In early May 2008, Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket was just 4 years old. He had shown great promise on the company ranch near Athens, Texas, and he had a great bloodline.
But most knew very little about horse when the bay gelding colt arrived in the Oklahoma Panhandle for the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo. They quickly learned. Colorado cowboy Jerad Schlegel spurred the horse for 87 points to win Pioneer Days title.
That was the first of four straight victories in Guymon on the talented, young horse. Jared Smith won the title in 2009, three-time world champ Will Lowe earned a share of the title in 2010 and Matt Bright rode Dirty Jacket to the title in 2011.
You see, the 2008 rodeo in Guymon marked the first time Dirty Jacket had been part of a ProRodeo. Since that weekend, the now-12-year-old bucker has been recognized as one of the greatest beasts in the game – he has finished among the top three bareback horses in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association each of the past four seasons and has been the Bareback Horse of the Year each of the past two seasons.
The May 23, 2008, cover photo of ProRodeo Sports News features Billy Etbauer, who had won a share of the Guymon bronc riding title with Chet Johnson. In the story on the inside, Anne Christensen wrote about Schlegel’s ride on the colt. The photo that accompanies the story shows a somewhat awkward, lean bay frantically bucking and kicking.
Over the years, Dirty Jacket has developed a better-set pattern: Bursting out of the chutes, bucking and kicking across the arena with high leaps and excellent timing. But as a colt, he hadn’t developed those skills, nor the muscle tone that has come his way as one of the top athletes in the sport.
Much has changed since 2008. Schlegel was a rising star and a college student when he won the Guymon crown; now he’s a veteran who still has yet to qualify for the NFR. Dirty Jacket was a young, dangly colt still trying to feel his way across a rodeo arena; now he’s big, stout and dependable, all the things we want to see in our athletes.
Time definitely has served Dirty Jacket well.