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Clements, Smith earn spots in Days of ’47 finals

SALT LAKE, Utah –  The script couldn’t have been written any better for bareback rider Mason Clements.

Clements, who grew up in Draper, Utah, 20 minutes south of Salt Lake, excelled on his home turf with an 86-point ride on Flying U’s Peppy Bound to win Saturday’s semifinal round at the Komatsu Equipment Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo.

“This rodeo is very important to me, just because of where I’m from and where I grew up,” said Clements, who now lives in Santaquin, Utah, an hour from Salt Lake. “I started my bareback career five years ago and I came to Days of ’47 all the way up to this point. Now, I’m here competing for this much money, and that means a lot to me.”

The top two competitors in each event qualified for the Gold Medal Round at 7 p.m. July 24, with $50,000 going to the winner at the brand-new Days of ’47 Arena at Utah State Fairpark.

“That cushion, is what everybody wants and strives for,” Clements said when asked what $50,000 would mean to him. “It would let me relax and enjoy things a little bit more than I already do.”

When Clements arrived in Salt Lake City he was trying to find out as much info as he could about Peppy Bound because he never had ridden him.

“Everybody was telling me that horse was really good,” Clements said. “I texted Reno Rosser and asked him about the horse’s number and he texted me back, ‘Heck yeah, that’s Peppy Bound.’ He came out and was nice horse around to the left and I had a lot of fun.”

Clements didn’t have time to celebrate Saturday as he was flying to California in the morning so he could compete in the short round at California Rodeo Salinas.

“I’m going to get on a plane in the morning and go to Salinas and then fly back (Sunday night) and try and get as much sleep as possible,” Clements said. “I don’t want to change my game. I just want to go at things with same intensity.”

Clements was 16th in the July 17 the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings with $46,654, meaning Salt Lake City’s outcome could give him the jolt he needs as he chases his inaugural bid to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER.

“There’s a lot of season left, and a lot of money still to win,” Clements said. “I feel pressure all year long because I want to be at the top. I don’t want to just be in the top 15, I want to be No. 1 in the world.”

Like Clements, Ryle Smith was thrilled after he won Saturday’s steer wrestling with a 4.0-second run.

“Everything came together for me on that run,” said Smith, who qualified for the Wrangler NFR in tie-down roping last year. “I was last out and I knew I had to go at him. I got a great start and the steer was good and I was aggressive.”

Smith was riding Pepperoni, a horse owned by Blake Knowles.

“Blake has been nice enough to let me ride his horse this year. He’s a good honest horse, and if it wasn’t for him I couldn’t do what I did (Saturday),” Smith said. “I’m thankful as I can be to be in (Monday’s) finals, and that luck is going my way.”

Smith, who is from Oakdale, Calif., will have two chances at the big money Monday as he also qualified in tie-down roping.

“I have a chance to win $100,000, but I’m trying not to think about that,” Smith said. “I don’t know what winning $100,000 would feel like because I’ve never had $100,000. I would like to go home and see my wife (Danika) and baby girl (Remy, born June 29) for a few weeks and I have plenty of things to pay off.”

Here are the top eight competitors who qualified for the finals July 24 at the Komatsu Equipment Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo.

Bareback riding
Tim O’Connell
Tanner Phipps
J.R. Vezain
Tilden Hooper
Steven Peebles
Wyatt Denny
Mason Clements
Jessy Davis

Steer wrestling
Justin Shaffer
Nick Guy
Jace Melvin
Tyler Pearson
Dakota Eldridge
Jesse Brown
Ryle Smith
John Ragatz

Team roping
Nelson Wyatt/Matt Kasner
Jr. Dees/Tyler McKnight
Brady Tryan/Kory Mytty
Tom Richards/Kyle Lockett
Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler
Marcus Theriot/Clint Summers
Lane Ivy/Trace Porter
Clayton Haas/John Robertson

Saddle bronc riding
Jacobs Crawley
Zeke Thurston
Rusty Wright
Ryder Wright
Hardy Braden
Heith DeMoss
Jake Wright
Cody DeMoss

Tie-down roping
Marty Yates
Tuf Cooper
Shane Hanchey
Hunter Herrin
Ryan Jarrett
Ryle Smith
Cimarron Boardman
Trevor Brazile

Barrel racing
Kassie Mowry
Stevi Hillman
Tiany Schuster
Ari-Anna Flynn
Lisa Lockhart
Kellie Collier
Haley Kinsel
Kelly Tovar

Bull riding
Shane Proctor
Sage Kimzey
Garrett Smith
Ty Wallace
Jeffrey Ramagos
Tim Bingham
Kurtis Turner
Tyler Bingham

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