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Eldridge out for season; Clements injures knee

by Tracy Renck | Jul 24, 2018

WNFR2017_Round 7_Steer Wrestling Dakota Eldridge001

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Steer wrestler Dakota Eldridge, a five-time qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (2013-17), will miss the remainder of the 2018 season after suffering a left knee injury July 17 at Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days.

“I injured my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), MCL (medial collateral ligament) and lateral meniscus,” said Eldridge, 26. “I’m going to have surgery. There’s just no way a brace will hold it together with everything torn. The doctor said if it was just an ACL I would be able to brace up and tape up and get by, but where I tore everything else in there a brace just wouldn’t work.”

Eldridge is hoping to have surgery on the knee the first week of August. Eldridge won the NFR average in 2015 and 2017. He finished second in the world standings in 2015 and third in the world in 2017.

“As soon as I can after the surgery, I’m going to start going to the gym and get in better shape than I ever have been,” Eldridge said.

The Elko, Nev., cowboy was ninth in the July 23 PRCA | RAM World Standings with $52,984.

“Injuries are part of it and are expected as a steer wrestler, but forever I thought I was invincible,” Eldridge said. “This is a big bummer. I felt like I’m more prepared this year, and I really felt like I had a great chance to win the world. But, everything happens for a reason, and maybe God had a different plan for me the rest of the summer.”

Eldridge is hoping to return to competition in January at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver.

Like Eldridge, bareback rider Mason Clements, who was fourth in the latest world standings with $81,321, is sidelined a couple of weeks with a left knee injury he suffered July 19 at a non-sanctioned PRCA rodeo. According to Clements, he has a meniscus tear and some cartilage that needs to be cleaned out. Clements is having arthroscopic surgery July 26 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Clements is planning on returning to action for the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour's Farm-City Pro Rodeo in Hermiston, Ore., Aug. 8-11.

"When it hit, and everything happened, it felt really similar to the last two times I've torn my ACL, but after the MRI and further review with the doctor, this is going to be a quick and easy deal," Clements said. "This is a blessing is disguise. Now, I can relax and pump the brakes and get stronger and get hungry and come back better than I was."

Clements made his Wrangler NFR debut last season, finishing 10th in the world standings with $166,486.

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