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On the Trail with Ben Clements
Written by: Maya< Back to Articles
story by Siri Stevens
Ben Clements grew up with a rope in his hand. “I drug a rope with me everywhere I could go, even to school,” said the 39-year-old from Odessa, Texas. Born in Amarillo, his family moved to Odessa to run the cattle portion of the K-Bar Ranch, which encompasses 70 sections in the desert. “My sister (Brandi) and I drove seven miles of dirt road to catch the bus for school – I was driving in the fourth grade.”
Ben ropes both ends, starting out as a heeler. “I entered my first team roping in 1986, when I was ten.” He competed in the AJRA and high school rodeo, making the Texas High School Finals three years and making one trip to the National High School Finals. He started college at Howard College, in Big Spring, Texas, and continued his education at the University of Texas. He made it to the CNFR all four years, three times as a heeler and once as a header.
Ben decided in the sixth grade that he wanted to be a dentist and oral surgeon. He graduated high school as valedictorian, and went to college majoring in biology with a chemistry minor. After obtaining that degree, he chose a different path and got a second degree in mass communications. “I came home from college one weekend and my mom and dad were putting on a high school rodeo in Crane and they needed an announcer. It took off from there,” he said. He partnered with his sister, Brandi, who runs the sound board, and formed X-Treme Entertainment. “We are now announcing 40 to 45 events a year. Brandi runs sound for the rodeos, but not necessarily the team ropings.”
After he graduated with his second degree, Ben was in limbo for a while, working for his dad and announcing. The door opened for him to work at the USTRC handling event insurance, the affiliate program, and the scheduling. “I still do that today, but since then, I’ve added the job as editor of the Super Looper (2004).” He also started the Final Spin, a TV show that began in 2011 as a UTube show, and has graduated to a show on RFDTV. “We just finished our second season and the third season starts in January.” The show, which focuses on team roping, with an emphasis on the USTRC, can been seen on RFDTV, Wednesdays at 7:30 Central Time.
He met his wife, Jodi Cornia, through the USTRC. Her dad (Bill Cornia) is a producer in Utah and she was announcing, timing, and secretarying and they visited by phone, dating on and off for several years. Jodi took a marketing job for Outlaw Conversions in Stephenville and the rest is history. They got married in May of 2008 and had their daughter in 2011. “TyAnn fits perfectly into everything we’re doing, she loves horse and likes to ride and run barrels. She is starting to rope too.” Jodi is mainly a barrel racer, but she also heads. They have leased ground next to their house that they run commercial Angus cattle, as well as Corrientes. “We also raise a little hay. We ride quite a bit but we don’t practice as much as we used to. Most of the time we are getting home and putting up hay or doing something with cows.” Jodi still secretaries, announces, and times ropings throughout the region.
As if the plate wasn’t full enough, Jodi and Ben are now producing three ropings a year. “I grew up juggling a lot of balls and multi tasking. There’s a lot going on, but I’m pretty good at prioritizing and keeping in the right direction. I’ve got a great family and support system so we knuckle down and get everything done.” They started with Jingle Bell Classic in November 2011. “I always wanted to do a fund raiser and give money back to kids over Christmas and we incorporated a food drive and toys with the event. Last year we gave a very sizable donation to Tarleton State University as well as two pick up beds full of toys to the foster home and a full pick up bed of food to the Soup Kitchen. It was hugely successful and has grown into something we are very proud of.” In 2015 they added the Big Break in March as well as the Summer Blast over July 4. “I don’t know if time will allow for anymore, but we are open to that.” Producing fits right into their lifestyle with both of them being heavily involved in the production of it.
Ben enjoys what he is doing with the sport of team roping. “I enjoy the people and the uniqueness of the team roping community, and our goal is to continue to produce events.” The most important role he’s playing now is dad. “We want to raise our daughter in a good home with a solid foundation and allow her to follow her dreams. Right now she loves music and loves to dance. We dance a lot together.”
“He can do anything in the roping world from A to Z,” said Philip Murrah. “He’s behind the mic more than he ropes.”
“You many not know what God has in store for you, but if you follow his plan and guidance, you will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. From the time I was in the sixth grade, I knew I wanted to be an oral surgeon. My path changed and here we are today and I’m extremely happy with everything we’re doing …”