Catherine Clayton decided to let it all hang out Friday, May 12, 2023, in the final performance of the Rodeo Corpus Christi Progressive Round. Luckily for her, it worked.
Clayton, 23, from Dublin, Texas, bested the field with a 2.41-second run. The night saw a wolfy pack of girls, and Clayton knew it was all or nothing if she wanted to progress to Saturday night.
“I was just thinking, ‘Go fast,'” Clayton said. “I really just wanted to be on the barrier and take my first shot, even if I had to reach a little bit. Just to kind of let it all hang out. With the group of girls I was roping with today, there was really no room to swing over and be safe. So I just had to take a risk and go for it.”
Most would be nervous to rope in a set like that. Not Clayton. More than anything, she was excited.
“I get anxious a little bit, I guess, but more excited because it’s just so cool to get to compete against the level of girls that are here,” Clayton said.
Clayton’s equine counterpart was one she knows like the back of her hand. Clayton got Skeeter, a 7-year-old gelding, when he was 3, and she seasoned and trained him herself.
“He’s just awesome,” Clayton said. “I could talk about him all day. He’s just so honest. He scores great for me every time, and he runs hard and stays free and waits until I ask for a stop.”
Nominating for exposure
Clayton isn’t a stranger to high pressure situations. During her time at Cochise College in Douglas, Arizona, she qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo in the breakaway roping more than once. In 2021, she ended the year No. 3 in the nation. But the soon-to-be Southwestern Oklahoma State University student still looks for opportunities to season herself. Cue the WCRA.
“I kind of nominate to give myself, like, a step up before buying my permit and going to the ProRodeos,” Clayton said. “This is a little bit more comfortable for me to rope against these girls not as often, to give myself the confidence before I go against them all the time.”
As for tomorrow night? Clayton is going for it again.
“Kind of the same thing,”Clayton said of her plans. “Just go out there and make the best run I can. Be on the barrier, take my first shot and hope that it works.”
- Catherine Clayton, 2.41, $1,600
- Cheyenne Bartling, 2.83, $1,000
- Kenzie Kelton, 2.83, $1,000
- Hannah Lee, 2.99, $400
The Showdown Round will take place Saturday, May 13, 2023 at 7 p.m. CST. The three fastest times from the Showdown Round will advance to the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round, following the Showdown Round that evening.