John Wayne thought Clay O’Brien Cooper was too small to play one of The Cowboys—until the pint-sized nine-year-old lassoed and dumped him on the set. Clay, who dropped his last name for film work, was a real cowboy, brought up on a California ranch. He stayed in show biz until 1976, but his main interest from the age of five: rodeo. He’s a seven-time World Champion in Team Roping, earning more than 2-million dollars during his career. He was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1997.
True West June 2023