California ropers take Clovis crown


PRCA Photo by Dan Hubbell


CLOVIS, Calif. – Being Northern California natives, Spencer Mitchell and Justin Davis had always wanted to win the Clovis Rodeo, and they seized the opportunity April 24.

The pair won the team roping title at the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour presented by Justin Boots gold rodeo with a time of 24.0 seconds in the four-head average.

Mitchell, of Colusa, and Davis, from Cottonwood, split third in the final round with a 6.0-second run, which allowed them to win the average by .6 seconds.

“To come to a prestigious California rodeo like this and be able to win feels great,” Mitchell said. “We grew up in California, so we’re used to chasing down steers in bigger, more open setups.”

The arena in Clovis offers a large amount of real estate for teams to navigate once the chute opens.

Mitchell and Davis knew they’d have their work cut out for them in the finals.

“We probably had the worst steer in the herd, because he was the fastest,” said Davis, the heeler. “My plan was to get up there and keep the steer from running right to give Spencer a better go. That was the fastest run on that steer all rodeo, by about a full second.”

But winning the rodeo title wasn’t the only damage the duo did in Clovis last week. In the April 21 second round, they broke the arena record with a 4.2-second run. The previous record of 4.5, held by Brady Wren and Brett McDowell, had stood since 2000.

Combine that with winning the average and each man took home $5,983.

“Chemistry is the name of the game in team roping,” Davis said. “You don’t have to be the best team in the world to win if you have good chemistry.”

Mitchell says familiarity is the key to their successful partnership.

“Justin and I have roped together since we were kids, and most of the time we don’t even need to talk about our runs,” Mitchell said. “We both know what the other guy is thinking, and today everything worked in our favor.”

There was also a record performance at the roughstock end in Clovis, and it came April 24.

Bareback rider Jake Brown rode for 89 points on Growney Brothers Rodeo’s Wild & Blue, which tied Will Lowe’s arena record from 2005.

“I felt good about my chances to win when I saw the draw, and I didn’t know how many points I’d be, but I knew that horse would give me every opportunity in the world,” Brown said. “I saw that horse here last year, and she’s very fun to get on and today she had a great day.”

Brown entered the weekend third in the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings, but with the $8,178 he earned for his Clovis triumph – in addition to a win in Lufkin, Texas – he leapfrogged both Tim O’Connell and Orin Larsen for the top spot.

“I’m a big fan of the one-head format, especially when you can draw one like I did,” he said. “We had a great week at this rodeo, and this is one of my favorite places to ride.”

Other winners at the $281,292 rodeo – the highest payout in Clovis history – were all-around cowboy Josh Peek ($4,483 in tie-down roping and steer wrestling), steer wrestler Jacob Talley (18.7 seconds on four head), saddle bronc rider Rusty Wright (88 points on Burch Rodeo’s Lunatic From Hell), tie-down roper Stetson Vest (38.8 seconds on four head), barrel racer Sarah Rose McDonald (49.03 seconds on three runs) and bull rider Joseph McConnel (88.5 points on Growney Brothers Rodeo’s Crystal Deal).

A good week to be named Justin Davis: While heeler Justin Wade Davis was doing damage in Clovis with Spencer Mitchell, header Justin Van Davis and Zane Bruce won the team roping in Lufkin with a time of 9.2 seconds on two head. Davis and Bruce also won the second round in Lufkin with a rodeo-best run of 4.2 seconds.

Hot? He’s Frey-ed: One week after his big win at Rodeo Corpus Christi, steer wrestler Shane Frey, 24, backed that up with another eye-popping result in Lufkin. Frey, from Duncan, Okla., won the first round with a time of 3.0 seconds, the fastest time in any PRCA rodeo this season, and won the two-head average in 6.7, also the season’s quickest two-head time. Termaine Debose won the second round in 3.1 seconds – the season’s second-fastest time – and finished as runner-up in the average at 7.2. 

Off on the Wright foot: Brothers Rusty (Clovis and Auburn, Calif.) and Ryder (Lufkin, Texas) both had saddle bronc riding wins over the weekend along with their uncle-in-law, CoBurn Bradshaw (Springville, Calif.) As a side note, the win by Rusty Wright, 20, in Auburn came on Flying U Rodeo’s Hail Mary, 22, a horse raised by Big Bend/Flying 5 Rodeo and purchased by the Rosser family a few years ago.

And that is your instant replay for today: Steer wrestler Clay Mindemann won both of the one-day competitions at the Wichita Falls (Texas) PRCA Rodeo April 22-23 with times of 4.8 and 4.9, and saddle bronc rider Ryan Bestol did him one better by winning both days with identical scores of 79.

For complete coverage from Clovis, check out the May 6 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.