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World Champion Clayton Goza
story by Lily Landreth
Clayton Goza is the fourth member of his family to win a world title in the NLBRA. In July, the 10-year-old from Loma, Colorado, took home the 2019 NLBRA Little Wrangler Goat Tail Untying World Champion title. He’s following after his mom, Tammy Goza, and older brother and sister, Brannan Allen (15) and Gentry Goza (12), who have all won world titles in the association. “(Winning) it was my goal because my brother and sister each won a world title too—my sister in goat tying and my brother in barrels,” Clayton explains. “Little Britches has taught me to get better and have a good mindset—I’ve gone five years to the Finals.”
He also won the first round of goat tail untying and made it to the short go in flag racing and pole bending. “It was pretty neat to come to the short go leading it,” says Tammy. “We were really thankful, and we just love Little Britches.” Clayton adds, “I like tying the goat and getting off the horse—I have a really good horse.” His family had six horses in tow for him and his siblings to compete on, including Denny for poles, Splashy for flags, and Okey, the 17-year-old gelding that carried Clayton to his world title. Just a few weeks earlier, Gentry finished second in the nation’s pole bending standings at the NJHFR on Denny. Brannan is also a multiple-time state champion and the 2018 NJHFR Reserve Tie-Down Roping Champion. “I look up to my brother and sister because they help me a lot, and they’re good,” says Clayton.
The siblings’ champion saddles have a place in the house, but they all know that winning championships starts in the practice pen. They continue to practice and rope daily through the winter, and Clayton is a member of the Utah 5th and Under Rodeo. He’s also moving into junior boys in the NLBRA and entering the goat tying, breakaway roping, and team roping as a heeler, while he is also an adept header. He ropes either end on his gray horse Dawg, and originally started roping on a pony before he was 3. Clayton loves to rope with his parents, Tammy and Jon Goza, who also enter various team ropings. When they’re on the road, Clayton enjoys watching team roping and tie-down roping videos of athletes such as Bret and Garrett Tonozzi, Trevor Brazile, and Cade Swor.
Clayton’s family also produces NLBRA rodeos in Grand Junction, called Ride the Line Events. Tammy’s parents produced NLBRA rodeos before her, while she and Jon started putting on their rodeos seven years ago. Last year they produced ten rodeos, which they also raise goat tying goats for. Clayton and his brother and sister help with the rodeos, along with everyday chores, feeding animals, and repairing fence. In their free time, they like roping goats, and playing basketball or football, while Jon and Brannan also train some of the family’s horses.
Beyond rodeo, Clayton is a fourth-grader at Loma Elementary School. He enjoys math class, where he’s learning multiplication, remainders, and division. Over Thanksgiving break, he and his family went to Brannan’s high school rodeo in St. George, Utah, then headed for Arizona to visit his grandparents and rope. Traveling to Lebanon, Tennessee, to watch Gentry compete in the NJHFR is one of Clayton’s favorite trips so far, and he intends to make Nationals himself when he starts junior high rodeo in two years.
“I want to be a three header by the summer, and I want to win the Utah 5th and Under too,” Clayton finishes. “I also want to rope with my sister in Little Britches, do breakaway, and tie goats.”