Meet the Member Paxton Clark
story by Lindsay Humphrey It was during the HYRA Winter Series in Kingman, Kansas, that Paxton Clark nabbed his highest score to date. The 78-point […]
story by Lily Weinacht
Clay Shannon is sitting in the top three of the bareback and saddle bronc steer riding for the 2016-2017 season, winning the final KJHSRA rodeo of 2016 in Emporia, Kansas. The 14 year old from Humboldt, Kansas, comes by roughstock naturally, coached by his dad, Derrick Shannon, who rode bareback broncs in college and continues to rope. “I’ve been competing since I was five, and I just love the sport and getting out there and having fun,” says Clay. “I have a lot of friends that rodeo, and they help me out too.” He learned to rope from his dad, and his mom, Amy Shannon, also ropes and rides. Clay has attended several rodeo clinics in Kansas, including Jim Boy Hash’s in Garden City, and George Steinberger’s in Richmond.
Clay additionally competes in steer stopping, and roping events like tie-down, breakaway, and team roping in the HYRA, CYRA, and ranch rodeos. “Saddle bronc is my favorite because of the adrenaline rush of getting out there and competing well, but I’ve done really well in most of my events,” he says. Clay practices often with his dad, meeting in the barn for a session on the spur board or one of the bucking dummies they made. “I just ride the spur board since I don’t usually go to practice pens, and I guess it works!”
He rides two horses in his roping events – Tic and Hank. “I use Tic for breakaway and tie-down roping, and he knows how to follow the calf and get me into position. Hank is nine, and I use him in team roping. He’s a pretty good horse.” The Shannon family recently finished building an arena, where Clay rides with his brothers, Curt (ten), Creed (nine), and Crew (three). The brothers all pitch in with chores, caring for their horses, goats, pigs, chickens, cows, and dogs. Curt and Creed competed in the Youth Bull Riders World Finals in Abilene, Texas, in 2016, while Creed also enjoys roping. Crew is already riding his own horse and showing interest in rodeoing. All the brothers wear rodeo shirts made by their grandmother, Brenda Hobbs. “I want to thank her for making my shirts; it’s pretty cool,” says Clay. “She’ll surprise us with new shirts for rodeos, or ask what fabric we want or if we’re going to a rodeo with a pink day.”
An eighth grader at Humboldt Middle School, Clay’s favorite subject is math. He’s been studying Algebra, and he also played quarterback, running back, and wide receiver for the school’s football team. This spring, he’ll do the 400 meter dash, pole vault, shot-put, and discus in track and field. “When I get home from school, I eat a bowl of cereal for a snack, and then I practice as much as I can. My family also likes to hunt and fish, and we’ll work around the house,” says Clay. His mom is an art teacher for Iola High School, while his dad works for the Kansas Department of Transportation.
One of Clay’s goals for the season is to qualify for the NJHFR in both his steer riding events. He was just 5.25 points away from qualifying in the bareback last year. “I want to have a good rodeo life and be successful in everything I do,” he finishes. “I’d like to college rodeo, and hopefully make rodeo my career.”
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