm July evening in the Navajo Nation, Austin Foss got to see first-hand what all the fuss is about with Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket.
It paid off quite handsomely for Foss, of Terrebonne, Ore., who posted an 89-point ride on Dirty Jacket to win the rodeo in Window Rock, Ariz., and collect nearly $4,000 in the process.
“He was a pretty fun horse to get on,” Foss said of the 8-year-old bay gelding. “He’s the horse everybody wants to get on, and for good reason.”
Now the 20-year-old cowboy would love another shot at Dirty Jacket, and he might just get it during the Lea County Fair and Rodeo, set for Wednesday, Aug. 8-Saturday, Aug. 11, at Jake McClure Arena.
“It had just rained in Window Rock, and the arena was a bit damp,” Foss said. “He did his job, and I did mine, and it worked out for 89 points. He got in the air and definitely bucked. I was pretty happy, but then after I left the arena, I thought, ‘Man, one more point, and I would’ve been 90.’ That would’ve been great.”
The ride was just a week removed from Clint Cannon’s 90-point marking on Dirty Jacket in Pecos, Texas, a ride Foss got to see up close and personal – he and Cannon have been traveling down the rodeo trail together this year.
When I saw that I had Dirty Jacket, I thought, ‘This could be the one that could help me break out of that slump,’ ” said Cannon, a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Waller, Texas. “I made an awesome ride, and the horse bucked.
“He bucks every time I’ve been on him. He’s one of those horses you can win on every time if you ride him right. What’s great about that horse is just how electric he is. When the gate swings open, I think he kicked the back of the bucking chute three times before he got to the end of the gate. He’s just so showy and electric. He bails out of there and just keeps cracking them.”
Foss’ win in Window Rock marked the fourth time this season a cowboy has won a rodeo after riding Dirty Jacket. Reigning world champion Kaycee Feild of Payson, Utah, scored 89 points in the short go-round en route to winning in Fort Worth, Texas; Wes Stevenson of Lubbock, Texas, won in San Angelo, Texas, after scoring 87 points in the short round; and Jeremy Mouton of Scott, La., posted an 84 to win in Bridgeport, Texas.
“When he leaves the chute, he’s trying to kick the flankman off the back of the chute,” said Kaycee Feild, the reigning bareback riding world champion who won the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo after riding Dirty Jacket for 89 points in the championship round. “He’s so fast, and he bucks so hard.
“There’s no way you can muscle up on him. You’ve got to be fast and aggressive, or he will get you out of shape and might get you bucked off.”
Pete Carr, owner of Carr Pro Rodeo, has a dozen animals selected to the finals each year, a couple of which are bucked in the fifth and 10th rounds. Carr owns some of the greatest bucking animals in ProRodeo, including Real Deal, the 2005 Bareback Riding Horse of the Year, and Riverboat Annie, the 2007 reserve world champion bareback horse.
“This is the best I’ve seen Dirty Jacket,” Carr said. “He’s been phenomenal.”
He’s been pretty good since he first started bucking in May 2008.
In addition to Feild’s win in Fort Worth, three other cowboys earned titles on the horse so far this year: Wes Stevenson of Lubbock, Texas, won in San Angelo, Texas, after matching moves with Dirty Jacket for 87 points in the short round; Jeremy Mouton of Scott, La., posted an 84 on him to win in Bridgeport, Texas; and Austin Foss of Terrebonne, Ore., scored 89 to win in Window Rock, Ariz.
“That horse has just gotten better,” said Stevenson, a seven-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier. “I think he may have stepped it up from what we’ve seen.”
Dirty Jacket is always electric, which is why the top bareback riders in the game have selected him to buck in the elite rounds at the NFR each of the last three years – the TV pen features the “showiest” bucking horses, and the moniker comes from the days when only the final round of the NFR was televised. The “TV pen” animals buck in the fifth and 10th rounds, which provide a great touch to the halfway point of the championship and the season’s final go-round.
“That horse is in his prime,” Stevenson said. “He could be having one of the better years he’s had, and that’s saying a lot. The first time he was bucked was four years ago in Guymon (Okla.), and they won the rodeo on him.”