RED DEER, Alberta – It’s been a heck of a year for saddle bronc rider Clay Elliott.
And he’s looking to make it even more memorable.
On Sunday, the 24-year-old from Vernon, British Columbia, captured his second Canadian Professional Rodeo Association crown after his performance at the Canadian Finals Rodeo.
Elliott won $41,445 at the CFR, giving him $82,295 in the CPRA for the season.
“Being from Canada, that title really means a lot for me and my family,” said Elliott, who won his first CPRA title in 2016. “They (the two titles) are just the same. A guy goes through just as many trials and tribulations to get to either of them, but it feels just as good.”
Elliott isn’t done, either.
Over the next month, Elliott will be preparing for his third consecutive trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, which runs Dec. 6-15.
Elliott has had his best seasons in both the PRCA and CPRA in 2018. He enters the Wrangler NFR with $104,176 won, the most he’s pocketed in the PRCA ahead of the NFR. He will go into Las Vegas in seventh place in the PRCA | RAM World Standings.
“In the PRCA and the CPRA it’s been the best year I’ve ever had,” said Elliott, who finished 14th last year in the PRCA world standings and 11th in 2016. “I’ve won the most I’ve ever had in both associations going into the finals. I’ve been riding bucking horses professionally for four years now and each year has been a little bit better. For the next 10 years that I ride bucking horses I want to keep getting better.”
Two previous trips to the Wrangler NFR has Elliott understanding what to expect.
“It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you get to Vegas,” Elliott said. “Something I’ll try to do differently this year is to maintain a calm attitude and simply go back to the basics of riding bucking horses – they go up and down and you move your feet back and forth.”
Elliott admittedly hasn’t performed as well as he’d like at the Wrangler NFR. He’s going to do something unorthodox in hopes of altering that. He’ll be heading to Twin Falls, Idaho, soon to train at the mixed martial arts gym of former bareback rider Kelly Wardell.
“I’ve been in really good physical shape (in Vegas),” Elliott said. “I want to do it better this year, I just want to do it differently. I want to have more success when I get there.”
That kind of training will add to the confidence that Elliott picked up with his CPRA title, a title he claimed is “no bigger confidence builder.”
“There are just a select few that go to the NFR from Canada,” he said. “I’m just proud to be a part of it. Most all these same horses are going to be heading to Vegas from Canada. Knowing I can ride these horses, there is no better feeling.”
Courtesy of PRCA