OAKDALE, Calif. – Clayton Hass had a slow winter, and his 2015 season needed a jump start. He headed west, and found what he was looking for.
The 31-year-old steer wrestler – who also competes in team roping and tie-down roping – won the bulldogging title at the Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo.
Hass placed third in the first round with a 5.2-second run, and second in the second round with a 4.5. His average time of 9.7 seconds on two head was 2.6 seconds better than Del Kraupie (who set an arena record with a time of 3.8 seconds in the second round).
Hass also won the all-around title at the Clark County Fair & Rodeo in Logandale, Nev., earning checks in both steer wrestling and team roping (with partner Logan Medlin).
“I went to Logandale and placed in a round …then to win Oakdale dang sure picks you up and gets you ready for the next few weeks,” Hass said of his big weekend. “The NFR isn’t made in the winter, it’s made in the summer, and the key is to get hot during the summer. It’s a bonus to do well in the winter, but the summer is where the money is at.”
Hass made his debut at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo last year. He finished eighth in both the steer wrestling world standings and the WNFR average race.
He entered the weekend 22nd in the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings, and has his sights set on being in the top 15 again in 2015.
“Going once makes you hungry to go back,” Hass said. “I let one steer get away last year that cost me, but I want to go back and prove myself and win a gold buckle.
“I think every year you get better and more solid in your game, no matter how long you’ve been around. The most important thing I’ve learned over the years is to ride the wave when things aren’t going well. You have to take the good with the bad.”
The Terrell, Texas, native only had $10,651 in 2015 earnings before the weekend, but won a total of $3,670 in Oakdale, and another $1,197 in Logandale.
What made the successful trip out West even sweeter was the fact that Hass was able to leave his main bulldogging horse, Cadillac – the 2014 PRCA/AQHA Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year – at home.
“I rode Josh Peek’s bay horse in Oakdale because I wanted to give Cadillac a break so he’d be fresh for the summer,” Hass said. “I watched Josh’s horse in Logandale, and he works well, so I knew I could have some success on him, and it was a good choice.”
Although the winter wasn’t as good as Hass would’ve liked, the Oakdale win gave him a boost.
“I had a decent winter, but I made some mistakes on good steers at the bigger rodeos like Fort Worth (Texas) and Jackson (Miss.),” Hass said. “I cost myself a chance to win money by breaking a barrier or missing a steer. I didn’t capitalize on some opportunities, but I didn’t let it get me down. A win like this makes you feel pretty good.”
Other winners at the $124,214 rodeo were all-around cowboy Rhen Richard ($4,466 in tie-down roping and team roping), bareback riders Zack Brown (82 points on Rosser Rodeo’s No. 907) and George Gillespie IV (82 points on Rosser Rodeo’s Lil Hawk), team ropers Coleman Proctor and Jake Long (14.1 seconds on two head), saddle bronc riders Zeke Thurston (82 points on Rosser Rodeo’s No. 029) and Jake Wright (80 points on Flying U Rodeo’s Mr. Spencer), tie-down ropers Cade Swor and Rhen Richard (15.9 seconds each), bull rider Zack Oakes (87 points on Corey & Lange Rodeo’s Wild Eyes) and barrel racers Christine Laughlin and Carley Richardson (17.43 seconds each).
Courtesy of PRCA