HEMPSTEAD, Texas – In less than three months of competing in ProRodeo during the 2023, Clayton Sellars excelled at a high rate.
Even though he didn’t return to action until July, he put on a whirlwind of a performance and earned $77,000 riding bucking bulls. He finished 25th in the world standings, a bit shy of his goal of returning to the National Finals Rodeo for the fourth time in his career.
“I came back late in the summer, and it was like trying to make my first NFR all over again,” said Sellars, 25, of Wildwood, Florida. “I ended up not making it, so that was just kind of a slap in the face, like, ‘Hey, man, you’re not as good as you think you are; you need to go to work.’
“That’s what my plan is right now to get out there and just work, get on bulls and win and see what I can do with a full season.”
The 2023 regular season came to a close last Saturday night, so he’s put that in his rear-view mirror and is focused on what’s ahead. The initial stop came Thursday night with the first PRCA rodeo of the 2024 season. He rode Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Bruised Kitty for 87.5 points to take the lead at the Waller County Fair and Rodeo in Hempstead.
“I didn’t really know that bull at all, but I texted my friend, Laramie Mosley, who got on him in Stephenville (Texas) last week,” Sellars said. “He said the bull was really, really good, but I came here not really expecting anything but just trying hard. The bull definitely did his part.”
Scores are based on a 100-point scale, with half coming from the bull and half coming from the cowboy. Bulls are marked on their ability to buck and the difficulty they are to ride, and the men are scored on their ability to stay in control of the animal during an eight-second qualifying ride.
Sellars qualified for ProRodeo’s grand championship from 2019-2021. His last year there was his best, when he finished sixth in the final world standings. He spent 2022 in the PBR’s premier tour, which features lucrative payouts 24 bull ridings a year. Those events take place in big coliseums at major cities across the country, like the Toyota Center in Houston and Madison Square Garden in New York City.
After an injury sidelined him early in the 2023 campaign, he found his way back to his roots. There’s something about the feel of a rodeo. Whereas the PBR is strictly bull riding, Sellars was close to the action for bareback riding, team roping, barrel racing and all the other rodeo events in Hempstead.
“My priorities are in ProRodeo at least for 2024 and most likely 2025,” he said. “We’ll make a decision after the 2024 NFR and see where we are then. I just feel so connected to ProRodeo. I show up and feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be, no matter where I am. I could be in Canby, Oregon, or Hempstead, Texas, and I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be.
“I’m very happy to be back in ProRodeo.”
Waller County Fair and Rodeo
Bareback riding: 1. Weston Timberman, 74.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Paint the Town; 2. Kash Martin, 73.5; 3. Mason Stuller, 73; Mason Yancy, 71.5; 5. Hayden James, 65; no other qualified rides.
Steer wrestling: 1. (tie) Marc Joiner and Justin Shaffer, 4.2 seconds; 3. Darcy Kersch, 4.3; 4. Jay Williamson, 4.4; 5. Dakota Champion, 6.7; 6. Matt Uttermark, 23.0; no other qualified runs.
Team roping: 1. Todd Arthur/Boudreaux Campbell, 11.8 seconds; no other qualified runs.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Weston Patterson, 76 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Redzilla; 2. Jake Clark, 75.5; 3. Jake Finlay, 75; 4. Zac Dallas, 74.5; no other qualified rides.
Tie-down roping: 1. John Douch, 8.0 seconds; 2. Nick Achille, 11.3; 3. Spencer King, 14.7; no other qualified runs.
Breakaway roping: 1. Montana Brown, 2.6 seconds; 2. Brooke Hester, 3.3; 3. Cassidy Boggs, 5.6; no other qualified runs.
Barrel racing: 1. Kasidi Smart, 15.55 seconds; Ericka Nelson, 15.56; 3. (tie) Kaycee Killingsworth and Kalli McCall, 15.90; 5. Lisa Zachoda, 15.97; 6. Victoria Procter, 16.00; 7. Mackenzie King, 16.11; 8. Jennifer Sharp, 20.38; 9. BryAnna Haluptzok, 20.66; no other qualified runs.
Bull riding: 1. Clayton Sellars, 87.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Bruised Kitty; 2. Shawn Bennett, 85; 3. Colton Kelly, 82.5; 4. Billy John Stephenson, 76; no other qualified rides.