PENDLETON — For the past two years, Clayton Hass has skipped the Pendleton Round-Up, choosing to stay close to his Weatherford, Texas home and rest up before heading to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in December.
But this year, needing a strong finish to make the NFR in Las Vegas, Hass found his way to Pendleton. Prior to Round-Up he sat 21st in the world standings in steer wrestling, nearly $9,000 away from 15th, and 28th in team roping and needs some money in these last few weeks of the regular season.
He made his trip to Round-Up worthwhile on Saturday as he won the steer wrestling title and placed in team roping earlier in the week to earn the coveted all-around championship and East Oregonian Let’er Buck trophy with $13,053 earned for the week.
“Winning all-around at a rodeo like this is great because this is a different caliber of a rodeo than anything we go to,” Hass said. “You got the grass, you got the lane, the stock coming from behind you, it’s different and it’s great. Last two years I didn’t come here but I struggled a little bit this year and had to have a win and came over here and got it.
“I’ve had some guys give me crap now that ‘Oh you’d never come over here and now you show up and win first.’ I’ve had some success here, but this is probably my best week by far.”
Hass knew he had a good shot at the all-around title going into Saturday’s finals, but his No. 1 competitor was a guy who had won the rodeo five times prior — Trevor Brazile. Brazile had won money in the first two rounds of steer roping and second round of calf roping, and was competing in the short round of steer roping Saturday.
But Brazile’s steer on Saturday didn’t cooperate like he had hoped, resulting in a no time and clinching the all-around title for Hass.
“It’s pretty cool to battle it out with a guy like that,” Hass said of Brazile. “He’s the greatest cowboy to probably ever walk, he’s smart, he’s a businessman and does his job well and to come out on top feels good. But I know day-in and day-out it’s a pretty good battle between that guy.”
Hass and team roping partner John Robertson had the third-fastest time of the week with 5.6 seconds to win the first round and a $4,294 check. And then in steer wrestling, Hass placed fourth in the second round with 5.7 seconds for $2,343, placed fourth on Saturday with 6.0 seconds for $644 but most importantly won the average with 19.8 seconds on three head for $5,773.
He barely edged out J.D. Struxness in the average who had 19.9 seconds on three head.
“To be able to have my name on the board (outside the arena) and be on that trophy, it’s pretty awesome and I’m fortunate to get the win here,” Hass said. “And now winning the bulldogging I get to go on the wall in the Rainbow (Cafe) so it’s really awesome.”
On top of all the prizes he earned for winning the steer wrestling Saturday, Hass also takes home a bevy of gifts in the all-around including: a trophy saddle, Nossler/Leoupold trophy rifle, official trophy buckle, sterling silver dress buckle, hand-crafted pair of Justin boots, custom embroidered leather jacket, Pendleton Woolen Mills blanket, Leupold McKenzie binoculars, Resistol PRCA felt hat, hand engraved silver pocket watch, YETI cooler, 14-karat bucking horse charm, bottle of Pendleton Whisky, a Bucks Bag gear bag, and a bottle of Let’er Buck cologne.
While thankful, Hass said he’s trying to figure out how to get all of the gifts home to Texas now.
“Tomorrow’s my wife’s birthday so I’m actually flying home tomorrow at 6 a.m.,” he said, “so I might have to get somebody to haul it home.”
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