Former Alta athlete finishes 10th in world rodeo standings
Mar 07, 2018 03:04PM
● By Ron Bevan
Former Alta football player Mason Clements now competes professionally on the rodeo circuit. Clements, a 2010 graduate of Alta, finished 10th last season in bareback riding. (Photo/Todd Brewer)
He didn’t grow up in a rodeo family. He didn’t even have horses in a backyard barn.
But thanks to a great season and an even better run in the National Finals Rodeo, former Alta student and Draper native Mason Clements finished 10th overall in bareback riding for the 2017 rodeo season.
Clements, 25, won a share of two victories in the 2017 season’s final event, held Dec. 7–16 in Las Vegas. The two wins earned him an additional $80,372 in prize money and gave him a total of $166,486 for the season, moving up five spots on the leaderboard.
Even though it was his first National Finals Rodeo appearance, the big stage didn’t seem to faze Clements.
“All day long (prior to his first appearance) I was saving my focus and my adrenaline for that first opening ride,” Clements said. “I was so ready for that moment to nod my head and have the gate open. You feel the history of the rodeo. You feel like you are on sacred ground.”
And while the prize money sounds good, there are a lot of expenses in being a professional cowboy. Clements has to pay for everything from gas and flights to food and lodging to attend rodeos across the nation. He also has to pay all entry fees in order to compete.
“It is something you can make a living doing,” Clements said. “But you have to be ready to put a lot of work and effort into it to make it pay off. For me it is something I love to do and still keeps the lights on and food on the table.”
But the life of a cowboy wasn’t something into which Clements was born. Nobody in his family prior to him had done rodeo. For him, a usual childhood of football, basketball and other sports with neighborhood kids was the norm.
Still, growing up in what was then a smaller Draper city, Clements was exposed to horses and horse riding.
“I had a lot of friends with horses,” he said. “When I visited with them sometimes we would ride the horses.”
As he got older his interest in horses grew and so did the thought of doing rodeo.
“I watched the Days of ’47 rodeo while growing up and it really sparked my interest.”
As Clements grew through his teen years, so did the appeal of rodeo. And while there are high school rodeo clubs throughout Utah, Alta didn’t offer one. So the 2010 graduate of the school focused on representing the Hawks as a linebacker on the football team.
“The closest rodeo club was at Bingham, so I competed in football for Alta and rodeo for Bingham,” Clements said.
As a team roper and a bull rider, Clements made it to the state high school finals as a junior and a senior. His love for the sport convinced him to pursue it after high school. He turned pro as a bull rider.
It wasn’t long before the lure of riding bareback broncos overcame his bull riding and he made the switch.
“My decision turned my whole career around,” Clements said. “I am a lot better at bareback than riding bulls.”
Clements, now living in Santaquin, Utah, trained through the short offseason to get ready for the upcoming 2018 rodeo season.