Scot Brown and Clayton Moore had time to make it work when they backed in the box during the short round of the 2014 Ariat #11 Finale IX. The duo from Orange Grove, Texas, was the high call team and only needed to be 11.10 seconds or faster to secure the win.
“The night before I think I only slept for about an hour,” Moore said. “I just couldn’t believe I was there. Next thing I knew we had watched 40 teams and it was just Scot and I. But once I backed in the box I didn’t have time to be nervous anymore—as soon as I was in the corner Scot called for the steer.
“He had told me he was just going to run out there and get him roped and make sure he didn’t break out. He didn’t just let him out a few feet, he was half way down the arena,” Moore laughed. “I kept giving him a hard time, but honestly, Scot is a smart, consistent roper. I’ve looked up to him and his brother all my life.”
When Moore took his “little bit risky” heel shot near the end of the pen, their 9.82-second run kept them in the lead and they lapped the South Point Arena to the tune of $288,000.
“I had already decided when Clayton came tight I was throwing my hat,” said Brown. “We had never roped together before last year’s Finale, but I’ve watched him plenty and knew I just needed to keep everything out in front of him and he could do the rest. Brooks, the flagger, rode over and told me we had a leg. Of course, he was joking, but I didn’t even care. I figured we were still second or third.”
Two years ago, Clayton Moore hadn’t even heard of the World Series of Team Roping. Then, just 21-years-old, he had barely graduated the local youth rodeo scene—where he excelled in the tie-down roping—and never ventured beyond the jackpots surrounding his South Texas home in Orange Grove.
“I had always wanted to rope at like the Wildfire, but I didn’t even know where it was,” laughed Moore, whose young talent had already been noticed.
A local friend, Stacie Tonne, approached him about helping her son, Brady Bednorz, get ready for the Texas High School Rodeo Finals.
“We were at the Cowboy Church practicing and Stacie’s brother, Billy Beyer, he saw me rope. He asked how old I was and I told him 21. He told me there was a World Series in two weeks and that we were roping together,” Moore recalled. “I told him I didn’t have a card and I didn’t have the money. I didn’t even have a horse. They told me don’t worry about any of that. They got me a card and I borrowed a horse. I was actually heading for him at the time.”
While he and Beyer didn’t have any luck at that first qualifier, Moore later qualified for the 2014 Finale heeling for Brian Barnick, Sinton, Texas, when they won the Mathews Land & Cattle Co.’s #9 at Sinton last May.
“They were telling me, you can go to Vegas now. I said, ‘Yeah, Vegas sounds cool, you can go,’” Moore laughed. “They told me, ‘No, you won, you can take it out of your check.’ So Brian helped me make plans. I borrowed his horse and rode out there with his driver, Charlie, who I call ‘Uncle Si.’ I wouldn’t be where I am at all if it wasn’t for Stacie, Billy, Brian and Charlie all believing in me.”
In the months leading up to Finale IX Moore had gone to Houston in search of work. He found a job as a paint blaster, but it meant there was absolutely nowhere to rope.
“I built myself a dummy in the garage out of a piece of wood and some vacuum pipe and I was out there every night roping the dummy or watching Tyler Magnus—anything I could do to keep my mind on roping.”
Just two weeks before the Finale, Moore went home to practice with Barnick, and at one of only a few sessions Scot Brown showed up to rope too. Brown had heard that one of his partners might not make it to Vegas.
“He asked me if his partner didn’t show up would I want to rope,” Moore recalled. “I grew up watching Scot, he’s one of the big dogs around here, so of course I said yes.”
In short, Brown’s #11 partner never showed and Moore got the call.
“On our first steer I almost missed my wrap, but after that we really cleaned it up.”
It’s rare to see Clayton Moore without a rope in his hand. As a kid, he always slept with one at night and then coiled it up tight and hid it in his backpack to sneak it to daycare. His 2014 Finale victory has brought him one step closer to making his dreams come true.
“I learned to rope from my dad (Thomas). I was around it all the time. I was on a horse at 19 months. My mom (Rosie) roped too. Truly, I learned from watching. My dad taught me to rope to keep me off the streets. He always said as long as I was roping I was staying out of trouble,” Moore explained. “Roping is my passion. I think about it all the time. Someday my dream is to have an arena and my own place. Before, I didn’t know how to start setting myself up financially. Now I have a start.”
Since last December, the South Texas cowboy has continued to pick up paychecks and for the first time in his life spent most of the summer travelling to rodeos and jackpots well beyond the 100-mile radius of his hometown. At press time he had just won five buckles in as many weeks and now has his sites set even higher.
“Whenever I back in the box I think about who I’m roping for—my son, my daughter, all of my family, my partner, everyone who has helped me and everyone who is there watching. I just take it one steer at a time. I go out there and really have fun, but I still have a competitive attitude too.”
Scot Brown has been roping all his life. He learned from his dad, Tim Brown, and his rodeo roots go back to his great grandfather who was a member of the Cowboys’ Turtle Association. He is a multi-time tie-down and team roping High School and College National Finals qualifier. He is also a former Cowboy’s Professional Rodeo Association Team Roping Champion. He’s won big at both USTRC and World Series events and found himself in plenty of high-pressure situations throughout the years. Still, nothing compared to the 2014 Finale.
“I was nervous for sure, but I thrive on pressure” Brown said. “And I was confident in Clayton. I knew I just needed to do my job.”
Brown had already picked up a $40,000 paycheck with Josh Debord, Bryan, Texas, when they finished sixth in the #15 Finale early in the week. He and Moore had also earned $6,000, winning the first rotation fast time in the #11 Finale.
“Not just the Finale, but these World Series ropings are allowing you to make money if you use your head. I have shoulder problems and I can’t rope as much as I used to. As I get older I look at it way different than I used to,” Brown said. “Looking back I used to go to three amateur rodeos a weekend. I’d spend hundreds and thousands of dollars in diesel and hardly win it back. I don’t have to do that anymore. I’ll go to 10 a year and try and make it to Vegas.”
Brown college rodeoed at Wharton County Junior College, where he blew out his knee roping calves. After reconstructive surgery he decided to stick to team roping. He finished at Texas A&M University-Kingsville with a bachelor’s in Ag Development and minors in Plant & Soil Science and Animal Science.
In 2010 he started Absolute Terra Services and Maintenance, an above-ground oilfield maintenance company. In July he merged with Big III Services and now works as a superintendent for the company.
Brown resides in Orange Grove with his wife, Michelle, and their four kids, Spencer, 17, Jackson, 15, Makayla, 8, and Brooks, 5. Michelle’s birthday falls during the Finale each year so they try to leave the kids at home and make it a bit of a vacation too.
“This last year we went zip lining and that was a blast. I’m always looking forward to going to Vegas. It’s one week that I don’t think about work or anything else and just get away.”
Brown was able to pay off nearly everything he owed and in December, will be taking his family to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
“We’re leaving the day after Christmas. I think we’re all pretty excited. The older kids have been there, but I’ve never been.”
In addition to a busy career and raising four active kids, Brown produces the annual Colton Rusk Memorial Roping in memory of LCpl Colton W. Rusk, a local kid who was killed in active duty.
“We started the auction and roping about four years ago. It’s a scholarship event and we’ve raised over $100,000 in the last three years,” Brown said “The Open is an elimination match roping and probably our biggest draw. We’ve had some good guys rope there, Tee Woolman, Britt Bockius and some others. It’s just a great event.”
Brown will be back in the South Point for Finale X heeling in the #15 and heading in the #13 and the #12.
“I’ve been so busy with work and everything, but it’s time to get back in the swing—get my horses legged up and get some practice in.”