By Mickey Winfield, PNT staff writer
Dora junior calf-roper Jessie Clark defeated over 160 other competitors in winning the short round late last month at the National High School Finals rodeo in Farmington.
“It’s kind of a novel deal to see somebody make it that far,” Jessie’s dad Jerry said. “And to go and do as good as he did.”
Jessie turned in the fastest time of the week (8.2 seconds) in the competition, taking home $650 in college scholarship money for the effort.
“There are so many good ropers out there. It’s going to be whoever draws the best calves of the week,” Jessie said. “If you draw a calf that kicks, you’re not going to be as quick on it as one that doesn’t kick.”
“It’s not bad luck,” Jerry said. “That’s just part of the game. If you draw good, you do good if you use (the calf). He used the cattle as good as he could with the draw that he had until he came to the short round.”
Nearly 1,500 high school cowboys and cowgirls competed in the National High School Finals rodeo — widely known as the largest rodeo in the world.
Jessie competed at an event in Abilene, Texas last weekend, taking home $450 cash.
The junior at Dora High School has been roping since he was 5 years old.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Jerry said. “We kind of brought him around, and he’s brought himself around. He’s got so much natural talent that (his success is) mostly him and it’s just our job to keep him at it and keep him going down the road.”
Jessie will be a junior this school year at Dora, so he’s got two more years to try to get back to the big event.
“I look to do good next year if I make it to the Finals again,” Jessie said.