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11.12.2015
2011 CBR World Champion Clayton Foltyn Qualifies for his Third WNFR

At 30 years old, Clayton Foltyn is the dean of the 2015 WNFR Class of bull riding qualifiers. Clayton turned 30 on March 21 and that makes him nine months older than Kody DeShon, two months older than Wesley Silcox and three days older than Shane Proctor. That’s four 1985 babies in the WNFR this year.

Occupying the No. 11 spot on the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Associations bull riding list for the WNFR, the third generation bull rider earned $65,250 in the PRCA during the 2015 season. But since turning pro in 2003, Clayton has collected, 8 seconds at a time, over one million dollars in total earnings riding bulls in three associations.

This year marks Foltyn’s third return to Vegas in December as a professional bull rider and he did so at a point in his career when it means the most. The son of Lane Foltyn and grandson of the late Dickey Cox, a four-time National Finals Rodeo qualifying bull rider, Foltyn was destined to return to the Thomas and Mack arena in 2015. Cox who qualified for the NFR in 1963-64, ’68 and ’70 is being honored this year on Memorial Night by the PRCA.

But not until he and his traveling mate, Cody Teel, the 2012 PRCA World Champion, teamed up in the last quarter of competition, did he know if it would be to see his grandfather honored from the stands, or on the back of the bucking chutes as a contestant.

Keeping his grandfather’s traveling sense of humor alive, Foltyn seems to be both smart and funny on the rodeo trail, according to Teel. “None of Clayton’s quotes or sayings are very appropriate for me to tell you, so I’ll go ahead with a story – this summer while he didn’t have his driver’s license we were going through a checkpoint and they were stopping every car and Clayton was driving. By some miracle they waived the car through and then started stopping them after us. So Clayton may be the luckiest person I know, and the smartest - because since he didn’t have a license he didn’t have to rent a car all summer!”

Attending approximately 60 rodeos to qualify, Foltyn admitted he was a late bloomer this year.

“I was about 30 something in the standings at the beginning of the summer, but after 12 years on the road, I feel like I knew the rodeos I needed to go to and when I found success I didn’t have to rodeo that hard, I did well at the big rodeos,” continued the 5’8 150 pound cowboy talking to me while picking up his tuxedo for his brother in law’s (Cooper Davis) wedding.

 

PREPARATION

Clayton credits Lee Pace at Roughstockathlete.com (Heith DeMoss’s cousin) for his good health this year.

“He began working me out last fall and winter to get me in shape for the summer run and I have continued to work out there since to stay in shape and get ready for the NFR.”   

“I have to stay active and stay doing something – when you are 21 you can just hang on the couch, but you can’t at 30. I have to keep moving and rehab some old injuries, shoulder, arm, and hip. I feel healthier than before,” said Clayton as he repeated “Roughstockathlete.com”.

 

BULLS

Foltyn credits former bull rider and current PRCA Livestock Director Cody Whitney as putting a great pen of bulls together for this year’s event.

“I am a jump for jump kind of guy and so I don’t study them like some people, but if I could pick one that I really want to get on it would be 63 Half Nutz of Carr’s, I’d like to get on him.”

 

INJURIES

Foltyn has suffered in the past from a broken arm, hip and shoulder, but is currently injury free.

 

IN HIS OWN WORDS

“I was down in the standings around the 30th of June, then I won Reno (Extreme Bull Riding), then I didn’t do good for the next couple of weeks, but then started winning sometime during the middle of August and it all just came together.” 

“My Dad has always been my go-to guy and mentor when I get in a rut or need advice,” added Foltyn who says he also can count on eight-time NFR qualifier Myron Duarte for help.

 

BACKGROUND

Growing up in El Campo, Foltyn married Kala Miller one week after the 2011 WNFR and made his new home in Winnie, a southeast Texas town which is southwest of Beaumont and West of Jerry Nelson’s ranch.

Injuries would plague the young couple in 2012 as Clayton nursed a broken arm and endured rehabilitation after hip surgery. 2015 saw the Foltyns getting thru several personal heartbreaks and tragedies while his professional life seemed to lift itself up from the ground.

I have known Clayton personally since I began working in the rodeo industry in 2004, but to tell this story and not use their own words proved difficult.

This year while difficult is special for the Foltyn Family as his wife recounts the four year effort to get back to the WNFR.

“Needless to say getting to the finals has been an uphill battle ever since. Once he started back riding at the end of the year it was buck off after buck off and so hard to watch because Clayton isn't just a bull rider who just does this for a living; He truly eats, sleeps, and breaths rodeo. Any rodeo wife can tell you it isn’t about the money it’s all about the pure heartbreak and disappointment in themselves when they aren't riding well. It truly hurts to watch. It took a lot of prayer and trusting in the Lord to get through this time. It got to the point where our savings was gone but the entry fees were not letting up. It seemed as if it wasn't one thing it was another. Our house got broken into, Claytons rodeo car stayed broken down, Clayton wrecked the van... You name it, it felt like it was happening. If God brought you to it, he will bring you through it. We knew our only option was to trust in the Lord! We learned that if we put it into the Lords hands he CONSTANTLY provided for us. He ended up 17th that year which was much harder to swallow than him barely ending up in the top 40 last year. During this time we learned how to live with the things we NEEDED rather than the things we WANTED. We learned how to be happy by just simply being happy.

This year has had some great wins and also some unbearable losses. We lost Poppy (Clayton’s Grandfather) in March of this year. Even though we had time to prepare ourselves we were not ready to say goodbye to one of the best men I have ever known. Poppy was one of Clayton's biggest fans, supporters, and heroes. But we know Poppy is in Heaven and has yet to leave Clayton’s side. Poppy will be recognized at this year’s NFR and How SPECIAL is it that Clayton will be riding?? As our hearts were somewhat starting to heal we got the call on July 12 that Taylor Roach was gone. Leaving behind a wife and a son. Without even thinking we jumped in the car and drove all night to get to Jennifer and Levi. With the Lord we got through one of the hardest days of our lives together. If Clayton had a win you didn't have to wonder if Taylor was going to call. He was one of the first phone call every time and we will miss hearing his voice every day. There is no doubt this year that Clayton has 2 angels in Heaven that have wanted him to win and it has been so fun to watch!

Clayton had some struggles throughout this year that all bull riders go through, trying to figure out when you've reached the end of your career. We once again put it in the Lords hands to direct our paths and needless to say... He did!” Clayton Foltyn - 2015

 

Career Highlights

2011 CBR World Champion

 

2015 Highlights

·         Won the Farm-City Pro Rodeo (Hermiston, Ore.)

·         Won the Reno (Nev.) Rodeo Xtreme Bulls

·         Won the Leesville (La.) Lions Club ProRodeo

·         Won the Lakeland (Fla.) ProRodeo Classic

·        2009 All Around Cowboy, Cheyenne Frontier Days

·        2005: Placed sixth in the bull riding at the Wrangler NFR with $25,745; finished the year fourth in the world in the all-around with $130,328, 19th in the bareback riding with $58,996 and 10th in the bull riding with $107,261.

·        PRCA Overall, All-Around and Bull Riding Rookie of the Year, 2004; Rookie of the Year in the Texas Circuit, 2004 Amateur

·        Won all-around and bareback riding titles at the Texas High School Rodeo finals, 2002 and 2004


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