Derek won the 1978 Oklahoma High School Saddle Bronc title; the 1984 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Saddle Bronc title, and twelve Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Circuit titles, plus the 1991 Dodge National Circuit Finals Bronc Riding Championship. He was Reserve PRCA Saddle Bronc World Champion in 1990.
His grandparents, Charley & Imogene Beals, received a telephone call, while touring in Australia, when Derek won the saddle bronc riding at Cheyenne Frontier Days in 1986. He qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo fifteen times from 1983 through 1999, only missing 1984 and 1997. He won the various PRCA Series Saddle Bronc Championships sponsored by Copenhagen/Skoal for three years; Dodge for seven years; Coca Cola twice; and Coors for three years and was a member of the Winston Tour Series for 1985 and 1986. Derek also won the Denver National Western Rodeo in 1983, 1989 & 1991 and the Great Lakes Circuit All-Around Champion, 1998.
The handsome saddle bronc rider was voted Coors Fans Favorite Cowboy in 1993, and had a twenty year career as a professional rodeo competitor. He was also involved in the PRCA Board of Directors (1998 – 2005) and the NFR Committee Board (1999 through 2005). He was a Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for six years and became the Chairman in January, 2005. He was forced to resign in August due to injury sustained at the Springdale, Arkansas PRCA Rodeo in July of that year.
Derek’s commitment to professional rodeo never waned. He followed his grandfather’s advice by collecting every bit of rodeo memorabilia and photographs and making friendships with numerous rodeo competitors. Charley told him, “When your rodeo career is over those are your rewards.”
Derek was inducted in to the Rodeo Historical Society Rodeo Hall of Fame, located in the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, at Oklahoma City, in 2018. He proudly followed his grandfather Charley Beals, inducted in 2010. Derek was quoted as saying “He sacrificed a lot for me and my brothers to be able to rodeo.” His grandmother, Imogene Veach Beals received the Tad Lucas Memorial Award and his great-grandfather, Monroe Veach was inducted in 1993.
Derek is survived by his three children, son Chase, and daughters Chelsea and husband Reece Roberts, and Dally Kay Clark; Toni Mathis, his devoted companion of many years; his parents, Duke and Donna Kay Clark, and brothers, Doug and wife Linda & Drew and wife Darby, plus nieces & nephews; great-aunts Letty McAlister and Peggy Robinson and families; and extended families. Derek was also inducted in to the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame, in Fort Worth, and several other rodeo halls.
A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, April 24, at 11 AM at the Oliver Angus Ranch Arena, 11811 Douglas Cemetery Road, Gentry, Arkansas 72734. It is located near the XNA Regional Airport in Northwest Arkansas. Derek’s final resting place will be the Clark-Beals Ranch Memorial Park, Colcord, OK.
My association with Derek’s family has been over the last 30 plus years. Charley Beals, his grandfather, saw something in me when I went to my first gathering at the National Finals Rodeo to research and interview people for my first book on rodeo history. He introduced me to many rodeo champions, rodeo clowns, cowboys and cowgirls. It was he and wife, Imogene that recommended me to write articles for The Ketch Pen for 3+ years. Imogene and I were rodeo traveling partners for over 15 years, after Charley died. We traveled to New York, Florida, Pendleton RoundUp, Cheyenne Frontier Days and many other major rodeos and gatherings in between. Imogene, daughter Donna Kay and I went to the big island, Hawaii to the Parker Ranch Rodeo.
My family is small, theirs was not. I spent lots of time with them and will say I was amazed and so blessed to be included in such a family that has such a tremendous commitment to rodeo and to each other. When we would run in to Derek, or his brother, Doug, at some distant rodeo where they were entered, they often shook their head in wonder. Derek once told his parents, he thought his grandmother got to more rodeos than he did. Derek has now rejoined Charley and Imogene, God bless them all.