The new team of Clay Smith and Jake Long won the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver, Colorado after knocking down three head in 13.9 seconds, worth $5,981 a man, moving them to first in the PRCA world standings with $14,713.70 each.
"We were just trying to be pretty aggressive," Smith, who also won the NWSS in 2016 with Paul Eaves, said. "We had a decent steer. We were just going to try and make the best run that we could. Sometimes it’s easier to just go and try to rope like your trying to be pretty aggressive in this situation because if you let them out and just try to catch, sometimes you’ll make more mistakes. We just were trying to keep our foot on the gas and just see what happens."
Smith and Long also tied Aaron Tsinigine and Trey Yates, Clayton Van Aken and Cullen Teller and Brady Tryan and Levi Lord with a 4.5-second-run for seventh in the second round, worth $303 a man.
"On our first run, we had a pretty decent steer," Long said. "Driggers and Junior roped him at the qualifier. He was just a little bit sluggish handling, and I didn’t get him heeled real great. We were 5-flat. Then we came back with a good steer on the second one. He was real low-headed and Clay did a great job and got it on him good. I got him heeled pretty good, and we were 4.5."
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They also tied for first in the final round with Cory Kidd V and Logan Medlin with a 4.4-second-run, worth $1,312 a man.
"The steer we had in the short round was about the same kind of steer as the second, but he had his head up a little bit better," Long said. "We made about the same run I guess."
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Smith was riding his grey horse Marty, on whom he won the 2018 world title with Paul Eaves. Long was heeling on Colonel, who is a three-time AQHA/PRCA Heel Horse of the Year, winning the title from 2016 to 2018.
"I’m going to pretty much ride Colonel everywhere we go that’s worth going to," Long said. "He [Smith] feels the same way about Marty. These will be the two that we’re on 95-percent of the time."
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First round: 1. (tie) Clay Tryan/Travis Graves and Coleman Proctor/Ryan Motes, 4.1 seconds, $3,727 each; 3. Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 4.3, $2,947; 4. Luke Brown/Paul Eaves, 4.5, $2,427; 5. (tie) Dustin Bird/Russell Cardoza and Lightning Aguilera/James Arnold, 4.7, $1,647 each; 7. Steven Duby/Jason Duby, 4.8, $867; 8. (tie) Rhen Richard/Quinn Kesler and Cory Kidd V/Logan Medlin, 4.9, $173 each.
Second round: 1. Casey Tew/Jerren Johnson, 3.8 seconds, $3,987 each; 2. Brenten Hall/Chase Tryan, 3.9, $3,467; 3. (tie) Bubba Buckaloo/Hunter Koch and Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp, 4.1, $2,687 each; 5. Charly Crawford/Patrick Smith, 4.2, $1,907; 6. Jake Orman/Walt Woodard, 4.4, $1,387; 7. (tie) Clay Smith/Jake Long, Aaron Tsinigine/Trey Yates, Clayton Van Aken/Cullen Teller and Brady Tryan/Levi Lord, 4.5, $303 each.
Finals: 1. (tie) Clay Smith/Jake Long and Cory Kidd V/Logan Medlin, 4.4 seconds, $1,312 each; 3. Tate Kirchenschlager/B.J. Dugger, 5.0, $941; 4. Clay Tryan/Travis Graves, 5.1, $693; 5. (tie) Luke Brown/Paul Eaves and Logan Olson/Blaine Vick, 5.3, $347 each.
Average: 1. Clay Smith/Jake Long, 13.9 seconds on three head, $5,981 each; 2. Clay Tryan/Travis Graves, 14.4, $5,201; 3. Pace Freed/Jade Anderson, 15.9, $4,421; 4. Logan Olson/Blaine Vick, 16.0, $3,641; 5. Tate Kirchenschlager/B.J. Dugger, 16.1, $2,860; 6. Jeff Johnston/Dustin Harris, 16.4, $2,080; 7. Luke Brown/Paul Eaves, 17.7, $1,300; 8. Cory Kidd V/Logan Medlin, 19.3, $520.