Brian Claypool was one of the great rodeo cowboys from Canada during the decade of the seventies. He was a two time NFR qualifier in the bull riding as well as the Canadian champion in the same event. Although he didn’t enter the saddle bronc and bareback riding as often, he was equally talented in those events as well. Brian was one of those “confident” guys that believed he could accomplish anything, and he was never hesitant about offering his opinion on just about any subject. He was my good friend.
Back in those days, contestants of the big winter rodeos were permitted to be in the arena and squat along the wall to watch the performance when you weren’t up in a particular performance. Of course, the bucking stock would occasionally buck into the area where the cowboys were located. The walls were low with a pipe fence attached on top so it was easy to hop up on the fence if a horse or bull came close.
One year at the Fort Worth, Texas rodeo a group of rough stock riders were strung out along the wall watching the bareback riding. A horse came out of the chute and proceeded to buck down the wall where we were squatting. Naturally, we all jumped onto the fence to get out of harm’s way. Everybody except for Brian, that is. He stayed put and then proceeded to lecture all of us about being in more danger by “getting up high where it would be easier to get kicked.” He patiently explained to us that if we stayed low we would have far less risk of getting kicked.
The very next bareback horse out of the chute was Little Dan. Little Dan was a spectacular high kicking bucker. He bucked in a straight line towards us and then turned at the last second and bucked back into the center of the arena. All of us climbed onto the fence except Brian, of course. He stayed in place and stayed low…and he was really low because Little Dan had kicked him directly on top of his head and knocked him out cold. Brian woke up about ten minutes later in the first aid room. Naturally, all the pals gathered around wanted him to explain his “stay low” theory once again.