Story by Ruth Nicolaus Because of his parents, Scott and Jenee Holub, and his granddad, George Rachau, Dillin Holub is involved in the sport he […]
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Meet the Member Colby Clement
story by Lily Weinacht
Tie-down and team roper Colby Clement hails from Pedricktown, New Jersey, elevation 10 feet above sea level. While the Garden State isn’t well known for rodeo, Colby and his family have cultivated a rodeo tradition nonetheless. The 24-year-old roper is the third generation to compete in the sport but one of the first to hold a card with the APRA. He’s currently sitting ninth in the team roping heeler standings—roping with header and longtime friend Cory Romriell—and sixth in the tie-down roping. “I particularly like calf roping more because it’s all on me,” Colby explains. “I know that when I’ve done good, it’s from all the work I put in myself, and knowing I worked hard enough doing what it takes to win.”
Both of Colby’s grandfathers, Joe Merola and Wit Clement, competed in roping, as did his dad, Cory Clement. Colby’s own interest in the roping box didn’t surface until high school. “All through middle school and elementary I played baseball and basketball. I’d always roped dummies and gone to rodeos with my parents, Cory and Kathy, but it was a lot easier to take care of that baseball bat and glove. My sister, Chelsie, ran barrels when she was growing up, and I thought rodeo would be something cool for all four of us to do together.”
Since New Jersey doesn’t have a high school rodeo association, Colby high school rodeoed for Pennsylvania, and he won state in the heeling his senior year, along with reserve champion in the tie-down roping and all-around. “That was 2011, and Nationals was in Gillette that year, so me and my family, and the girl I was roping with and her family, all went out. I think we were just outside the top 20 on our first steer, but it was a good experience, and that was the largest rodeo I’d ever seen, much less been a part of.” Colby went on to college rodeo his junior and senior year at Missouri Valley College, where he graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s in marketing.
He returned home to work in sales for his grandfather’s business, which sells equipment to butchers and meat markets, and when work slows in the summer, Colby has the flexibility to rodeo in the APRA, IPRA, and PRCA. This is his rookie year in the IPRA, and he’s looking forward to competing in Canada for the first time this summer, while the APRA finals rodeo is just an hour and a half from his house. “The year-end titles are motivating,” says Colby, who’s qualified twice for the APRA finals, along with competing in the 2017 First Frontier Circuit Finals. “Everybody will tell you winning’s not everything, but that’s what we do it for is to be the best. It’s an everyday thing, whether you’re practicing roping or riding horses. You’ve got to do something every day to set yourself apart from everybody else.” Colby’s grandpa Joe Merola lives just a few miles away and has an arena and roping calves for Colby to practice on.
One of Colby’s tie-down horses is named after his late grandpa, Wit Clement. The 15-year-old gelding came from professional roper Jerad Hoffstetter, and Colby’s 10-year-old gelding, Peanut, was trained by Carmine Nastri. “Peanut’s pretty small and fast, and his size makes it real easy to see the calf.” Colby uses Wit for larger calves, and rides friends’ horses in the team roping, while he also enjoys golfing and makes sure his clubs are packed in the trailer.
“My main goal is to try to win the year-end in the calf roping this year in the APRA, and of course, make the First Frontier Circuit Finals. If it works out, I’d like to make the IPRA finals as well. I don’t see a ton of people from the Northeast making those finals, and it would be neat to go out there and represent our area in the calf roping.”