LAS VEGAS – Mason Clements looked at a green sheet of paper that listed his winnings through two nights at the National Finals Rodeo.
“It’s not a bad paycheck so far, but it’s hard for me to look at the dollar amount, especially right now for what my goals are and what I want to accomplish,” said Clements, a bareback rider from Springville, Utah. “Yes, it’s very awesome. I’m still placing, but I’ve got 50-yard targets, and I’ve got to keep knocking them down.
“I need to just keep doing my job, keep showing up ready to ride and have some fun.”
He certainly did that Friday night, matching moves with Calgary Stampede’s Yippee Kibitz for 85.5 points to finish in a tie for fourth place on the second night of ProRodeo’s grand finale. He pocketed $8,885 and pushed his NFR earnings to $39,615 – not too bad for two days’ work.
He entered the NFR 10th in the world standings, moved up to sixth after Thursday’s second-place ride, then fell to seventh Friday. Still, he pushed his annual earnings to more than $139,000 and has nine more nights remaining.
“This really feels great,” he said of his NFR experience. “It was cool training this year. It was a bit more relaxed; I still accomplished what I wanted to accomplished. I came to the NFR ready to take it. Bareback riding is a physical sport. You take hits the whole eight seconds, whether it’s a 90-point rodeo or a 60-point ride.
“My goal was to be prepared for that, but to relax and have a little bit more fun with the training.”
His preparation is paying off. He has made more money than any other bareback rider through the first two rounds. It helped that he knew a little bit about his horse, which he rode to a high-80s score in Ellensburg, Wash., two years ago.
“I was the runner-up in Ellensburg, and this trip with him was just as similar to the first time,” Clements said. “He has lots of moves, lots of kicking, lots of jumping ahead and lots of power.”
It was a good precursor to Saturday’s third go-round, which features the hardest-to-ride horses inn bareback riding.
“I’m excited for the heavy hitters; I love them,” said Clements, who will be matched with Northcott Macza’s Spilled Perfume in the third round. “I want lean, mean fighting machines in horses. That is what I train for.”
That plan seems to be working out quite well.