COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Courtesy PRCA – Night Jacket, an eight-time selection for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo who brought a record price of $200,000 as a bucking horse stud in 2009, died of a strangulating lipoma on his colon on July 31. He was 19 years old.
Raised by Jim and Margaret Zinser of the J Bar J stock contracting firm in Clare, Mich., Night Jacket went to every WNFR from 2000-07 as a bareback horse and helped his riders to paychecks in six of his 14 trips, including round wins by Lan Lajeunesse and Tom McFarland.
LaJeunesse’s 89-point ride in the fifth round of the 2001 Wrangler NFR helped him win his second world championship.
Cullen Pickett purchased Night Jacket in September 2009 as the centerpiece of Fairfield, Texas-based Pickett Pro Rodeo’s born-to-buck breeding program.
Night Jacket sired two of the last three recipients of the Pendleton Whisky Let ’er Buck Bareback Horse of the Year Awards in Big Tex and MGM Deuces Night, plus Dirty Jacket – who finished third in last year’s balloting – and Delta Ship, twice Wrangler NFR Bareback Horse of the Year.
The Night Jacket line is notable for its size and athleticism.
“The best way I’ve heard them described, was that they are ‘Michigan Monsters,’” current J Bar J owner Sparky Dreesen told the ProRodeo Sports News. “As a whole, they are big (up to 1,600 pounds) and tough.
“Night Jacket had a very distinct trait. He got entirely up in the air. He did that thing where it looks like they are floating and had a lot of kick at the back.”
Night Jacket’s first colt crop was in 2000 and from then until 2007 he produced 74 colts, 24 of which have been selected to buck at the Wrangler NFR. Those colts have accumulated 75 total WNFR qualifications. At the 2012 WNFR, there was $159,407 won on his 17 colts.
Night Jacket has more colts yet to come from the crops of 2008 through 2013, so the future is still bright, and he is on a very short list of candidates for the title of best-producing rodeo stud of all time. Most stud horses leave descendants behind when they pass; Night Jacket leaves a legacy.