That’s bad news for Clark’s cutting competition.
Aboard his mount, Clark posted a score of 225 to win the $50,000 Amateur Any Age finals by two points Friday night.
“Over the past few years, we’ve gotten better,” the 16-year-old Clark said. “We’ve climbed the ladder a little bit and improved our skills.”
Clark, of Fountain Inn, S.C., marked his highest score on Swinging Til Five, eclipsing a previous 224, to collect the first-place prize money of $2,118. Lisa Strickland, of Aiken, and Tom Acre, the go-round winners, placed second at 223 for $2,010. Jay Klamon and Somebody Somewhere finished third (218.5, $1,908).
“When I saw that score, I knew I had to come and cut,” said Strickland, who ran four horses after Clark. “That score was going to be pretty impossible to beat, but I was going to get as close to it as I possibly could.”
The 16-year-old Clark, a sophomore at Woodmont High School, and Swinging Til Five are making James Brown Arena a second home.
In 2010, they placed second in the Area 18 Youth Scholarship Cutting finals.
Last year, they won the event.
Clark’s parents, Rodger and Stephanie, bought the 12-year-old gelding by Justa Swinging Peppy out of Fives N Cash seven years ago.
Their son took an instant liking to the horse.
“I like to go fast,” he said. “I can put him in just about any position in the pen that I want to. It’s just riding him to that spot and making sure he stays in that spot. If he gets out of position, I just have to relax on him and he’ll get back in his place.”