SAN ANGELO, Texas – Words aren’t necessary to tell just how much Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket loves his job.
His actions speak volumes.
“He sure likes to buck,” said Jake Brown, who won the third go-round of the Texas Circuit Finals Rodeo in early January with an 87-point ride on Dirty Jacket. “When I jumped off him, he tossed his head in the air and pranced around the arena. He just looked so cool.”
He should be cool. He’s the reigning two-time Bareback Horse of the Year, and he’ll be one of the featured athletes at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo, which takes place Feb. 5-20.
Now 12 years old, the powerful and athletic bay gelding is the horse every bareback rider wants to ride.
“That was my first time to ride him, and I was so excited,” said Brown, a 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Hillsboro, Texas. “He’s a big ol’ show-out. He jumps high in the air. In my mind, Dirty Jacket is the right kind of bucking horse.
“He tries so hard every time.”
Dirty Jacket knows his job, and he likes it. He explodes out of the chute and leaps high on every jump, bucking and kicking as hard as he can. When the whistle blows to signal the end of the ride, the athletic horse will slow down his bucking motion and allow the cowboy a clean exit.
“When I was getting ready, I had to calm myself down so I didn’t get over-excited,” said Brown, who admitted that the toughest part of riding Dirty Jacket is being matched with him via the random draw. “I’ve seen all my friends get on him, and I knew just how good he looked. He felt even better.
“That first jump out of there felt so awesome. He jumps so high. We’ve talked that he likes outdoor arenas better because he probably thinks he’s going to hit his head on an indoor arena because he wants to buck so high. He bucked pretty good at in that building in Waco (home of the circuit finals).”
He’s performed well any place he’s been. Dirty Jacket has been part of records in just about any type of arena. Last February, he and Jessy Davis matched for 93 points in San Angelo; Ryan Gray was 92 points on him four months later in Pecos, Texas.
“He’s just a great animal,” said Gray, an eight-time NFR qualifier from Cheney, Wash. “You can guarantee he’s going to perform at his best every time. He’s going to give you a chance to win first; that’s the neat thing about that horse.”
Over the last four seasons, bareback riders have chosen Dirty Jacket as one of the top three horses in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association; he has been at the top of that list in 2014 and ’15. There’s a reason behind it.
“There’s not another horse like him,” said Richmond Champion, who has won three times on the powerful bay. “He has a huge frame, but he’s so athletic from nose to tail. He just looks like an athlete. If you could pick a horse out of a herd that could jump nine feet in the air, he’s that horse. If you’re going to win a big rodeo, that’s the horse you want.”
Champion should know. He won the 2014 Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days with a 91-point ride, then followed it with an 88.5 to win the fifth round of that season’s NFR. In 2015, he posted a 90-point ride for the win in Eagle, Colo.
“Dirty Jacket is a bareback rider’s dream,” said Winn Ratliff, a three-time NFR qualifier from Leesville, La., who won the 2015 Weatherford, Texas, rodeo on the horse. “He’s got a lot of timing when he bucks; when a horse has a lot of timing, it’s easy for us to get in rhythm with him and be flashy. You get to show what the style of bareback riding is all about, and you get to show out.”
He was just 4 years old the first time he bucked at a ProRodeo, and Jerad Schlegel won the bareback riding title in Guymon, Okla., on him. Eight years later, they’re still winning on Dirty Jacket.