DENVER, Colorado – Clay Elliot was crowned Canada’s Ultimate Cowboy to ring in 2014, he won $4,100 there in Ponoka. So far from the National Western in Denver, he sits third in the average of the Saddle Bronc riding after putting together two solid rides between Friday Night and Saturday Morning for a total score of 152 points on two.
Elliot scored 75 Friday Night in his first round, far out-marking his horse, Summit Rodeos’ (The Hamaker Family of Wyoming) Mile Hi. One judge had him six points higher. In round two this afternoon, it was a 77 on Honeybuns of the Southwick Rodeo Company.
“If I do well here, it’ll set me up good for the rest of the season.” Elliot said. “My college rodeos still have to be a priority for the education side of things but having this be my rookie year, I have to take advantage of it.”
With quite a bit of rodeo left to go, more horse either day may have left him higher up. Those couple points may make the difference in making the finals or not but he’s not worried, there’s a lot of season left.
“While I’m down in school here I’m going to hit as many US rodeos as I can hit.” Elliot said. “As soon as school’s out though all my focus is going to be on the Canadian Rodeos.”
Speaking of education, Elliot, originally from BC, now spends the majority of his time at the Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell, OK studying bronc riding under the Etbauer Brothers while pursuing his education. At this point he’s still undecided on where to go from here.
“I’m thinking I’ll transfer with my Associate’s Degree to Tarleton State University in Stephenville in the fall.” Clay said. “That way I won’t miss any college rodeos.”
Clay just missed CFR last year in Novice, qualified the year before but wasn’t fit to compete and had to sit out. After buying his full PRCA card in November, Elliot already has money won from a rodeo in Allen, TX.
At 19 years old he still has a couple years left to qualify in the Novice but gave up his right by purchasing his full card.
“I had knee surgery last year in May so that put me out until after Ponoka so this will be my first year to really have an opportunity to do as well as I can. I’m as healthy as I can be look forward to accomplishing my Edmonton goals.”
By Edmonton goals he means qualifying for the CFR in the open saddle bronc after not getting to compete there so far.
Clay’s Dad is Vern Elliot of Gold Spring Custom Hats, formerly of Cowboys Choice in Vernon, BC; was also a former bull rider. Vern, along with his wife Mona who unfortunately passed away due to cancer in 2011, ran the store in Vernon.
“Mom still is the conscience that guides me.” Clay said.
His older brother Ty has qualified for the Canadian Finals Rodeo in the Bull Riding as well numerous times following in his fathers footsteps.
“The thing about it is Ty’s been there, therefore he knows what it takes to get there. Being a bull rider isn’t much different, it’s all to do with the travelling, entering and mental side of things.” Clay explained. “Even in the Team Roping, it really doesn’t matter, they all have similar traits.”
Like his brother Ty, Clay is on his own road to Edmonton but might have some different stops along the way.