ProRodeo Sports News - April 5, 2019

Smith and Long cash in This new team roping partnership keeps paying dividends. Header Clay Smith and heeler Jake Long joined forces this season, and it has resulted in plenty of success. The duo continued their strong run in 2019 by winning the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo with a 4.8-second run in the four-team finals. “We just tried to make our run and see what happened,” Smith said. “Jake heeled him really fast, and I just tried to get out of the barrier and get it on them. We just have to keep trying to win as much as we can because it is going to come down to what happens at the NFR. Every dollar helps and will add up in the end.” Long agreed. “Honestly, I rode about as poor of a corner since I have been here,” Long said about his team’s run in the finals. “Colonel (Long’s horse) did such a good job and let me set my rope down in a pretty tough spot, and Clay did a good job of keeping it moving and it worked out.” Long also won the RAMNCFR in team roping in 2007. Smith and Long were stellar throughout the RAMNCFR, winning the first round in 5.0 seconds, placing second in the two-head average (11.0 seconds), splitting the win in the semifinals (4.5 seconds) and claiming the title in the finals. Smith and Long each earned $25,207 for their performance. Smith was riding his horse, Marty, 12. “I had that horse when he was a 4-year-old, and I have been hauling him to rodeos ever since,” Smith said. “He’s been a pretty special horse.” Long’s horse Colonel has won Team Roping-Heeling PRCA | AQHA Horse of the Year the last three years. Hooper takes title with record ride Veteran bareback rider Tilden Hooper’s inaugural trip to the RAMNCFR is one he will not soon forget. The Carthage, Texas, cowboy had a 92-point ride on Hi Lo Pro Rodeo’s Redzilla to win the four-man round at the Silver Spurs Arena. “That was one of my most fun bareback rides of my career,” said Hooper, 31, who joined the PRCA in 2006. “There’s nothing better than breaking a record and having all your buddies cheering for you behind the chutes.” Hooper’s score broke the RAMNCFR bareback riding record of 91 points set by Cimmaron Gerke on Kesler Rodeo’s Smiling Cat in 2004 in Pocatello, Idaho. Hooper was plenty familiar with Redzilla. He drew that horse in Round 1 of the 2018Wrangler NFR and had an 83-point ride. “When I had that horse before, she was good, but she just covered a little more ground,” Hooper said. “So, when she hooked that right and stood in one spot, I knew I had a chance and just let it roll, and here we are.” Hooper departed the RAMNCFR after earning $19,669 – $7,493 for winning the final round. Hooper moved up to fourth in the world standings with $66,467. –Tracy Renck

Team roping header Clay Smith, right, and heeler Jake Long earned $25,207 after winning the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, March 24. PRCA ProRodeo photo by James Phifer

“It’s huge to win more than $25,000,” Long said. “We didn’t hit at a couple of the other ones that pay a lot, and this was kind of our last chance to hit really big before the summer time. It was nice to take advantage of it.” –Tracy Renck

Tilden Hooper celebrates after his 92-point ride on Hi Lo Pro Rodeo’s Redzilla to win the RAM NCFR. PRCA ProRodeo photo by James Phifer

ProRodeo Sports News 4/5/2019


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