CARTHAGE, Mo. – Heading into the night, the time to beat for tie-down roper Clay Brown was 9.7 seconds.
The Purdy cowboy beat that mark by almost a full second.
An 8.9-second finish by Brown was good enough for a share of the top prize on Saturday in the final rounds of the Carthage Saddle Club Rodeo, sanctioned by the American Cowboys Rodeo Association. He and Vinita, Oklahoma, native Dustin Bassett, who also roped his calf in 8.9 seconds a little later in the night, split the first- and second-place prize winnings.
“I thought my run went well,” Brown said. “The calf was a little bit fresher than I thought he’d be, but it worked out great.”
Outside of being a rodeo goer, the 20-year roper and multiple-time ACRA Finals qualifier said he also spends his time training several young ropers who stay at his home each summer. And a handful of his trainees — Dawson Appleton, Mason Appleton, Mason Couch and Josh Pool — competed against him on Saturday night.
Dawson Appleton managed a third-place finish in the event with a time of 9.3 seconds, while Mason Appleton, Couch and Pool logged qualifying times of 9.7, 19.7, and 9.8 seconds, respectively.
“My wife (Mendy Brown) also competes in rodeos in the breakaway rope, but another one of our passions is helping the kids who come and stay with us throughout the summer to train,” Brown said. “We typically have about six kids come and live with us each year. Right now they’re from Shawnee (Okla.), Fort Scott (Kan.), Bartlesville (Kan.) and even Ohio. We’ve probably helped about 40 or 50 kids over the years. They come and work for us, and in trade, we help them with their roping.”
Brown is currently ranked eighth in the ACRA in money winnings, having earned over $2,400 on the season.
Seven-year competitive roper Kylee Carder, from Miami, Oklahoma, took the top prize in the ladies breakaway roping event with a time of 2.7 seconds. And she accomplished the feat despite riding a horse that wasn’t her own.
“I’m actually riding my sister’s horse right now,” Carder said, laughing. “I’m just changing things up, I guess. I hadn’t won in about a month, so it just felt like it was time for a change.”
Despite her dry spell coming into the weekend, Carder is ranked third in the ACRA with more than $3,600 in prize winnings this season.
“My goal is to win the ACRA,” she said. “It’s probably been a goal of mine ever since I started roping competitively about seven years ago. And so far, it’s been a good start to the season.”
Finishing second in the ladies breakaway was Cassie Vaughn of Weatherford, Okla., who recorded a time of 2.9 seconds in Friday night’s slack rounds.
Blane Stacy and Tyler Swatzell finished first and second in the saddle bronc with scores of 69 and 61, respectively.
No participants in the ranch bronc or the bareback bronc registered qualifying rides throughout the weekend.