Age is just a number for 2 senior rodeo cowboys

Age is just a number for two Senior Rodeo cowboys.

DARBY, Mont. - The National Senior Pro Rodeo Tour is making its annual stop in the Treasure State this month, and a couple of cowboys competing in Darby are proving age is just a number.

JW Campbell, 83, of Alberta and Bud Clemons, 80, from Kersey, Colorado, went head-to-head on Tuesday in the match roping event. Clemons came away with the win.

"I rodeoed professionally for about 20 years, and I retired in 1975," said Clemons. "Didn't pick up a rope again until 30 years later."

"Rodeo started out as a competition between ranchers in the real early days. Like one rancher said I got a guy that can rope better, and I got a guy that can ride better," Campbell said.

The two cowboys are currently competing on the Senior Pro Rodeo Tour in the 68 and older match roping events. Clemons also competes in the ribbon roping event with his wife.

"The whole idea of rodeo is trying to preserve the heritage of the Old West," said Clemons. "Ranchers roped calves because they had to doctor them, they had to brand them. The quicker they could rope them and release them, the less stress it was on the animal. So that's why they've turned it into a timed event."

Everywhere they go they are the talk of the town, and they love it.

"We hope we can be an inspiration to a lot of the young kids that say, 'Well, I can't do that.' What do you mean you can't do that? There's a couple of 80-year-olds out there doing it," said Clemons.

"When I was young I liked visiting with older people," said Campbell. "Now that I'm older I like visiting with somebody that's still alive."

When asked how much longer he would be doing this, Campbell smiled, shrugged and replied, "just as long as I can walk."

There's still time to catch these two in action. They'll be competing again Thursday in Darby at 10 a.m. Clemons will conclude his tour of the Treasure State this weekend in Twin Bridges.