Cowboy Christmas is officially underway.
And Clay Elliott was busy ripping into a couple of presents on Tuesday.
The Nanton saddle bronc rider hit two rodeos – one in the afternoon, one at night – and went home sitting atop the leaderboard at both Ponoka and Airdrie.
He tapped out an 85.75 on Centre Stage in Ponoka, jumped in the truck and headed south where he spurred his way to an 84 aboard Devils Who.
“I’ve had some really nice draws lately,” the 6-foot, 175-pounder said.
“Rodeo’s a game of ups and downs.
“And forgetting the failures and remembering the successes.”
He’ll want to deposit Tuesday’s 16 seconds of work in the memory bank.
“I’ve been on that horse before,” Elliott said of Devils Who. “That’s a really nice horse. I was really happy to have him.
“I got on a really nice horse today in Ponoka, too. I drew great.
“I’m looking forward to more days like today.”
The 22-year-old hot shot sits 13th in the world standings with $29,057 after winning Rodeo Houston earlier this year.
But the fun’s just getting started now.
“I’m going to be at a different rodeo every day of the week heading up to Calgary,” Elliott said. “We’re on our way to Prescott, Ariz., (on Wednesday).
“It’s hard to put a number on how many miles (we’ll travel). We’re flying to Arizona and driving back from there.
“It’s tough to say with flying and driving but I know I’ll be in a different stadium every day of the week.”
This is when a cowboy makes or breaks his season, solidifies his spot in the top 15 on the world charts or heads home with an empty wallet and broken dreams.
Elliott appears to have gotten off to the perfect start and he feels as good as he did at the start of the season.
“I’m feeling extremely healthy,” Elliott said. “I feel like I’m in the shape I need to be in.
“I’m looking forward to so many more horses. Now I need numbers.”
Elliott will head to the Calgary Stampede in less than two weeks but he’s trying to keep a level head.
“From the outside looking in, it’s a big deal,” Elliott said. “But on the other hand, I’ll be getting on the same horses, maybe today, that I’ll be getting on there.
“To me, it’s just a horse. And that’s the way I have to look at it to ride the same as I did today when I’m there.”
Still, it’s a pretty big deal, no?
“Growing up here in Canada, I watched it every year,” Elliott said. “To be there this year will be very exciting.”