Rodeo coach uses personal experiences in the arena and on the football field to help him in his coaching career

Growing up he didn’t really have a favorite sport, it all depended on which one he was currently active in. His father instilled in him a work ethic to try his absolute best effort no matter what he was doing.

Beau Clark is now fully committed to rodeo and still carries with him the life lessons his father gave him when he was just a little boy.

For now, Clark is the head rodeo coach at Laramie County Community College and his professional focus is solely on competing and coaching rodeo. However, growing up in Bozeman, Montana, Clark was a multiple-sport athlete who dreamed about playing football for his hometown school, Montana State.

“It was a big deal for us as a kid to go to a Montana State football game or basketball game,” Clark said. “I didn’t know there was anything bigger than Montana State. I thought that was big time college athletics and I grew up passionate about Montana State.”

Clark competed in rodeo, football and basketball when he was in high school, with his passion leaning toward football and rodeo over basketball. After a bad weekend of rodeoing in high school, Clark told his father he no longer wanted to play basketball anymore so he could focus on rodeo.

Clark recalls that day like it was yesterday and is thankful for the advice his father gave him way back then.

“I can picture it right now,” Clark said. “We were driving away from the fieldhouse in Bozeman and I told my dad that I wasn’t going to play basketball, I was just going to rope all winter and come back and do good in the spring. He was supportive of whatever we wanted to do, but his advice was ‘you got four years to play high school basketball and be a kid, so enjoy that and you can rodeo the rest of your life.’ It worked out exactly that way.”

Reading between the lines, Clark’s father was telling him to live in the moment and to enjoy it. That advice helped Clark enjoy the rest of his high school sports career and eventually led to him playing defensive tackle for his childhood team.

“It meant a lot to go through the recruiting process and getting an opportunity then to play for them as a local kid,” Clark said. “A Montana kid playing for Montana State, it meant a lot to me and I am very proud of it. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Clark believes playing multiple sports in high school has helped him become the rodeo athlete he is today and is a helpful tool in producing young, talented rodeo athletes.

“The thing that I like with high school sports is just the opportunity to learn how to compete and be a part of a team,” Clark said. “I think the more times we can compete in anything it is going to help us be a better competitor.”

In Clark’s mind these skills are even more important to learn at the high school level when it comes to rodeo.

“College rodeo is very unique that it is not like a football game, you get one chance,” Clark said. “Football the first play can be an interception and we can totally mess up, but it’s OK because we got 60 more offensive plays throughout the game. These kids practice all week and some of them will go to Casper this weekend and they got one opportunity to make it happen right now and compete at a high level.”

Because of the nature of rodeo, Clark expects a lot from his athletes both inside and out of the arena. He models the expectations for his athletes from LCCC’s mission statement:

  1. To prepare people to succeed academically in college-level learning.
  2. To engage our students in learning activities that will prepare and advance them through the pursuit of a baccalaureate degree.
  3. To develop individuals to enter or advance in productive, life-fulfilling occupations and professions.
  4. To enrich the communities we serve through activities that stimulate and sustain a healthy society and economy.

“We expect our student athletes to kind of be a model of what that looks like,” Clark said. “We ask a lot, like we have extremely high standards and expectations academically that they go to every class and they commit to excellence and do the best job they can. We ask them athletically that they come here with a great attitude every day and work really hard at their events and try to be the best they can be.”

Clark is not the type to mix words. He said he is proud of what his team has done in and out of the arena, but he is really proud of what the athletes have done for the rodeo program. Clark has his athletes go out and sell calendars during the fall and put on fundraisers in the spring to help support the program.

“One thing I am very proud of is the rodeo student athletes are very involved with fundraising for this program,” Clark said.

Part of Clark’s respect and admiration for his athletes comes from knowing exactly what they are going through. Clark currently competes in rodeos himself and is back in school to earn his master’s degree in positive coaching with an emphasis on sports psychology.

“Competing in rodeos is what got me started with my masters, because I wanted to become in my mind just really mentally sound,” Clark said. “I started researching and learning about it and it’s helped me a ton in the way I compete. It’s for sure helped the way we coach and ideas that we try to get the kids to embrace.”

Clark’s past accomplishments of being a three-sport athlete in high school and playing college football should be enough to earn the respect of his athletes, but if that was not enough Clark still competes himself. He competed in last year’s Cheyenne Frontier Days and for the first time at the event made the short round in steer wrestling.

“I always struggled here and didn’t have the best of luck or didn’t compete well enough when I was here,” Clark said. “It was very exciting, I was extremely happy to do good here. The daddy is just a special rodeo and I would hate to end my career and say I never made the short round at Cheyenne Frontier Days. Hopefully we can use that momentum for this year and do good.”  

Clark said he plans to keep competing at Cheyenne Frontier Days saying, “We are too close to not get to go and be a part of it.” Though Clark will be competing in Cheyenne, he will no longer be living here.

On April 12, it was announced that Clark had accepted the head coaching position at the University of Wyoming.

“At the end of the day it’s just a great opportunity for my family,” Clark said. “It is the same job, we are doing the same thing over there, but it was a very tough decision because I love LCCC. It was a tough decision and it’s really tough because there’s so many great things about LCCC, this is a great rodeo program. I’m excited to go over there, it tugs at your heartstrings to leave here, because I appreciate the community and the school support and the students we have on campus.”

Clark spent two years as the head coach at LCCC, which was his introduction to head coaching.

“This is my first head coaching job,” Clark said. “This has been a great opportunity for me to learn what I like and what I don’t. Some of the stuff that we do here we dang sure are going to take it to the University of Wyoming and things we didn’t think we did as good a job on here we will change and try to make better over there.”

It all comes back to what Clark was taught as a young boy by his father, his strive to get better. That is to this day what motivates Clark and makes him the coach and athlete that he is.

“My father pushed us and it became my standard,” Clark said. “If you do something you need to do the best you can do. I think that’s kind of what really makes me tick. You don’t leave a stone unturned, you can do better if you put a little more time and effort into it.”

Even though Clark is leaving LCCC, he still has high expectations for the team and couldn’t be more proud of them.

“Our expectations and standards are a lot for these kids,” Clark said. “They do a great job embracing all of it and having a great attitude to be a part of it. I am extremely proud of the rodeo athletes that we have at this school.”

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