by ProRodeo.com | Apr 10, 2014
By Tracy Renck ProRodeo.com
GUTHRIE, OKLA. – Tie-down roper Jesse Clark still has plenty of momentum left from his memorable winter run.
The Dora, N.M., cowboy, who was second in the most recent Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings on April 7, put his talent on display Thursday morning.
Clark had an 8.3-second run to take lead in the first round of the $530,503 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo at the historic Lazy E Arena.
“This feels good to get started off like this,” said Clark, 21. “They said my calf really ran and I couldn’t be late and I had to be on the barrier and she was right there and I finished it off.”
The first round concludes at 7:30 p.m. (CT) Thursday night.
Clark had $27,790 in winnings as of April 7, just behind two-time World Champion Tuf Cooper ($31,314). This is Clark’s second appearance at the RNCFR as he also competed in this rodeo last year. He qualified both years by finishing first in the Turquoise Circuit standings.
“I got a good start this winter and I’m going to go hard this summer,” Clark said.
Clark’s 2014 campaign received a serious jolt when he won the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo with earnings of $17,174. Last year Clark was 34th in the world standings with $36,856. He finished second in the rookie standings behind Caleb Smidt.
“That win at San Antonio was big for me, and I also placed in Tucson (Ariz.) and Austin (Texas),” the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Clark said. “It has been a great winter for me. It would be awesome if I could make the NFR. That’s what I have dreamed about since I was little bitty. It would be just amazing if I could get there.”
When Clark isn’t on the rodeo trail, he’s in the classroom. He’s a senior at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. Clark is scheduled to graduate with an agricultural business degree in December.
For now, Clark is mapping out a simple plan for the remainder of the RNCFR.
“I have to keep making the best run the calf will let me make,” Clark said.
Other leaders after the first performance were bareback rider Joe Gunderson (84 points on Rafter H Rodeo’s Storm Cloud), steer wrester Will Lummus (4.1 seconds), team ropers Nick Sartain and Reagan Ward (4.9 seconds), saddle bronc rider Jeremy Meeks (82 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Wiggle Worm), bull rider Reid Barker (85 points on Silver Creek Rodeo’s Rising Sun) and barrel racer Trula Churchill (17.31 seconds).
Courtesy of PRCA