Jolee Lautaret-Jordan has been living the rodeo lifestyle since her childhood. At 39, Jolee is pursuing the sport she loves through the GCPRA and the […]
Clay Parsons is the Vice-President of the GCPRA, as well as a longtime competitor in the association. He was rodeoing with the association when it was known as the ARA (Arizona Rodeo Association), then the SRA (Southwest Rodeo Association), to what today is known as the GCPRA. Clay, 52, has seen his share of seasons in rodeo, from success, to injuries, to taking 18 years off from rodeoing to raise his family and start his business. But he has always returned to the sport that he was raised on.
Clay competes in tie-down roping and team roping as a heeler. He went pro when he was 17, and among other things, went on to be the all-around and team roping champion at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Huron, S.D. in 1979. He was also the tie-down roping champion at the College National Finals Rodeo in 1983, rodeoing for the University of Arizona. Clay tried qualifying for the WNFR for two years but didn’t make it. He explained what his mindset is on rodeo today. “The motivation that keeps you practicing is being on the losing end, or knowing when you show up at a rodeo that you’re not ready. There’s the old saying that you’d rather have luck than skill, but not me. I’d rather have skill than make my mistakes and miss a calf. I’d like to get to a point where I go to a rodeo to just have fun. I’m not there yet, but I’m sure it will come.”
For Clay, another motivation to rodeo has been recovering from an injury that set him back from competing for a year. In April of 2013, Clay was tie-down roping at a GCPRA rodeo when, in the middle of a standard run, he fractured his pelvis when he missed his calf but his horse stopped as usual. It turned out that Clay already had a fractured sacrum, which he was unaware of, and the strain of roping caught his body in just the right position. The St. Luke’s Sports Medicine Team that volunteers at GCPRA rodeos put Clay on a life flight and he was flown to a hospital in Phoenix. This March, Clay competed in his first rodeo since his injury almost a year ago. Though shaken by his first serious rodeo related injury, Clay is eager to return to competing. While tie-down roping may have to take a backseat now, Clay plans to make team roping his main event and is more than grateful to be able to rodeo again.
The cowboy from Marana, Ariz. is a “weekend warrior” when it comes to rodeo. Clay has been running his fulltime business, Marana Stockyards, for 20 years. “I really like dealing with ranchers. It’s a business that requires a good reputation and handshake, and I enjoy my work.” The Parsons raise some of their own cattle and sell consignment stock at their livestock auction. Clay’s wife, Karen, is the clerk in their sale barn and their son Clay Jr. – known as Clay Buck – also helps with the family business. Clay and Karen’s three daughters are Mallory, Carly, and Haley, and all three of them have thriving careers. More than anything, Clay and Karen love to spend time with their family.
Clay has been on the GCPRA rodeo board for eight years, three of which he has served as the vice-president. “At this point in my career I enjoy watching the young competitors coming up. We have junior high kids all the way up to 60 or 70-year-old men competing together in events – it’s kind of a special mix. It’s a great association to belong to.”
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