Meet the Member Clate Harwell

by Rodeo News

story by Lindsay Humphrey

“I’m an action guy. I like a good adrenaline rush and having fun,” said 18-year-old Clate Harwell. “The first time I jumped a steer, I was hooked.” Partial to the skills and technique required of a good dismount, calf roping is also a favorite event for Clate. “Calves were the first thing I learned to rope, so I grew up doing that. I enjoy the timing and technique of the event. I think when calf roping runs are done well, they can be really pretty to watch.” The son of a calf roper, Cody, the high school senior comes by his affinity for tie-down roping honestly. Of course, Clate’s natural talent in his other events–team roping, cutting and reined cow horse–could be credited to his time on the family’s Artesia, New Mexico, ranch.
“Basically, I was born with a rope in my hand.” And as Clate grew up, that rope never left his grasp. The same can be said for his 21-year-old sister Kaitlyn. Their mom, Becky, however, wasn’t born into rodeo or ranching but she quickly adapted. “My mom learned how to rope and ride because she was my dad’s right-hand man until we came along. She doesn’t do that stuff as much, but she always helps us practice and work when we need help.” Rodeo is a family affair for the Harwells for many reasons, but it always culminates at the High School National Finals Rodeo. Since seventh grade, Clate has made an appearance at nationals and he’s working hard to make sure 2021 is no different. He’s currently set to win the all-around title for the NMHSRA.
“Every year I look forward to nationals. Since we ranch and rodeo that’s our yearly vacation. I look forward to that week because it’s so much fun, but I also love competing at that high level.” In the seventh grade, Clate went to nationals in breakaway and the next year he qualified in chute dogging and ribbon roping. He finished sixth in the world in the ribbon roping. As a freshman he finished 23rd in the world in the cutting and as a sophomore he competed in the calf roping and cutting. “Last year I made it in the cutting and finished ninth in the world in steer wrestling. I’m working on making it in cutting, calf roping and steer wrestling this year. I’m sitting well in all three of those now.”
It’s clear Clate’s driven by his competitive spirit, but there’s more pushing him forward in rodeo and life. “In the fall of 2019 a good friend of mine got in a bad horse accident. He was in the hospital for 6 months in a coma. He finally got to come home, and he just doesn’t ever give up. Thinking about him and his situation pushes me.” The 2020-2021 NMHSRA Student President is also motivated by his lofty career aspirations of becoming an equine surgeon by way of New Mexico State University. “We took my good calf horse to the vet for colic surgery when I was in the eighth grade and we got to watch another colic surgery. I’ve kind of been set on becoming an equine surgeon ever since then.”
Even though Clate has his sights set clearly on the path forward, he’s soaking up his final days of rodeoing with the NMHSRA. “I just want to finish off this year really strong. I’ve made so many friends throughout the years and my rodeo friends are like my family. I want to make the most of those moments that I have with them before they’re gone. They mean so much to me.” Clate will graduate from Artesia High School in May with a 4.1 GPA and as a member of the National Honor Society. He’s ready to spend his summer on the rodeo trail but is also looking for an internship with a veterinarian focused on equine surgery. This will give Clate an opportunity to get first-hand experience as he moves toward his goal of owning a veterinary clinic one day.

© Rodeo Life Media Corporation | All Rights Reserved • Laramie, Wyoming • 307.761.9053

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