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Meet the Member Clay Livengood
story by Michele Toberer
Although Clay Livengood is only fourteen years old, he has spent more hours at the rodeo arena than most adults. Rodeo has become a part of who he is and what he dreams about as he has grown up watching his family compete in and produce rodeos. Clay Livengood has quite a list of accomplishments of his own since he began his rodeo career with the Junior SRA at just five years old. But, that inspiration for being the best he can be has been fueled by growing up watching and practicing with the rest of his family that lives on the 5L farm in Cleveland, North Carolina. His father, Allen competes as a tie-down roper with much success, his mother, Sharon as an accomplished breakaway roper, and his older sister Bailey now competes in the Southern Rodeo Association, after graduating thru the ranks of JRSRA and high school rodeo. Clay’s seven-year-old sister, Rena Kate competes in the Junior SRA in the Pee Wee Division.
In the nine years, Clay has been competing in the Junior SRA, he has won four All-Around Champion Cowboy titles; once as a Pee Wee, twice as a Junior and again his first year in the Senior Division. He is barreling down to the finals in the lead of the All-Around Champion Cowboy race for the Senior division again this year. Besides the Junior SRA, Clay has also competed in other rodeo associations, and is a three-time National Qualifier for the North Carolina Junior High Rodeo Association. He finished his Junior High career at the national finals this past June, as one of the Top Ten in the world in boy’s goat tying. He does not plan for the list to end there, as he has goals that include rodeo on his mind.
Although this year Clay has been a stand-out competitor in team roping and chute dogging, his favorite event is tie-down roping, and he is grateful to be able to compete on his sorrel Quarter Horse, Cooper. “He works the rope really good, so it makes it easy to get the calves down,” Clay explained when describing Cooper’s strengths. Clay is a 9th grade homeschool student, but has already began to think of the future, and to no surprise, rodeo will be a part of it. After graduating, he would like to compete in the Southern Rodeo Association while attending college. After college, another level of rodeo competition, as he plans to start trying to reach his goal of winning a championship title in the International Pro Rodeo Association.
If Clay is not entered in a rodeo or practicing for the next, he is working at the farm and taking care of stock. His family contracts stock and produces multiple rodeos each year, and it is a family effort to make everything go off as seamlessly as they do. Clay has enjoyed learning the production side of rodeo, and last year joined efforts with his mom, Sharon, to start their own goat herd that they contract out for local rodeos.
Although he eats, breathes and dreams rodeo, if he had the opportunity to spend the day with a celebrity athlete, he would choose Russell Westbrook, a basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder team. Surprisingly, one of his favorite things to do that has nothing to do with rodeo, is watch basketball, and he thinks that Russell Westbrook “would be cool to hang out with for the day.” An athlete like Russell is not who holds Clay’s top spot as far as an idol though. That spot is held by Clay’s dad Allen. Clay explained “My dad really works hard at everything he does. When he ropes, he’s really consistent and he has tried to teach me that.” Clay is thankful to have his dad, family, and his sponsor, Willard Ropes, believing in him and supporting him as he reaches his rodeo goals.