By Madelaine Mills
Not having been raised around rodeo, bareback rider Mason Clements doesn’t have the traditional background story of a cowboy. However, he has had an appreciation for the lifestyle from the tender age of six.
“Some family friends of my dad, Mark and Lori Peterson, had a few kids that did junior rodeos. You couldn’t keep me off their horses growing up,” Mason said.
As he got older, Motocross consumed Mason’s free time. Then he met race horse trainers Glade and Lori Van Tassel, who reignited his interest in horses and the industry.
“All summer long I would go clean stalls, buck hay, and wash horses at the race track,” Mason said. “Our neighbors and the Van Tassels were some of the biggest influences that introduced me into the rodeo world.”
Mason jumped right in as an all-around hand, trying a little bit of everything when it came to this new-found sport. Initially, he was focused on bull riding.
With a desire to learn and better his skills, he attended several schools including Sankey Rodeo Schools and Gary Leffew clinics. Always up for a challenge, at the age of 18 during the conclusion of his permit year, and after about five years riding bulls, Mason got a wild idea while watching the bareback riding at the Scottsdale Pro Rodeo.
“I just thought that that was going to be my style,” Mason said. “The next day I entered a rodeo in Woodruff, Utah.”
He called a friend to borrow his old bareback riding equipment. Against his friend’s advice, Mason went ahead and borrowed the gear, made a 12-hour drive in 9 hours, and got on two bucking horses the next day.
“I bucked off both of them, but l knew that was something I wanted to do and something I wanted to conquer.”
That next spring, with a new challenge and determination to succeed, he went to the CSI Champions Rodeo School. There he was coached by Kelly Wardell and Cody DeMers. Understanding that success is aided by who you surround yourself with, Mason asked his friend, Caleb Bennett to coach him. Caleb played a large role in introducing him to the bareback world, setting up his gear, and getting him on practice horses. Mason then began to enter amateur rodeos where he met his traveling partner, Kaycee and Kaycee’s legendary father, Lewis Feild.
“Those guys really progressed my bareback riding, but they improved me as a person outside of the arena more.”
Eventually, Mason chose to focus on riding bareback horses. That paid off as he qualified for his first NFR in 2017 after joining the PRCA in 2015. The Santaquin, Utah man went into Sin City 15th in the world and moved up five spots after riding nine bucking horses, placing four times and wining rounds five and ten to add $80,372 to his season earnings.
Most recently, he earned the title at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo. That was worth $19,238, which gave him a boost in the world standings and put him on pace for his second NFR qualification.
One on One with the Wrangler NFR Contestant – Mason Clements
Favorite movie: I like to watch Out Cold and Blazing Saddles. I really enjoy comedies.
Favorite current TV show: I love watching Narcos and Breaking Bad.
You have the day to relax while waiting for the rodeo to start, what are you doing: I like to wake board, paddle board, swim, you name it. Sometimes we will just kick it around and see if anything is going on, but for the most part I’m active and like adventure.
Every cowboy has their own custom chaps, what is the meaning behind yours: There’s no special meaning behind them other than the colors being red, white and blue. I love my country and am thankful to those who have sacrificed, allowing me to do what I love, which is riding bucking horses. These chaps have a wild story of their own. They were stolen a couple years ago and somebody in Oklahoma City found some of my stuff with a number on it. About a month and a half later, I got my gear back, so I’m pretty tied to them now. They found their way back home … it’s not very often that that happens!
Favorite thing you like about Las Vegas: Everything! I was born there and some of my family still lives there. It’s nice to spend time with my family. Las Vegas Events does a great job putting on a great production and I couldn’t thank them enough to have us there for those 10 days.
What was the mindset going into your first time competing in Vegas: I told myself, “Show up and make your statement. You dreamed of being here.” You put in the work to get there, intensely preparing the last month and a half in your off time. The plan was to then show up, have fun at that point and let the riding take care of itself. You’re mentally strong and prepared to show up, take care of business and have fun. It’s not rocket science.
Dream Draw: I’ve got this thing with Frontier’s Show Stomper. We have a little bit of history. I’d love to set a world record on him. He has kicked my butt the last few times, so I’d love to draw him and set some records on him. He’s one to do it on.
What belt buckle do you wear and why: I wear the fifth-round buckle from the NFR that I won this last year. As soon as I got it, I put it on. I didn’t want to take it off. It’s beautiful and I worked hard to get it.
Favorite Rodeo: Aside from NFR, I don’t have just one. I enjoy big rodeos with a lot of history like the National Western Stock Show, Fort Worth, even San Antonio. They each have a unique history and prestige that makes it a fun experience to ride there.
If you could give one piece of advice to a young rodeo competitor, what would it be: Stay consistent and persistent with your riding. If it doesn’t come right then, but that’s what you truly want to do and believe it in your heart, stay persistent with it. It will come, and your hard work will pay off. Go to clinics and be open to learning. I found the clinics and schools I went to extremely beneficial to building a solid foundation in my riding ability. The PRCA puts on free youth rodeo camps for kids who may be interested in riding or have been riding. They bring in top quality instructors to work on the fundamentals and safety.