By: Kendra Santos
What does two-time World Champion Team Roper Clay Smith have to say about driving all night from a jackpot team roping to make today’s steer roping at the $545,000 Rodeo Corpus Christi? Worth it! The native Oklahoman has been busy building a house in the Lone Star State, so the $12,400 will come in handy and be siphoned straight back into the Texas economy. It was the first time a World Champions Rodeo Alliance event included steer roping, and the addition was appreciated by all in attendance.
“This is so awesome for steer ropers,” said 2018-19 World Champion Header Smith, who placed third in Round 2, first in the Progressive Round, and won the Showdown Round with a 10.22-second run. “This is a very talented group of guys, and they don’t have as many opportunities at big money like this as guys in the other events. What I’ve noticed about steer ropers is everybody’s always trying to help you. I know I’ve had a lot of guys help me along the way.”
Smith will team rope here at Rodeo Corpus Christi tomorrow with his three-time Champ of the World Heeler Jade Corkill. Smith, who won the coveted Rodeo Corpus Christi trophy surfboard with a little help from his 17-year-old gray horse Thumper, will enter the steer roping every chance he gets in 2021. But making a living team roping is job one.
“I really love to steer rope, and sure wish I could do more of it,” said Smith, who with wife Taylor is building a house in Iowa City, Texas. “But it’s hard to work two events, I can’t let it get in the way of my team roping, and I can’t go about my main event halfway. I have a partner who’s very easy to work with, but team roping is how he feeds his family, too. So team roping is #1, and I’m all-in. But just like any rodeo, the money is why we’re here. And anytime you can go win $10,000 or more in one spot makes an all-night drive look like a pretty smart move.”
Stephen Stransky of Needville, Texas, placed second in today’s Showdown Round, and Cody Lee of Gatesville, Texas, was third. Taylor Santos of Creston, California, won the three-head Rodeo Corpus Christi steer roping average, and finished fourth in the Showdown Round.