LAS VEGAS – Every cowboy who makes a living in rodeo keeps plenty busy.
They travel extensively just to make a living, covering tens of thousands of miles a year going from one rodeo to another. They only make money when they finish better than most in the field. First place is always the goal, but third-place pays well, too.
Mason Clements stacked the deck for himself this year, though. After fellow bareback rider Trenten Montero died in August after being involved in a wreck in the arena, Clements joined others in mourning his friend, then he sought a way to ease the pain for those closest to those lost.
“The Trenten Montero Foundation is for the cowboys that sacrifice everything,” said Clements, a four-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Spanish Fork, Utah, who sits on the organization’s board. “It’s to take care of the families that are so devastated by career-ending injuries and, obviously, death, like what we just experienced with Trenten sacrificing that in the arena.
“We all got together around the IHOP table in Ellensburg (Washington) and said it was time for a change; it’s time to have more resources available. When things like this happen, it shouldn’t take months and months for a family to be squared away with everything they have to do. They should have time to grieve and not worry about what’s coming and how they’re going to handle it. They need time to be with their families and then they need psychological help and other resources that could be available to them.”
During Sunday’s third go-round, rodeo celebrated Memorial Night and honored those former NFR qualifiers and other dignitaries close to the championship. It was quite fitting that Clements won the round, scoring 88.5 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Breaking News to pocket $30,706. It was his first payday of this year’s finale.
“I truly don’t have any words for that,” he said. “That one was for Trenten Montero and his family to remember his name. That’s also for the Golden Circle of Champions, all those kids that have been diagnosed with cancer and have to fight for their lives every day. My heart goes out to them. It makes walking in here for the eliminator pen tonight much easier.”
An adjustment to his equipment also helped. He made a rigging change Saturday, and a brand-new rigging needed to be broken in. One ride did it, and he was set up for success Sunday.
“You prepare for this for two months, and your equipment should be the last thing you’re thinking about when you get here,” Clements said. “I finally found what I needed as far as a rigging goes. Coming into tonight, it was alright; that took care of the issue, and it felt much better. It showed in my ride, because I can move my feet that much faster and go that much harder.”
It even worked in the eliminator pen, the set of horses known for being the hardest to ride.
“When I dream of riding bucking horses, I dream of those kinds of horses, the dragons, the eliminator pen, because one wrong you will make you look silly, and you’re at the mercy of the horse at that point,” he said, who won the fourth NFR go-round of his career, the first since 2018. “You will not get any opportunity to get it back once it’s taken on these kinds of horses. It’s important to get that first punch.”