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International Finals Rodeo: Young Oklahoma cowboys have big dreams

Rodeo fans might want to remember the names of Brenten Hall and Jake Clay.

The two 17-year-old Oklahoma team ropers could be the next big thing in rodeo in the near future. The two cowboys roped to a first place finish and a $150,000 paycheck at the World Series of Team Roping in December in Las Vegas, Nev.

In October, Hall won $50,000 at the United States Team Roping Championships in Oklahoma City. Not bad pay days for teenagers.

Hall and Clay have qualified for the first time to the International Finals Rodeo, which begins Friday night in Oklahoma City. It's expected to be the first of many championships rodeos for the pair.

“It's as big a deal as we could go to right now,” Hall said of the IFR at the Jim Norick State Fair Arena.

Hall, the header of the team, is from Jay while Jake, the heeler, is from Sapulpa. The two became good friends because their parents are close friends. Their kids have been roping together since age 7.

Clay thinks such familiarity gives the duo an advantage over most team ropers.

“When I back in the box, I know what he is going to do and, I guess, he knows what I am going to do,” Clay said.

Both cowboys were taught to rope by their fathers, who also were International Professional Rodeo Association competitors.

Clay's father, Dwayne, and mother, Julana, are both multi-time IFR qualifiers. Julana Clay was a barrel racer an IPRA rookie of the year in 1986.

It's the same story for Hall, whose father, Bob, also was a team roper. Bob Hall, who died in 2015, made frequent appearances in the IFR in his career. Brenten's mother, LeAnna, was a regular at the IFR in barrel racing.

“Everybody in my family ropes,” Brenten Hall said. “My dad rodeoed in the IPRA. That's all he ever did. He made it, I think, 11 times (to the IFR). He taught me everything I know. My mom ran barrels and she team roped after running barrels.”

The young team ropers have big aspirations. They plan to rodeo for Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami and continuing competing in the IPRA for a few years before eventually getting their Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association card.

Rodeo is definitely in both cowboys' blood. They plan to make it their profession, not just their hobby.

“I don't ever remember doing anything different,” Clay said. “It's the only thing I wanted to do. It's all I do.”

INTERNATIONAL FINALS RODEO

What: Championship event of the International Professional Rodeo Association

Where: State Fair Arena, Oklahoma City

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

OG&E Kids Day is Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Kids can visit the arena floor for autographs, photos and rodeo-related events.

Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›

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