By Judy Wade
Clay Smith arrived in Las Vegas in December 2018 for the 60th Wrangler National Finals Rodeo sitting at the top of the list of Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association headers with $115,345 in winnings for the year and a dream.
After 10 grueling rounds, he left Vegas as 2018 World Champion Team Roper, a gold buckle, a trophy saddle and a dream come true. “I’ve worked all my life in the practice pen to rope that last steer in the National Finals,” he remarked.
Smith and partner Paul Eaves won round two, placed in six other rounds and ended up third in the average to pocket another $174,576, bringing their year-end total to $289,921.
Named for seven-time World Champion Team Roping Heeler Clay O’Brien Cooper, Smith was destined to be a team roper.
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