Clay Smith and Paul Eaves went out in the best way possible together.
The duo who decided before the Wrangler Finals kicked off Dec. 6 to go their separate ways on the rodeo trail, put together a team roping championship run.
Team roping header Smith and team roping heeler Eaves stopped the clock in 4.4 seconds in Round 10 to clinch third in the aggregate and win their respective world championships with $289,921 each.
They each cashed in for $174,577 at the Finals. Their third-place aggregate finish was 34.5 seconds on eight head. Aaron Tsinigine and Trey Yates won the average with 69.6 seconds on 10 head.
“It’s everything we’ve worked for,” said Smith, 27.
“It’s what we’ve wanted since we were young,” said Eaves, 28. “It’s unbelievable.”
Smith and Eaves missed in Round 1, but rebounded immediately, winning Round 2. They placed in Round 3 and won Round 5. They placed in four of the last five rounds.
“We just stayed aggressive and tried to win something on every one of them,” said Smith, of Broken Bow, Okla.
The two have clicked together since they started together.
“It’s not just one thing, it’s a lot of things,” said Eaves, of Millsap, Texas. “The way he (Smith) ropes is aggressive and can catch. He’s got really good horses, and that’s a huge deal.”
But the two are parting ways for the 2019 season.
“It’s just time for a change,” Eaves said.