Clay Smith, who won the world title in the heading in 2018, plans to step into the ring to do battle for a PRCA All-Around title, with plans to enter the steer roping in 2019.
"I finally got a really good horse, so I don’t have an excuse," Smith, who bought a horse from three-time National Finals of Steer Roping Qualifier Shay Good, said. "I wouldn’t enter the steer roping because I just hate borrowing horses. I couldn’t find a horse—they’re super hard to find—but I finally came up with this one, and Shay helped me out. I’m pretty excited about him. I called him Thumper."
While Smith says a shot at the All-Around will be nice, his immediate goal is to make the NFSR.
"I’ve asked my tripping buddies to not let me miss the books," Smith, originally of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, said. "I’m going to try to go to all of them that I can and feel it out. I don’t know if I’ll be ready this year. It might take me one year to get it all lined out."
The bulk of Smith's steer roping experience has come at the Cinch Timed Event Championship at the Lazy E Arena, where he has borrowed horses and practiced for three weeks prior to the event each March.
Smith has qualified for the last four Wrangler National Finals Rodeos, winning his first gold buckle in 2018 with Paul Eaves and setting a season earnings mark at $289,921. In 2019 Smith is roping with Jake Long, and he's already won $34,231.19. At the time of this writing on February 26, Tuf Cooper leads the All-Around race with $36,129.93. TRJ