Back Again: Reigning Jr Ironman Clay Clayman Kicks off 2023 Event With A Round 1 Win
Missouri native Clay Clayman is out for back-to-back wins in the JR Ironman, and he started strong right out of the gate in 2023.
Clay Clayman heels a steer at the 2023 Jr Ironman competition.
Clayman topped the Jr Ironman heeling en route to his performance win in Round 1. James Phifer image courtesy Lazy E Arena.

The 2023 JR Ironman kicked off on March 2, 2023 in similar fashion to the 2022 event—with Clay Clayman scoring a first performance win inside the Lazy E Arena.

Clayman (20) went 36.3 seconds in heading, heeling, tie-down roping and bulldogging to best the field of 20 contenders and score $750. But he’s just getting started.

“Nobody’s ever won the JR Ironman back-to-back years,” Clayman said. “That’s what I came here to do.”

In 2022, Clayman smashed the aggregate record over four performances with a time of 111.2 seconds on 12 head and made it through the event without penalty. He started out on the right foot with four smooth runs and managed to best his 2022 time of 40.4 seconds in the first performance. This year, he had reigning Ironman champion Erich Rogers on the heading side and two-time world champion Paul Eaves on the heels.

“Heeling is my strong event, and the cattle are stouter, which gives me a chance to show off” Clayman said after earning the heeling win in the performance. “I want to make sure I stand out in the heeling, since that’s what I do every day.”

For horsepower, Clayman used a pair of grade 10-year-old geldings raised and trained by his family members in the team roping. His calf horse was “Bonnie,” a grade mare provided by Dawson Turner, little brother to recent Lone Star Shootout Champion and Clayman’s 2023 ProRodeo header, Dalton Turner. In the steer wrestling, another horse Clayman trained, Jet—the only one on the trailer with registration papers— helped pull him off an impressive 3.8-second run to clinch his performance win.

“I had history with that steer,” Clayman said. “I ran him at the jackpot last night and was 4.3 on him to win a round.”

Clay Clayman steer wrestles at the 2023 JR Ironman at the Lazy E Arena.
Clayman went 3.8 seconds to make a statement in Round 1 of the JR Ironman. James Phifer photo courtesy Lazy E Arena.

Clayman is a fifth-generation all-around cowboy and had the chance to have his dad, John, hazing for him on arena dirt. In the stands, his cheering section was packed.

“I have a lot more family this year,” Clayman said. “It’s great. I don’t get to see them much because of our rodeo schedule, but it’s great to have them here and get to see them and have that support here.”

Tune into all the Cinch Timed Event Championships action all weekend long at

2023 JR Ironman First Round Results

Aggregate on Four Head

  1. Clay Clayman, 36.3 seconds, worth $750
  2. Ketch Kelton, 39.7 seconds, worth $250
  3. Evan Bottini, 49.3 seconds
  4. Conner Griffith, 59.1 seconds
  5. Dylan Hancock, 59.7 seconds
  6. Mason Appleton 90.7 seconds
  7. Caleb Lake 97.7 seconds
  8. Wyatt Williams 103.9 seconds
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