Meet the Member Lydia Touchet
story by Siri Stevens Lydia started riding when she was four on a sale barn horse named Peanut. “PawPaw bought him for both my older […]
story by Michele Toberer
Clay McDaniel was counting down the hours until he walked the stage to get his high school diploma last month. The Deville, Louisiana cowboy was not feeling overly sentimental about finishing his time at Buckeye High School, but instead was just eager to finish this chapter of his life and move on towards his future. With graduation behind him, he now plans to head out to the oilfields of west Texas with friend and fellow-graduate, Logan Stapleton. The two boys will be working with Logan’s dad. Curt. in Texas, and that helps Clay’s parents feel more comfortable with sending their only son off, knowing he’ll be looked after. Clay looks forward to having a new schedule: 14 days in the oilfields and 14 days off; giving him two weeks to come back home to Louisiana and spend time roping to his heart’s content.
Clay has team roped in the Louisiana High School Rodeo Association for the past three years, as well as in the Louisiana Rodeo Association, and at jackpots and USTRC ropings across the southeast. Clay is classified as a #6 header and #6 heeler. Clay’s parents, Shannon and Harvey McDaniel competed in rodeo growing up, and are both alumni members of the LHSRA. Shannon was a team roper and breakaway roper, and Harvey was a team roper, calf roper and steer wrestler, during their high school rodeo years. Shannon now owns a small fast-food restaurant in Deville, called AW’s Drive In, and Harvey drives a gravel truck, hauling sand and gravel locally.
Clay has had ample opportunities to rope during his childhood, as his parents have immersed him in the lifestyle, taking him with them to rodeo and roping events on a regular basis, as they both are still very active team ropers today. Clay enjoyed roping in the dummy ropings that were at many of the events his parents competed at, until he was 10-years-old. He then decided to put his roping skills to use from a horse. At 10, Clay started roping on a big, bay Quarter Horse named Coon, and he still rides him today. During the 9 years Clay has ridden the 15.2 hand, 1,200-pound gelding, Coon has been very versatile for him. “He does whatever you want him to do.”
While Clay was a sophomore and junior in LHSRA, he competed as a heeler; and this past year he has competed as a header. The now 16-year-old, Coon, carries him in it all, always working his hardest to put Clay where he needs to be. Clay’s heeler for the past LHSRA season was Britt Buller, and the pair went into state finals as the number one team, and they are excited to qualify for nationals this final year of high school rodeo.
Clay’s typical days during his senior year consisted of waking up to leave for school in the morning, where he enjoyed his ag and welding classes and tried to spend as much time as possible at the ag buildings while he was on campus. Once the final bell rang for the day, he headed home to take care of his horses, and generally loaded the trailer to head to a local nearby arena, to practice roping. He is grateful that his family has helped him with his roping and is grateful to spend a lot of time roping with family. Clay really enjoys having his cousins Brady and Mattie, both 12-years-old, and Jace, 5-years-old, supporting him, and they come along with him to practice most days.
Although roping is the main part of Clay’s life, he does make time to hunt occasionally and loves to go duck hunting with family and friends. However, the true passion Clay has for roping is usually what his time is spent on most. If he is not roping in an arena on Coon, he is likely roping his Jakesteer dummy, always working to improve his techniques, and thinking about his future.
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