Benefit rodeo scheduled

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The Casper Baca Rodeo Co. is hosting the Matt Clouser Benefit Rodeo for one of its own professional bull riders.

The goal is to raise $5,000 through all the proceeds from Saturday's event to help pay Matt Clouser's rising medical bills.

The 29-year-old was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphoid tissues, last year.

For now, Clouser has put bull riding on hold due to chemotherapy session and pending radiation treatments, but Clouser's mother, Tisa Baca-Clouser, said this benefit "means the world to him."

"He has a special place in his heart since he rode in Belen," Baca-Clouser said.

Saturday's benefit, scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Valencia County Sheriff's Posse Arena, will be full of bareback riding, saddle back riding, bull riding, calf open, steer wrestling, breakaway open and team open events.

Alongside the rodeo events will be an auction for a 500 lb. steer and about six large bails of hay.

Children under the age of 10 can try their luck at winning $1 by grabbing the ribbon off a calf's tale in the calf scramble.

For those not up to chasing a calf around an arena, they can head over to the face painter or grab a quick bite to eat at the concession stand.

The entrance fee to the rodeo is $12.

Early risers can also head over to the rodeo at 8 a.m. Saturday to bull ride, team open and bail race.

All funds raised from the event will be used to pay Clouser's medical bills, said Casper Baca.

"I think it will lighten his burden of having to pay those steep costs and help him focus on his health," Baca said.

Upon seeing a lump on Clouser's neck near his left shoulder, Baca-Clouser told him he needed to have it check out. Doctors later informed him he had two lumps, the one in his neck and another behind his rib cage, both larger than an inch.

Chemotherapy sessions in Albuquerque decreased the size of the lumps, but radiation is scheduled next, Baca-Clouser said.

Baca said he was surprised to learn that Clouser, who has been riding Baca's bulls for about five years, had cancer.

"He's a nice fella," Baca said. "He's down to earth and he's happy all the time."

The professional bull rider, a part of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, has toured the country since he was a teenager in search of his dream to become a top bull rider.

He got started in elementary school riding calves, where his love for bull riding became apparent, and rose to the top to win national competitions.

"He always said he would be number one," Baca-Clouser said.

Once Baca-Clouser found a 3-year-old Clouser walking around a pen full of wild bulls at their farm south of Belen.

"He had no fear," she said.

His goal is to breed and raise bulls himself to lease to rodeos, she said.


-- Email the author at aortiz@news-bulletin.com.