Mason Clements, first of his kind and a rodeo champion in Kissimmee
The competition is steep, and the bucks are high at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee! Circuit champions come from all across the US and Mexico vying for their chance at a piece of the $1 million purse and a national champion title. For 25-year-old bareback rider Mason Clements, hailing from the PRCA Wilderness Circuit, it was no different. He came, he competed, and he conquered in Kissimmee!
Mason was born in 1992 to parents Doug and Tracy Clements. From a young age, he dreamed of becoming a cowboy. Unlike most contestants that he competes against today, Mason didn’t grow up on a ranch or have a family involved in agriculture. His family primarily were city folks. He is the first of his kind to make a career in the sport of rodeo, and his parents are extremely proud!
As a kid, he would attend local rodeos with friends for fun. In junior high, he started in to the timed events. It was around this time he developed a strong passion for horses. “I went to their house, and I wouldn’t want to get off the horses.” Since Mason didn’t own a horse nor live on a ranch where he could ride, he decided to experiment with bull riding at the age of 15. After giving bull riding a go, he realized it wasn’t the event for him. Not willing to give up on being a rodeo athlete, he began riding bareback horses around the age of 19 and never looked back. It was a love for horses, dedication to the sport of rodeo, and his determination to be great that has led him to the top!
Mason rodeos full-time now, competing in approximately 70 PRCA rodeos a year. “I’ve been dedicated since I started. It’s my job, my career. Caleb Bennett was a big influence on my start in the bareback riding (six-time WNFR qualifier). Since progressing, Kaycee Feild has also had a significant impact (four-time World Champion Bareback Rider). I was fortunate to also know his dad, Lewis Feild, that held two bareback riding tittles, two all-around champion titles and won the Linderman Award.”
Mason qualified for his second RAM NCFR this past year. He set his sights high, beating the former national champion and reigning world champion bareback rider, Tim O’ Connell, in the final round. “This year, I was a little more seasoned, better than I have been in years past. I was more confident, mentally stronger, and I was ready. I’ve dreamed of the day I would draw Rafter G’s horse, Assault. So when I drew him at the RAM NCFR I was more than ready for those notorious moves of his. When it came down to the ride, I did the best I could. I played the outcome in my mind about 100 times. I tried to ride for 10 seconds past the 8-second whistle to make sure the judges could see that I was in control.”
In bareback riding, Mason shared, “90% of riding is your mental game. Your biggest competitor is yourself. The more focused I am, the better I get. When you are competing at this level, you have to dedicate everything you have.” When Mason is not competing, he stays in shape by being active in extreme sports, like water skiing, motor cross, and snowmobiling, spending time in the gym, and doing yoga. “Yoga has oddly enough helped my riding significantly. It’s great for your core and hips gaining more range of motion.
The road to success for Mason is proof that hard work pays off. “My success hasn’t been made out of luck. I’ve worked hard for what I have become in the last five to six years. I am the only person in my entire family to be a professional cowboy.”
Gary Leffew once said, “Dare to be great.” That stuck with Mason as a piece of advice he carries down the road. “Getting in the back of the RAM truck to take the final victory lap, seeing my dad and brother in the audience, my family, and having them give me an air first bump was definitely a highlight in Kissimmee.”
Today, Mason is en route to compete at his next rodeo, the Calgary Stampede in Canada, alongside his traveling partners Tilden Hooper, Leighton Berry, and Kaycee Feild. After that, it’s on to Ogden!
“The rodeo lifestyle is fun! I enjoy the comradery, the experiences, the travel, and everything about being a cowboy!”
Perhaps you’ll catch him on a return visit to Kissimmee!