July 14, 2014

Weatherford cowboy enjoys busy, successful day of cutting

Jason Clark shows four horses, advances three to the finals.

When the National Cutting Horse Association Summer Spectacular conducts its final round in the Classic/Challenge open division on Friday, Jason Clark might be a cowboy to watch.

During the second round on Monday at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum, Clark, a Weatherford resident, showed four horses. Three advanced to the finals.

Clark’s day began early when he showed two horses within the first bunch of cattle. Both of them advanced to the finals.

The first was Quick To Dual, which turned in a solid score of 216 in the first round. But during the second round, Quick to Dual turned in a remarkable prelim round score of 222. The horse will advance to the finals with a lofty two-ride aggregate score of 438.

“She’s a really good mare,” Clark said of Quick To Dual. “I knew I had to come out strong. I cut two quick cows on her and she got a good score.”

About 20 minutes after showing Quick To Dual, Clark turned in an attention grabbing 219 on Starlight Starbrite after making an aggressive 21/2-minute run.

“In this sport, you can’t keep anything on the table,” Clark said. “It’s like you have to keep your hand on the throttle.”

Starlight Starbright, who turned in a 219 in Round 1, advanced to the finals with a 438.

Clark had a disappointment about 11/2 hours later when he showed a talented horse named Katz Flash in the second bunch of cattle. During the first round, the duo turned in a 220. But during the second round on Monday, they were heavily penalized near the end of the run and received a 199.

“It was like a roller coaster,” Clark said. “At first, I was up and then I was down.”

However, Clark found redemption about four hours later when he showed a horse named Short N Smooth in the fifth bunch of cattle.

Short N Smooth turned in 218.5, the same as the first round. After all that, Clark and Short N Smooth will advance to the finals with a 436.5.

“You have to learn how to bounce back when they call your name,” Clark said. “You have to go in and ante up.”

Short N Smooth tied for second in the Classic/Challenge open division at the April Super Stakes in Fort Worth, which is the Summer Spectacular’s sister show.

A field of 22 horses that turned in a two-run score an aggregate score of at least 435.5 advanced to the Summer Spectacular’s Classic/Challenge open division finals. However, during the finals, no previous scores will count.

One horse that might produce a bigger score is JJs Catless Merada and rider Michael Cooper.

During the second round on Monday, they were slotted to compete next to last in the first bunch.

Riders often do not like to be slotted late in a bunch because that can mean the better cattle already have been worked. However, being late in the bunch didn’t deter JJs Catless Merada and Cooper. They turned in a remarkable score of 222 and advanced to the finals with a 438.5.

Veteran Lloyd Dennis Cox finished the prelims with the highest aggregate score. He and High Brown Jackson posted a 439.5. They turned in a 218.5 in the first round and then a 221 in the second round.

Cox and Creedence Clearwater also earned a finals berth with a 438. They turned in a pair of 219s in the prelims.

High school update

The National High School Rodeo Association Finals began Sunday and runs through Saturday in Rock Springs, Wyo.

In order to advance to the NTHSRA Finals, Texas competitors had to finish in the top four in an event at last month’s Texas High School Rodeo Association Finals in Abilene.

Brody Yeary of Brock, for example, advanced to the nationals after winning the state bull riding title.

Death of a champion

Billy Hale, the 1971 world champion steer wrestler who qualified for the National Finals Rodeo 13 times, died Saturday at a nursing home in Eufaula, Okla., according to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

He was 75.

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