Heating Up: Smith and Long Get Round 2 Win After Tough Start
Clay Smith and Jake Long hammered their Round 2 steer.
NFR Victory Lap
Clay Smith Jake Long

The Clay Smith and Jake Long story has had a lot to it in 2022.

A new partnership. A horribly broken and splintered leg in Prescott, Arizona for Smith. A walking cast and a barrel racer’s Magic Seat for two months, fighting tooth and nail for an NFR qualification.

After that? A miss in Round 1 wasn’t much to stress.

Round 1: Swing and a Miss

Smith and Long rebounded with a bang in Round 2, winning the go round with a 4.1-second run, worth $28,913.70 a man—bumping Long to No. 2 in the world in the heeling with $169,245.38 and moving Smith up to sixth from the bottom of the pack with $127,765.26.

“I popped it off,” Smith said. “I didn’t think I had enough power on my swing, but I did. I didn’t drive it to the back of the head like I needed to, but a lot of it was on the left side. It was one of those deals—sometimes it just comes off. But I didn’t drive it to the back of the head good enough.”

Clay Smith
Clay Smith and Jake Long making a 4.1-second run to win Round 2 of the 2022 NFR. | Tanya Hamner Photo

Round 2: Get Necked

So in Round 2, Smith drove it a little farther—for a neck shot. A fast neck shot, that Long cleaned up with ease.

“I’ll get a neck every now and then,” Smith, 31, of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, joked. “For us to have a chance, we were going to have to be pretty aggressive every night. I’m going to rope differently than I hope I ever have to rope out here, and he’s going to rope the same always. I told him I’m talking to myself when I’m saying I’m going to have to be more aggressive. I’m talking to myself when I’m saying we have to be more aggressive.”

Long—as always—took the shot.

“I was just in a great spot,” Long, 38, of Coffeyville, Kansas, said. “It was dang sure first legal hop.”

Smith rode his 16-year-old, two-time world champion Marty, while Long was on CJ, the 9-year-old roan gelding The Star Pepto by Peptos Stardust out of Lady Tonto Six by Star the Boss.

World Standings Race

In the standings race, Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira now officially have more won after Round 2 than they did when they won the world in 2022. (They won gold with $263,227 last year. With a third and fourth place tie in Round 2 with a 4.4-second run, they now have $269,822.82 a man. Driggers has a $92,308.53 lead on Clay Tryan, who took a no-time in Round 2 after fishing with an illegal head catch. Nogueira leads No.2 Long by $100,577.44.)

Full Results: Round 2

Lightning Aguilera and Jonathan Torres0header missed
Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp4.96$4,663.50 
Chad Masters and Joseph Harrison9.3leg
JR Dees and Levi Lord0header missed
Tyler Wade and Trey Yates5.4
Rhen Richard and Jeremy Buhler10.1FISH
Dustin Egusquiza and Travis Graves0header missed
Tanner Tomlinson and Patrick Smith4.43  4$14,690.25 
Coleman Proctor and Logan Medlin8.9leg
Andrew Ward and Buddy Hawkins4.32$22,851.15 
Clay Smith and Jake Long4.11$28,913.70 
Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill0Illegal head catch
Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira 4.43 4$14,690.25 
Jake Orman and Brye Crites4.8
Riley Minor and Brady Minor5.15$7,461.60 
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