Two-time World Champion Header Clay Smith, 29, stopped the clock in 57.8 seconds on five head to win and lead Round 1 of the Cinch Timed Event Championships at the Lazy E Arena, worth $3,000.
“I wanted to be aggressive at the barrier and make no mistakes,” said Smith, who currently resides in Holiday, Texas, and is building a house in Iowa Park, Texas. “In years past I think I missed the barrier a little bit in the steer roping, the calf roping and the heading. I think that’s hurt me. In the steer roping, the calf roping and the heading, the farther you run them down the more the advantage goes to the animal.”
Out of the five events which includes calf roping, heading, heeling, bull dogging and steer tripping, the heeling is the one event that Smith was nervous about.
“The heeling was the most ‘thank goodness that was over’ type deal,” Smith said. “The steer tried to cut up underneath my brother’s head horse and I took a shot that I didn’t really want to take. If anyone has seen me heel much, they probably know that it’s not a high percentage shot.”
Smith practiced long hours between preparing for the CTEC's five events, RFD-TV’s The American's fast setup and the BFI's long score.
“Practice is stressful,” Smith said. “When you get somewhere it feels like you’re on vacation, but practice is the most stressful thing because I want to be as prepared as I can. I feel like every minute that you’re not practicing the events then you’re not getting any better at it. I tried my best this time to be as prepared in each event. The practice is grueling, but when you practice you normally get rewarded.”
The long hours of practice leading up to the event make it all worth it when Smith has his wife Taylor and two kids, Jade and Scarlett watching in the stands and his brother Jake helping him compete.
“My wife and two kids go pretty much everywhere with me, so it means a lot and Jake has been helping me since 2013.” Smith said. “Jake makes no mistakes and we’ve roped so many steers together that it feels really good. He always lets me borrow a heel horse. It means a lot to have him helping me. It’s a family affair. This is our deal. As long as he wants to help me, he’s getting the call.”