First Blood

Setting the Tone: Summers & Long Get Round 1 Win to Kick Off 2023 NFR
Clint Summers and Jake Long started off the Finals with a 4.2-second run.
Clint Summers
Clint Summers rides Transmission on both of their first NFR victory laps. | Jamie Arviso Photo

Clint Summers got his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo team roping go-round win with a 4.2-second run in Round 1 of the 2023 Finals on Dec. 8, with Jake Long roping a steer high around the hips to come tight fast.

The go-round win paid them $30,706 a man—the highest go-round payout in Finals history.

Roping at fifth out, Summers and Long already had to contend with a 4.3 by Jake Cooper Clay and Tyler Worley and a 4.8 by Clay Smith and Paden Bray.

“That steer started good, with his head up in the air,” said Summers, 32, in his second NFR on the head side and third overall. “His horns were great. Most of all, I felt like he would handle pretty good. ‘Transmission,’ I feel like I can get a wild one and set them up for Jake on that horse. Jake likes to throw fast, and I feel like if I set them up and do my job, it will be a good week.”

Clint Summers Jake Long
Clint Summers pings the barrier and gets it on one fast in Round 1 of the 2023 NFR. | Jamie Arviso Photos

Summers pinged the barrier on Transmission—registered as WSR Hesa Alive—the 19-year-old gelding he saves for clutch short-score setups. (By the way, Transmission is the same horse Kaleb Driggers won The American on in February this year, and the horse Jason Adams won Salinas on in 2011, too.)

WSR Hesa Alive

“If the steer starts, you can pretty much go,” Summers, of Lake City, Florida, said. “As long as your steer is true and gets through the gates, it should be one of the easiest setups all year. The only thing that makes it tougher is there’s 17,000 people on top of you in there, and your blood pressure is up.”

Long wheeled around the corner and roped the steer around the hips to come tight fast, thanks to a quick finish from “Roger,” Long’s 11-year-old gelding registered as JC Bar Diamond.

“Clint did an awesome job, honestly,” said Long, 39, in his 13th NFR. “I told him every time I’ve won a round, I really felt like I heeled the steer really good, and tonight I really didn’t. I know it’s early in the week, but I took an extra swing. My first round history has not been great, but deep down I was just excited to get him caught. But when I looked up and saw 4.2, it kind of caught me off guard really. It didn’t feel like that fast of a run. He did a great job, and it should be a good week. It does help a lot when it comes up around the hips, if it had been around the feet we might have been 4.3 or 4.4 still.”

Jake Long
Jake Long gets his Round 1 steer around the hips to get the win. | Jamie Arviso Photo

Summers and Long have stayed home in Stephenville, Texas, with 45 head of big Mexican steers at Summers’ house. Their goal was to stay on their roll from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where they won second with a clutch 3.4-second run in the final minutes of the ProRodeo season to get Summers into the Finals.

“I wanted to put myself in for a chance at a gold buckle,” Summers said. “This is my dream, and I’ve always wanted to do good here.”

Summers’ first NFR appearance was on the heel side with Erich Rogers, winning $48,288 a man in 2018. In 2021, Summers, with Ross Ashford, became one of the select few switchenders to make the Finals, but he struggled and only won $29,377 a man.

The Round 1 win here in 2023 moved Summers from 13th in the PRCA world standings the whole way up to seventh with $141,228.74 on the year. Long moved the whole way up to fourth with $154,729.98.

Results:

TeamSteerPre-Round Steer NotesTimePayout per man
Luke Brown/Hunter Koch16medium plus5.3 + 5 
Jake Clay/Tyler Worley38medium  4.3$24,268 (2)
Marcus Theriot/Cole Curry47medium plusNT
Clay Smith/Paden Bray13strong, high-headed4.8$7,924 (5)
Clint Summers/Jake Long24medium4.2$30,706 (1)
Andrew Ward/Buddy Hawkins36strong5.1 + 5
Tanner Tomlinson/Patrick Smith7strong5.2$4,953 (6)
Erich Rogers/Paul Eaves8medium plusNT
Rhen Richard/Jeremy Buhler31medium  4.5 + 5
Coleman Proctor/Logan Medlin32strong and straightNT
Dustin Egusquiza/Levi Lord43strong and steps rightNT
Nelson Wyatt/Jonathan Torres57good4.6$15,601 (3/4)
Derrick Begay/Colter Todd4medium plus6.3
Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira41strong, kind of wild on the end of it—extra4.6$15,601 (3/4)
Tyler Wade/Wesley Thorp3strong and straight6.2

— TRJ —

Nightly round coverage from the 2023 Wrangler NFR is made possible with the support of our sponsors at Resistol.


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