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.”
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.
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
|TEAM||ROUND 2||NOTES||PLACE||EARNINGS PER MAN|
|Lightning Aguilera and Jonathan Torres||0||header missed|
|Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp||4.9||6||$4,663.50|
|Chad Masters and Joseph Harrison||9.3||leg|
|JR Dees and Levi Lord||0||header missed|
|Tyler Wade and Trey Yates||5.4|
|Rhen Richard and Jeremy Buhler||10.1||FISH|
|Dustin Egusquiza and Travis Graves||0||header missed|
|Tanner Tomlinson and Patrick Smith||4.4||3 4||$14,690.25|
|Coleman Proctor and Logan Medlin||8.9||leg|
|Andrew Ward and Buddy Hawkins||4.3||2||$22,851.15|
|Clay Smith and Jake Long||4.1||1||$28,913.70|
|Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill||0||Illegal head catch|
|Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira||4.4||3 4||$14,690.25|
|Jake Orman and Brye Crites||4.8|
|Riley Minor and Brady Minor||5.1||5||$7,461.60|