Moments before Billie Jack Saebens heeled his first of six steers at the 2017 Bob Feist Invitational, the PRCA updated its world standings and placed him atop the pack of the best in the game with $58,190.21 in ProRodeo earnings. Much of that has come without the help of Saebens’ ace, Kevin, a 12-year-old black gelding owned by Dixon Flowers Performance Horses. But Kevin was back in action for the Feist, and the team roping world took notice en route to their 46.23-second-on-six-head second-place finish at the BFI, worth $42,000 a man.
When you won the Red Bluff (Calif.) Round Up, you rode Grizz because Kevin was sore. What happened, and how long has he been back in action?
He fell in the snow at Rapid City getting on the trailer. I left him off all winter trying to get him back. I rode him in Kissimmee, and he was still sore. They did some laser therapy on him, and I swam him for a few weeks. I rode him at Ft. Smith, Hugo and then here (the BFI).
What did it mean for you to win Horse of the BFI honors?
For me and the people I work for, that’s about as good as winning second was. We spend so much time working on the horses. It’s such a big deal for other people to notice that they’re good, too.
Tell me about the Dixon Flowers team.
It’s Duke and Lindsey Dixon. Lindsey’s parents are Mike and Marcia Flowers, so that’s where the Dixon Flowers comes from. I started working for them six years ago. They’ve done a lot for me, and I ride and train horses for them. They let me rodeo and give me a spot to practice. I live on their place. They’ve just been amazing.
You’ve been on such a roll. Do you have to stop and pinch yourself?
I really try not to think about it. Even yesterday—practicing before the BFI. I said I didn’t care if we didn’t win anything, I just didn’t want to make mistakes. I just wanted to catch every steer. I didn’t care if we were 10 on every single steer, I just didn’t want to make a mistake. I just tried to do my job. I watched one run yesterday, and that was Luke and Jake at high team. It helps my nerves. You see somebody have a bad go and you get nervous thinking about the bad things that could happen. It’s like if I don’t ever see somebody else mess up, I don’t think about what bad could happen in my run as much.
Your partner Coleman Proctor’s horse won top head horses honors at the Feist, too. That’s sure got to make things easier on a heeler.
Man, that horse. I don’t want to say he’s underrated because I don’t know what everyone else thinks, but that horse is really special. My partner made every steer super easy to heel
Were there any hiccups yesterday?
My horse was so dang good. It was the best roping I’ve ever roped. Coleman did a great job. Our first two steers were really strong, but other than that it went pretty dang good. Our fourth steer, he was supposed to be really good and he jumped out the top of the chute, but Coleman scored great. That would be about the only bad thing that happened but Coleman is such a good header it didn’t matter.