Smarty Young Pros: Mason Pitts
There have been years of preparation leading up to the success that Smarty Young Pro, Mason Pitts, has experienced. When the Haughton, Louisiana 18-year-old showed interest in roping at a young age, his dad, Chet Pitts got involved as well, and he and Mason’s mom, Kelli Pitts, did all they could to provide opportunities for Mason to grow in a sport he was enthralled by. Mason’s parents both work in the oil industry, Kelli for an oilfield company, and Chet as a self-employed contractor. Kelli put aside her barrel racing competition to support Mason’s goals when he started getting serious about the rope in his hands at about 9 years old. Mason’s older brother, Colton, 27, roped some, but was more involved in other sports. State, national, and world titles have come since those beginner roper days; and most recently Mason and fellow Smarty teammate, Chet Weitz, finished as the 7th place team ropers in the world at the 2019 National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
Although Mason was born and raised in Louisiana and spent 6 years competing in the Louisiana High School Rodeo Association, he chose a zip code change to Hamilton, Texas in February to finish out his final high school rodeo season in Region 10 of the Texas High School Rodeo Association. “Chet and I were the 2019 Texas High School Rodeo Association Champion Team Ropers this year, and it felt really good to come to such a competitive state and finish on top my first year there. It is a great environment to be in.” After graduating from Haughton High School in Louisiana in December, Mason moved to live and work for a family in Stephenville, Texas helping around their ranch, and putting himself in a prime location for a dedicated heeler with big goals ahead.
During his rodeo years in Louisiana, success became standard for the cowboy. Mason was the 2015 LJHSRA Champion Heeler, roping with Morgan Sparks; and he was the 2014, 2016, and 2018 LHSRA Champion Heeler with partner, Tyler McGuffee, whose dad, Brian McGuffee was a friend of Mason’s dad and helped Mason with his roping skills. Mason and Tyler were the 2014 NJHFR world champion team ropers, winning the coveted title in Des Moines, Iowa. The team almost repeated their world champion success at last year’s NHSFR and came back to the short round as the second-high call team. “When I threw my rope in the short round the steer took a big jump and hopped right over my rope and there wasn’t much I could do. We finished as the 11th place team in the world in Rock Springs last year.”
Mason is currently competing on the 14-year-old bay mare, Belle, that he has owned since he was in 5th grade. But, most of his success came from the back of a red roan gelding he called Junior. “I competed on Junior for 7 years and went from a number 4 roper to a number 9 on him. I just retired him a few months ago at 16 years old. After taking him around the world every year, he had lots of miles under him, and I felt it was time to give him a break.”
As a second-year Smarty Young Pro member, Mason is grateful for all of the people he meets on the team and enjoys seeing them at the ropings and rodeos he attends. He also likes getting recognized by younger kids that come up to talk to him at events. “It’s been a great thing going to Decatur to camps and seeing Allen Bach and Jade Corkill and some of the pros that attend.” Although initially Mason thought being on the team would be a great thing, he appreciates all the company does for him even more today. “It’s become more than what I expected, and I’m grateful for the recognition it gives us in the industry. I love the conference calls and I feel like a better person every time I get off the phone after listening to Trey Johnson.”
With youth rodeo competition behind him, Mason looks forward to the big ranks of rodeo for his future. He appreciates all that his sponsors do for him to keep him traveling down the rodeo trail; Classic Ropes, Resistol, and Smarty Young Pros.