2021 Working Ranch Cowboy Award – Claybourne Clarke III
By Caitlin Richards
The Texas Cowboy Reunion, Inc. was organized in 1930 for the purpose of preserving the traditions of the early-day ranch country and to honor ranch cowboys that served as the foundation for the development of the cattle industry in Texas.
In 2001, the Texas Cowboy Reunion officially initiated a means of recognizing and honoring these individuals who pursued a lifetime career as working ranch cowboys.
This year the Texas Cowboy Reunion takes great pleasure in honoring Claybourne Clarke III. of Aspermont, Texas. Please join us on Saturday, July 3 as the Working Ranch Cowboy Award will be presented to Claybourne during the evening’s rodeo performance.
While Aspermont has been home to Claybourne and his wife Claire for over 50 years, Stamford is the place Claybourne grew up, spent his childhood and learned about ranching. Claybourne, born in 1944, is the son of Claybourne Clarke, Sr. of San Antonio, TX and Velma Clarke of Rule, TX. Clayborne’s father was a rancher in the Stamford area and his mother owned a beauty shop on the Square in Stamford called Velma’s.
Claybourne learned the ropes of ranching as a young boy working alongside his father. He helped with everything from rounding up the cattle on horseback to working, sorting and shipping. He always enjoyed ranching and being on horseback, but as he grew older, he became more involved in athletics while in high school.
Being an active member of the football team, Claybourne was not able to spend much time rodeoing. He would go to a few rodeos and always compete at the Texas Cowboy Reunion. Claybourne competed in saddle bronc riding and bareback riding. He admits he enjoyed saddle bronc the most but, performed better with bareback.
His love for ranching and rodeoing led Claybourne to attend Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas after graduating from Stamford High School in 1962. He competed with the Sul Ross rodeo team while earning his degree in agricultural science, and was even a member of the national champion team.
While at Sul Ross, Claybourne met Claire who came to Sul Ross for college from Rochester, New York. They got married while in school in 1966. After graduating, they moved to Old Glory where Clyabourne coached basketball and Claire taught school for a few years. Claire would later become a dental hygienist and worked in field for many years.
After five years at Old Glory, Claybourne then coached at Aspermont for four years before hanging up his whistle. During his coaching career, his men’s team even made it to the state tournament and played in the championship game where they lost by two points.
Once the Clarke’s moved back to Old Glory, they began raising a cattle herd of their own and established CCC Cattle Company. Aspermont became home for Claybourne and Claire and they slowly acquired more acres to run their cattle herd. Over the years, they grew their cow-calf operation and Claybourne became a full-time rancher after coaching. They originally raised Hereford cattle but shifted to Angus. While Claybourne managed their herd, he also bought cattle for other ranchers in the area traveling to various sales and feedlots across the state.
Claybourne and Claire have always enjoyed and lived out the ranching lifestyle. They both love to be on horseback and have spent lots of time together checking cattle. Having a good horse was always important to Claybourne. They have had a number of good horses over the years, and appreciated raising and developing each of them.
Today, Claybourne and Claire do not get to ride as often but it is still something they enjoy. They have one son, Claybourne Clark IV, who they are very proud of. He is an attorney in Denver, Colorado and is married to his wife Sangeeta with two children Claybourne “Fox” Clark V and Siona.
Claybourne has always enjoyed coming the Texas Cowboy Reunion and has very fond memories of competing in the arena. He feels honored to have been selected for the Working Ranch Cowboy Award by the Texas Cowboy Reunion.