By Ted Harbin, Wrangler Network contributor
SAN ANGELO, Texas – Mason Clements’ first time to compete at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo turned out pretty well.
“This is a great way to kick off the most important month of my season,” said Clements, who rode Lancaster & Jones Pro Rodeo’s Black Pearl on Friday night for 84.5 points to take the lead in bareback riding on opening night of the tradition-rich West Texas rodeo.
“My goal is to come out on top at the end of this month. I’m looking at it that way, and I’m going to do what I can to make it happen.”
Now in his second year of ProRodeo, the Sandy, Utah, cowboy wants to capitalize on a strong inaugural campaign in which he finished second in the Resistol Rookie of the Year standings.
“I feel like I’m more mentally focused and more prepared than I have been for anything,” Clements said. “Physically I think I’ve been there, but mentally I’m stronger than ever.”
While bareback riding is probably more physically demanding than any other discipline in rodeo, a good athlete realizes he must have a strong mind to go with his talents. It all came together well Friday night. He had never seen Black Pearl before and only learned a few things about the horse from stock contractor Chad Lancaster.
“He had just bought the horse and liked him,” Clements said of Lancaster. “He liked him well enough that he put him in the draw. That’s all I knew about him. I figured it would be pretty good if Chad just bought him and decided to put him in the draw. I was right.”
It helps to have the right animal in the mix. Still, the young cowboy knows he needs to handle his end of the match up if he is going to come out at or near the top of the leaderboard. Of course, he had quite the learning curve his rookie season while traveling with four-time world champion Kaycee Feild, six-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Jessy Davis and 2014 NFR qualifier Richmond Champion.
“Finishing second in the rookie race was probably the best thing that happened to me in my career,” Clements said. “It fueled my fire that much more and made me more competitive in the long run.
“Being around guys like a world champion and Jessy Davis, guys that can show you the ropes and critique you just right, is great, especially for a rookie like me. Getting along with them and being best friends with all three of them was a huge factor for me. It makes your job fun and takes the edge off things.”
Those lessons have proven quite valuable as he steps forward to the 2016 season. He wants it to be historic. Having a solid run in San Angelo is a great way to kick off a big month of rodeo.
“It’s such a good rodeo, and the production and everything around it was top-notch,” he said. “All the livestock bucks outstanding there, and the contractors have a huge part in that. To make a rodeo better, you’ve got to have top stock. It’s a key component to the rodeo.
“I think they’re definitely on the right track. It’s just going to keep getting better.”
San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo
Feb. 5-7, Feb. 12-14, Feb. 17-19
Bareback riding leaders: 1. Mason Clements, 84.5 points on Lancaster & Jones Pro Rodeo’s Black Pearl; 2. Luke Creasy, 84; 3. Teddy Athan, 83; 4. Zach Hilber, 78; 5. Zachary Lomax, 74; no other qualified rides.
Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Stan Branco, 4.0 seconds; 2. (tie) Nick Guy and Justin Shaffer, 4.6 each; 4. Clayton Hass, 14.3; no other qualified runs.
Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Cole Sherwood/Tanner Luttrell, 4.9 seconds; 2. David Key/Travis Woodard, 5.5; 3. Tee Luttrell/Clay Sieber, 6.0; 4. Jake Cooper/York Gill, 9.4; no other qualified runs.
Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. CoBurn Bradshaw, 79.5 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Kattle Katie; 2. Jake Wright, 78; 3. Alex Wright, 68; no other qualified rides.
Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Jake Pratt, 7.9 seconds; 2. Michael Otero, 8.0; 3. Mike Johnson, 9.3; 4. Marcos Costa, 10.6; 5. Cade Swor, 12.6; 6. Blane Cox, 12.7; 7. Hunter Herrin, 15.0; 8. Tim Pharr, 23.5.
Barrel racing: Second round leaders: 1. Kelsie Miller, 14.55 seconds; 2. Kelley Carrington, 14.59; 3. Jayme Robison, 14.63; 4. (tie) Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi and Brogan Macy, 14.80 each; 6. Jodee Miller, 14.87; 7. Shea-Lynn Leach, 15.01; 8. Ahnna Peterson, 15.08; 9. Miranda Mitchell, 19.74; 10. Katti Watters, 19.76.
Bull riding leaders: 1. Cody Rostockyj, 80.5 points on Carr Pro Rodeo’s Razorback; no other qualified rides.
Courtesy of Pete Carr Pro Rodeo