WEST JORDAN — A year ago Brendon Clark was lying in a hospital bed contemplating whether his love for bull riding was enough to overcome the damage done to his body when a bull stepped on his stomach and chest in Omaha, Nebraska.
"I ask myself a lot of times (if it's worth it)," said Clark, who became the first cowboy in the history of the PBR to earn four consecutive victories Saturday night at the PBR Touring Division event at the West Jordan arena. "But it always comes back around to how much I love to do it."
His passion was evident as he pumped his fist and grinned after earning the highest scores of the night — 178 points on two bulls. He was one of only two cowboys who earned scores in both the qualifying round and the finals. Toby Everett, of Durango, Colo., earned 80 points in the first round and then 85 in the finals for a combined 166 points.
Clark scored 87 points on his first bull, which put him in second place, behind Douglas Duncan, who scored 90 in the first round.
Clark was the second-to-last rider in the finals and brought the crowd to its feet with a 91-point ride on a bull he'd never seen before. And while he might not have known the animal, he knew who owned it — his friend Jeff Robinson. So Clark called him before the competition and asked his advice on how to ride the bull his friend expects to make a name for himself taking on the world's best bull riders.
"He just bought him," said Clark. "He's the real deal. Everyone is going to get a chance to see that bull on the Built Ford Tough Series."
Clark, who grew up in Australia, likely qualified for the PBR Finals in Las Vegas later this summer with the win.
"It's nice to know I'm already going to Las Vegas," he said. "Last year was pretty disappointing."
After months of recovering from being stepped on, he was injured almost right away. He missed out on making the finals by about $3,000.
He said the injuries cause him to think about how he makes a living, but the love he has for the sport keeps him coming back to the bull pen.
"I wasn't scared of getting on," he said. "I was scared of what might happen if I came off. It's a (heck) of a lot easier if you stay on."
Before Saturday's win, Clark said he didn't care about the record. In fact, PBR officials weren't sure if three consecutive wins was a record or not. While no one could find anyone else who'd done it, the records were incomplete.
"It's a huge deal," he said, accepting congratulations and handshakes. "They weren't 100 percent sure three wins was a record. So I just had to make it four to shut everybody up."
Clark said riding in the Touring Pro Division offers him the chance to ride the best bulls in the world. There are a lot of younger, more inexperienced riders who compete in the events, and it can be eye-opening for some of them.
"These are 4-year-olds that a lot of people haven't seen," said Clark. "In the four events I've gone to, I've been the only one whose stayed on in the short round, except for tonight."
He said the bulls just get better every year.
"The way bulls are these days, they're just really good," he said. "They're all doing what they've been bred to do, and that makes the riders step up. Some of these guys are rookies and younger, up-and-coming guys. Some of them haven't seen bulls this good, let a lone ride them."
Success doesn't mean Clark will take a break. He's on to Salinas, Calif., on Wednesday, and then he'll head to Oklahoma for the Built Ford Tough PBR event next weekend.
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