15X NFR Qualifier Derek Clark Passes Away at age 60
PHOTO: DREW CLARK SADDLES VIA FACEBOOK
A fourth generation cowboy from Oklahoma, Derek Clark was the Oklahoma High School Saddle Bronc Champion in 1978, before competing on the pro circuit in saddle bronc riding and bull riding from 1980 – 2000 and qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo 15 times throughout his career. He also won the NIRA Championship title in 1984 while at Texas Tech University.
Following a winning career that included a reserve champion saddle bronc title (1990), a Cheyenne title, and multiple circuit finals titles, Clark retired in 2000, having surpassed the $1 million mark in career earnings.
He served on the PRCA Board of Directors for eight years and worked as a pickup man before retiring as chairman of the board in 2005 due to injuries incurred at a rodeo in Springdale, Arkansas. But Clark always remained involved in rodeo and was a strong advocate for the sport.
Sadly, Clark passed away Thursday, April 8, 2021, after struggling with illness at the age of 60.
On Facebook, Kendra Santos wrote:
So sad to share that fourth-generation cowboy and 15-time National Finals Rodeo saddle bronc rider Derek Clark has headed to Heaven. Derek passed peacefully last night after a lengthy illness at 60. But not before winning the 1978 Oklahoma High School Saddle Bronc Riding Championship, the 1984 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Saddle Bronc Riding Title, 12 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Circuit Saddle Bronc Riding Championships (two in the Prairie Circuit, nine in the Great Lakes Circuit and one in Texas) and being crowned the 1991 Dodge National Circuit Finals Bronc Riding Champ.
This million-dollar bronc rider won The Daddy of ’em All at Cheyenne in 1986, Denver three times and so many major rodeos over the years. Derek’s 15 NFR back numbers spanned 1983 to 1999. His 20-year career was capped with induction into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City in 2018. Derek proudly followed in the cowboy footsteps of his Great Grandpa Monroe Veach, Grandpa Charley Beals and Dad Duke.
Sincere rodeo family sympathy to Derek’s family, including Mom and Dad, Donna and Duke; brothers and sisters-in-laws, Doug and Linda, and Drew and Darbi; and Derek’s kids, Chase, Chelsea and Dally Kay. Derek’s constant companion for the last several years, Toni Mathis, took amazing care of Derek to the end. Thank you for that, and prayers for your broken heart, too, Toni. Love to Derek’s many friends and traveling partners. He left a memorable mark. Ride on, Cowboy.