Clay Smith Breaks Down a First-Steer Run in a Tough Field
When the steers are fresh and the competition is tough, keep everything moving forward.


First steer, Ariat WSTR qualifier; Graham, Texas


First in average with a 31.04 on five, worth $7,560

Patrick Smith and Paul Eves at the Ariat WSTR qualifier
Andersen/CBarC photo

A) First Steer: We were a little further down in the draw, and the roping was shaping up to be tough. They were running two arenas, so before we roped, we already knew how fast some other guys were on two head. So we wanted to be sharp and fast. 

[READ MORE: Clay Smith and Jake Long Continue 2023 Win Streak with Denver Championship]

B) Horse: That’s one of my futurity horses, a 6-year-old mare named A Magical Promise by Promise Of The Sun. I hadn’t jackpotted on her since I got back from the NFR. 

C) Start: These steers probably only had one run on them before we roped them that day. They were creeping out, so you had to be able to stand behind the barrier and score. Some would walk out, and some would take off. So your horse had to be running when you needed her to. 

D) Throw: I probably threw from a coil back on all of the runs that day. My mare is still going to the cow in this picture—which is important—so I have a little bit of rope out there and am pulling my slack straight back. 

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E) Forward Motion: The main thing that day was that I had to keep everything moving forward because they were just fresh enough. If I came back up the pen too hard through the turn, they’d wash out. That mare can really get a hold of them. So I have to keep her going forward. When I put it on the saddle horn, I sit down and squeeze her forward. I keep my left hand up and pushing forward. She can really use her back end, so if you just rope and sit down, she’ll wash a steer out. Rodeoing, it’s perfect, but jackpotting on light, fresh steers, you have to be squeezing with both legs. The goal is to really over-emphasize a long corner.

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