Clay Smith to Make 2022 Marty’s Last NFR, Will Sell World Champion Gelding at Rancho Rio in March 2023
Clay Smith will ride Marty at the 2022 NFR and then offer the World Champion mount at the Horse Sale at Rancho Rio in Wickenburg, Arizona.
Clay Smith Marty NFR team roping

Clay Smith’s Marty has been the head horse of the decade, topping fan- and competitor-favorite lists Smith qualified for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2015.

Now, with two gold buckles and the lion’s share of his $1.69 million in ProRodeo earnings won on the grey bomber, Smith is offering Marty, 16, for sale at the 2023 edition of The Horse Sale at Rancho Rio March 11 during the NTR Finals presented by Cinch.

Team Roping header heeler Clay Smith Jade Corkill
Clay Smith winning the US Open on Marty. | USTRC Photo by Andsersen/CBarC

“He’s 100% sound—he’s probably never been more sound— and he feels good,” Smith, 31, said. “I’m tired of him going in the trailer and having to sit in the trailer all summer. He doesn’t have to do that any more. He doesn’t owe me anything, but I don’t want to turn him out to do nothing. I just got through riding him 20 minutes ago, and he’s going to be ready to go for Round 1 at the Thomas & Mack Dec. 1.”

Smith won both the 2018 and 2019 gold buckles aboard Marty, and he will head for Jake Long on him in Las Vegas. He’s also won the US Open, three Wildfire Open to the World titles and nearly every major rodeo in the PRCA on the horse.

Marty never won the head horse of the year title in the PRCA because he lacks AQHA registration papers, but most ropers who’s horses won the title explained—both on and off the record over the years—that their horses only won because Marty wasn’t eligible.

Clay Smith and Marty
Clay Smith and Marty at a photo shoot for ADM Animal Nutrition. | Courtesy ADM

“He’s to the point now where he’s more solid than he’s ever been,” Smith said. “He’s a tough horse. He could do a lot of good for somebody else. It would be cool to see somebody else take him and have success on him at the World Series at that level. My sister-in-law is 12 and she enjoys roping on him. There was a point, earlier in his career, that he was too high-powered. But he’s so solid now, he’ll elevate the head-horse game at the recreational roper’s level.”

Smith could keep Marty forever, but he doesn’t want to see him kicked out to pasture and slowing down any time soon. At the same time, he is firmly against selling him to another PRCA header to haul to 75 rodeos—because Marty has paid his dues there.

“In years past, I’ve had a lot of guys who were serious about me pricing him,” Smith said. “But that’s not what I want to see him go do. I could definitely just keep him forever.”

Smith also has Sun Frost N Pep—the famous SunTan—in The Horse Sale at Rancho Rio. SunTan was first made famous by Rhen Richard when he rode the golden, dappled palomino by PC Double Frost out of JB Pep N Kory at the Cinch Timed Event Championship and campaigned him on the ProRodeo road.

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