DALLAS – Wes Stevenson knew there was something special about MGM Deuces Night.
Now other elite bareback riders in ProRodeo have signed their letter of acknowledgement, voting the Carr Pro Rodeo athlete as the 2012 Bareback Horse of the Year.
“That pumps me up, and it says a lot about that horse,” said Stevenson, an eight-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Lubbock, Texas. “I know how I feel about her, and it says a lot about how that the other top 15 in the world feel about her.”
Stevenson is a little closer than most to the 7-year-old bay mare. He raised the horse and was the first cowboy to ride her when she came of age. Then when Stevenson realized what he had, he sold her to Pete Carr, owner of the Dallas-based livestock firm.
“I knew she’d have a really good shot to come to the finals,” Stevenson said. “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.”
Her consistent bucking motion is one reason why the top cowboys in the game selected her to win the halter – it’s the second such award for a Carr Pro Rodeo horse; Real Deal, a 12-year-old brown gelding, was named horse of the year in 2005. Another stalwart, River Boat Annie, was selected as the reserve world champion bareback horse in 2007.
MGM Deuces Night, by Night Jacket out of Night Watch, helped cowboys set a new standard in 2012. Reigning world champion Kaycee Feild of Payson, Utah, won RodeoHouston aboard the mare, establishing a new arena record with a 93-point ride. Five-time NFR qualifier Steven Dent of Mullen, Neb., set an arena record in Pecos, Texas, with a 91.
“I feel like that’s the best pick they could’ve possibly had this year,” said Jared Keylon, a first-time NFR qualifier from Uniontown, Kan. “I believe the horse-of-the-year award should always go to the horses that everybody wins on but one you have to work a little bit to get along with them. The horse of the year should be the one that if you ride really well, you can be close to 90 on every time.
“That’s what you get every time with Deuces Night.”
In addition to winning the halter, Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket was named the second runner-up to Bareback Horse of the Year. That’s quite an honor, too.
“We’re very blessed to have two of the top horses in the voting this year, and I think it says a lot about the bloodlines of these great animals,” Carr said. “MGM Deuces Night and Dirty Jacket are exceptional bucking horses, and it means a lot to me for them to be honored like this.”
This marks the third straight year that MGM Deuces Night has been selected to perform at the NFR, set for Dec. 6-15 in Las Vegas. It’s the fourth straight qualification for Dirty Jacket, an 8-year-old bay gelding.
Both MGM Deuces Night and Dirty Jacket have been powerful this season, with cowboys winning nine rodeos on either of those horses. In addition to the winning rides by Feild and Dent, newcomer J.R. Vezain scored 89 points on the mare to win in Guymon, Okla.
Feild won Fort Worth, Texas, with an 89 on Dirty Jacket to kick start a solid year. Other big wins for the gelding were Stevenson, 87, San Angelo, Texas; Jeremy Mouton, 86, Bridgeport, Texas; Austin Foss, 89, Window Rock, Ariz.; Matthew Smith, 87, Hempstead, Texas; and Clint Cannon, 84, Waco, Texas.
“When you look at the height those two horses get, they’re consistent in the way they buck every time,” said Keylon, who finished the regular season 15th in the world standings. “Those are horses you can count on. You know if you have Deuces Night or Dirty Jacket that if you do your job, you know you’re going to win.
“There’s no doubt in your mind. Those are the horses that when you see you’ve drawn them, you call home and tell your wife.”
Consistency is just one of the trademarks of the two Carr horses cowboys mention; another is the animal being electric.
“I think Deuces Night is a great horse, and guys are 88 to 90 every time her head is out,” said 2008 world champion Justin McDaniel, who has qualified for the NFR five times. “Winning the halter is about getting on the very best horses every time, and she’s that horse. I haven’t had the chance to get on her yet, but hopefully I will in either the fifth or 10 rounds at the NFR this year, and I’d be plumb tickled to draw that horse.”
So would the other 14 bareback riders who will test their skills against the very best horses in the world during the 10 nights of championship rodeo in Las Vegas from Dec. 6-15.
“Every time I’ve seen her, she does the same thing,” said Casey Colletti, a two-time NFR qualifier from Pueblo, Colo. “She angles to the left and bails in the air. What’s really cool is that she tries as hard as she can every time.
“That is a bucking horse I dream of when I think of bucking horses.”