ONE ON ONE: with Clay­ton Hass

Spin to Win Rodeo - - News -

Clay­ton Hass of Weather­ford, Texas, has bull­dogged at the last three Wran­gler Na­tional Fi­nals Rodeos. Timed-event handy­man Hass, who fin­ished se­cond only to Brazil’s Ju­nior Nogueira in the 2016 world all-around race, was ranked among the top 15 head­ers in the world at press time in late May. KEN­DRA SAN­TOS:

Be­ing the best pos­si­ble bull­dog­ger is ob­vi­ously job one. How much do you re­ally care about team rop­ing and the all-around race?

CLAY­TON HASS:

I care about it quite a bit. Steer wrestling comes first. Bull­dog­ging’s No. 1. It’s got to be, be­cause it’s my job to take care of (their main mount) Cadil­lac and the guys in the rig.

KS:

Last year’s gold all-around buckle came down to Round 10 at the NFR, and you fin­ished just $3,600 be­hind Ju­nior. How tough was that to take?

CH:

Pretty tough. I showed up in Ve­gas with the chance to win two world cham­pi­onships. Then I missed that steer in the fourth round. After that, my fo­cus went to just try­ing to win as much as I could to try and win the all-around cham­pi­onship. The all-around be­came my main fo­cus. My the­ory go­ing into the Fi­nals was that if I gave my­self the best op­por­tu­nity to win one gold buckle I’d have a great chance at win­ning two. After miss­ing that one steer, the al­laround was more on my mind.

KS:

I know you’re ranch-raised. How many dif­fer­ent events did you work grow­ing up, and which ones?

CH:

All the timed events—calf rop­ing, team rop­ing and steer wrestling. I rode two ju­nior bulls back in the day, and very oc­ca­sion­ally en­tered the steer rop­ing.

KS:

When did bull­dog­ging start to pull rank, and why?

CH:

After high school. I won good in high school in the steer wrestling, but I al­ways leaned to­ward the rop­ing events. I was a roper. Once I started to pro rodeo, I started fo­cus­ing more on the bull­dog­ging, largely for fi­nan­cial rea­sons, be­cause you can split the fuel more ways.

KS:

You turned pro in 2005. Have you worked more than one event con­sis­tently since then?

CH:

No. This year is the first year I’ve con­sis­tently worked more than one event. Last year, I team roped with Cody Doescher at a few of the win­ter rodeos, cir­cuit rodeoed a lit­tle bit, team roped at three rodeos with Cody over the Fourth, and roped with John (Robert­son) at a few rodeos in Montana (at the end of the 2016 reg­u­lar sea­son) last fall. I bet I roped at 30 rodeos last year.

KS:

How hard is it to work mul­ti­ple events when your top pri­or­ity is win­ning a gold buckle in one of them?

CH:

Try­ing to work more than one event makes it real tough. Get­ting up right in that se­cond event is tricky. I have Ty (Erick­son), Tyler (Wagues­pack) and Dakota (Eldridge) in the rig, too. Be­ing in a buddy group of four, I can’t cros­sev­ent en­ter so I’m guar­an­teed to get drawn up in the same perf in mul­ti­ple events. So I have to en­ter the team rop­ing as a stand-alone event and try to make it work. I re­ally have to con­sider those other three guys first.

KS:

Will you rope calves or steer rope at any rodeos this year?

CH:

I’ve been en­ter­ing the calf rop­ing a lit­tle bit and will prob­a­bly try to en­ter some this sum­mer at places like Cheyenne. Dakota, Blane Cox and Reese Riemer have let me ride their calf horses. I don’t have any­thing to ride in the steer rop­ing.

KS:

Do you prac­tice ev­ery event when you’re home?

CH:

I prac­tice more bull­dog­ging and team rop­ing than any­thing else. I have calves at the house, too. I break­away some and tie some down when I can work it in.

KS:

Your heeler, John Robert­son, is from Montana. (He’s also a brother to NFR heeler Matt Robert­son, Bob­bie Tryan and Arena de la Cruz.) How long have you two roped to­gether, and how was that ge­o­graph­i­cally un­likely match made?

CH:

John and I have roped to­gether since last fall. He called me when his part­ner got hurt and couldn’t go to Mis­soula. I was al­ready en­tered in the bull­dog­ging, so could team rope, too. We won Mis­soula, so we started en­ter­ing the Montana Cir­cuit rodeos.

KS:

At about how many rodeos will you en­ter the team rop­ing this year?

CH: Hope­fully 75.

KS:

Tell us about your head horse and how much you’ll be haul­ing him this sum­mer.

CH:

My black head horse, In­digo, is 13, and he gives me a chance ev­ery time. He’ll go all sum­mer.

KS: What are your team rop­ing goals?

CH:

At this point, to win as much as we can and hope­fully make the Fi­nals. We’re in a good po­si­tion. We’ve got over $20,000 won be­fore Reno. We have a le­git­i­mate shot, if we can keep win­ning.

KS:

Which head­ers do you make a point to watch, and why?

CH:

Guys like (Kaleb) Drig­gers, Trevor (Brazile) and Clay Tryan. They rope smart and they use their horses. They reach when they have to. You don’t see those guys get into slumps much. They win.

KS:

Which buckle is No. 1 on your wish list right now?

CH:

The gold buckle in the steer wrestling. I’ve put a lot of time into it. I’ve given my­self a cou­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties to win it and have made mis­takes. I’d like to put my­self in that po­si­tion again and be able to fin­ish it.

PRCA FILE PHOTO

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