postheadericon Ranger women dominant in Kansas

ALVA, Okla. – It takes just one word to describe the Northwestern Oklahoma State University women’s team performance this past weekend: Dominating.

The Rangers women posted 455 points to run away with the Garden City (Kan.) Community College rodeo title. Lauren Barnes of Buckeye, Ariz., won the all-around championship with 195 points, parlaying a second-place finish in goat-tying and a fourth-place run in barrel racing to take the crown.

Laremie Allred

Laremie Allred

But she was just one of six Northwestern women who were part of the championship round Sunday afternoon. She was joined on the leaderboard by goat-tier Laremi Allred of Kanarraville, Utah, who won the short-round and the two-run average title by two-tenths of a second over Barnes.

“We’re pretty strong and pretty deep, so that’s beneficial for everyone involved,” said Allred, who transferred to Northwestern for the spring semester, making Garden City just her second Central Plains Region rodeo for the Rangers. “I like the school and the rodeo program we have here. We have some pretty good coaches and the opportunity to practice whenever we want.”

The proof was in the performance in the western Kansas community that was in the middle of a winter storm the week of the rodeo. Besides Allred and Barnes atop the goat-tying standings, Shayna Miller of Faith, S.D., finished third. Karley Kile, of Topeka, Kan., also was in the final round.

Barnes, who won the first round in barrel racing with a 13.79-second run, earned more points for the team by placing in the average. She was joined in the short round by Paige Winnett of Elmore City, Okla., who placed in both rounds and finished fifth in the two-run aggregate. Cassy Woodward of Dupree, S.D., placed in the final round.

“My goal this year is to be in the top three in goat tying and make the college finals,” Allred said. “If I can sneak in there in the breakaway (roping), that would be nice, too.”

Northwestern is well represented in the region standings, which the Rangers lead as a team. Miller is atop the goat-tying standings, followed by Barnes in third, Kile in sixth, Allred in eighth and Elli Jo Price in 12th.

For Allred, Garden City came together quite nicely, especially considering she was utilizing her brother’s steer wrestling horse to win the goat tying title. Her primary horse was injured in an vehicle wreck in which the truck and trailer rolled twice while en route from Utah to Alva to begin the semester.

“She’s still not healed yet,” Allred said, noting that the runs in Garden City were the first for the borrowed mount. “She worked pretty good, and I’ll probably keep hauling her.”

The Northwestern men had six cowboys compete in the championship round, led by tie-down roper Wade Perry of Lamont, Okla., who won the first round and finished second in the aggregate. Chase Lako of Hunter, N.D., placed sixth. Steer wrestler Laine Herl of Goodland, Kan., finished second in the first round and fell to third in the average, while Stephen Culling of Fort St. John, British Columbia, was third in the opening round and six in the average.

In team roping, header Dalton Richards of Hawkinsville, Ga., finished third in the average, roping with heeler Ben Whiddon of Southeastern Oklahoma State University, while Northwestern heeler Dustin Searcy of Mooreland, Okla., was the runner-up in the opening round while competing with Hunter Munsell of Western Oklahoma State College.

postheadericon Top cowboys heading to Bay City

BAY CITY, Texas – Many of the greatest cowboys and cowgirls in rodeo make their way to Bay City every March.

It’s all because of the Matagorda County Fair & Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 5-Saturday, March 7, at the Matagorda County Fairgrounds. They know the opportunity is there each of the three nights to cash in and make the run of their dreams toward the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Clint Cannon

Clint Cannon

Bay City also is the weekend home of many of the greatest animal athletes the game, thanks to the livestock from Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo. This past December, 27 Carr horses and bulls were a big part of the NFR, a ProRodeo record the Carr firm has held each of the past two years.

“Pete Carr has the bucking horses and bulls that are unreal,” said bareback rider Clint Cannon, a four-time NFR qualifier from nearby Waller, Texas. “When I think about Pete Carr, I think about 90-point rides, rock ’n’ roll music and fans loving it.”

A year ago, there were several NFR animals that were part of the action at the Matagorda County Fair and Rodeo, including five of the six animals that guided cowboys to the pay window in bareback riding. Two, Sadies Gal and Utopia, made their first trips to Las Vegas this past December, kick-starting their outstanding campaigns in this southeast Texas community.

Sage Kimzey

Sage Kimzey

“Pete Carr puts on a great rodeo,” said Sage Kimzey, the 2014 world champion bull rider from Strong City, Okla. “I’m thankful he loves the sport of rodeo so much and wants it to be so great.”

Kimzey isn’t the only world champion who follows the Carr herd around the country. Take two-time world champion Cody Wright of Milford, Utah, the reigning Bay City champion in saddle bronc riding. He matched moves with Deuces Wild to win the title last March.

Wright utilized that momentum to qualify for the NFR for the 12th straight year, but there were several finals qualifiers who are regular qualifiers to the finale.

“Pete’s got an eye for horses, and he’s surrounded himself with people who know what they’re talking about,” said saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss, a six-time NFR from Heflin, La. “You want to go to Pete’s rodeos, because you’re going to get on something good.”

The Carr animals are a huge drawing card for contestants. That also is why fans want to be part of the Matagorda County Fair & Rodeo experience.

postheadericon World’s best are excited for TEC

RODEO’S ELITE READY TO CHASE THE $100,000 PRIZE FOR THE WINNER

GUTHRIE, Okla. – The incentives at the Timed Event Championship of the World are great for the world’s greatest cowboys.

From the challenges set forth through the rugged competition to the opportunity to play their game in one of the most storied arenas in rodeo, the annual championship is a destination for the elite timed-event contestants.

Daniel Green

Daniel Green

Add into the mix a first-time purse of $200,000 – with $100,000 going to this year’s average winner – and it’s easy to see why 20 men who make up 39 combined gold buckles will be part of the 2015 Timed Event Championship of the World, set for noon and 7:30 p.m. Friday, noon and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

“Any time a cowboy can win more money, it’s good,” said Daniel Green, a three-time champion from Oakdale, Calif. “The Timed Event is not an easy deal to win; it’s really difficult. It takes so much that has to go right.

“My hat’s off to the owners for boosting financial support for the event. Being as tough as it is and a World Championship event, it should pay in that range.”

The players compete in five go-rounds and must make runs in heading, tie-down roping, heeling, steer wrestling and steer roping in each. It is dubbed the “Ironman of ProRodeo” because of its rugged nature. Spread over just three days, it’s a test of talent, durability and endurance.

Paul David Tierney

Paul David Tierney

The field includes some of the brightest young stars in rodeo, including reigning champion Paul David Tierney of Oral, S.D., and the 2014 reserve champ, Clay Smith of Broken Bow, Okla.

They’ll test their talent against an amazing list of top cowboys, including Green; 27-time world champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas, who owns 21 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association titles and a record six Timed Event crowns; five-time winner K.C. Jones of Burlington, Wyo.; two-time titlist Kyle Lockett of Visalia, Calif.; and 2010 champ Josh Peek of Pueblo, Colo.

This is the one event in ProRodeo where the greatest ropers will wrestle steers and where elite bulldoggers and a Linderman Award winner will test their other skills in an action-packed weekend of world-class talent.

Official Invited Timed Event Championship of the World Contestants
Current Listing and Subject to Change

  1. Paul David Tierney, Oral, South Dakota
  2. Clay Smith, Broken Bow, Oklahoma
  3. Russell Cardoza, Terrebonne, Oregon
  4. K.C. Jones, Burlington, Wyoming
  5. Daniel Green, Oakdale, California
  6. Clayton Hass, Terrell, Texas
  7. Dustin Bird, Cut Bank, Montana
  8. Landon McClaugherty, Tilden, Texas
  9. Dakota Eldridge, Elko, Nevada
  10. Cody Doescher, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  11. Trell Etbauer, Gruver, Texas
  12. Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Arizona
  13. Jess Tierney, Hermosa, South Dakota
  14. Shank Edwards, Levelland, Texas
  15. Josh Peek, Pueblo, Colorado
  16. Kyle Lockett, Visalia, California
  17. Jo Jo LeMond, Andrews, Texas
  18. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas
  19. Trevor Knowles, Mt. Vernon, Oregon
  20. Cade Swor, Winnie, Texas

postheadericon Carr stock shines in San Angelo

The Pete Carr animal athletes were a major part of the big winning at the San Angelo Stock Show Rodeo’s Cinch Shootout on Saturday night.

SanAngelo-LogoReigning PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year Dirty Jacket guided Jessy Davis to the winning 93-point ride. Spur Strap, a two-time selection to buck at the NFR, helped Jesse Wright to the saddle bronc riding title with an 87.

Meanwhile, Wes Stevenson finished second in bareback riding with a 92 on Good Time Charlie.

In the opening round, the top three bareback scores were all from Carr horses. Davis on Outa Sight and Stevenson on Scarlet’s Web both posted 90s, while Tanner Aus was third with an 87 on Fancy Free.

Wright won the first round in bronc riding with a 90-point ride on Big Tex, while Sam Spreadborough was fourth on Cool Runnings. In bull riding, Ty Wallace rode Hermes for 88.5 to finish first in the opening round. Josh Koschel placed second with an 86.5 on Rattler, while Trevor Kastner qualified for the final-four on time; he bucked off near the 8-second whistle.

postheadericon San Angelo short round will be great

Tonight’s championship round of the San Angelo (Texas) Stock Show will be a showcase of Pete Carr bucking stock.

SanAngelo-LogoThe short go-round will begin at 7:30 p.m. Central time in the west Texas community and features the top 12 contestants from preliminary rounds. In the mix will be world champions and regular Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers.

Most of the roughstock cowboys will have an opportunity to win big money on Carr animals. In fact, there are 27 Carr horses and bulls. Of those, 15 have been selected to perform at the NFR.

There are some fantastic match-ups on tap, too, including:

BAREBACK RIDING
Austin Foss-First Kiss
Brian Bain-Cool Change
Bobby Mote-Ladies Man
Bill Tutor-River Boat Annie
Tanner Aus-Betty Boop

SADDLE BRONC RIDING
Cody DeMoss-Gold Coast
Sam Spreadborough-Miss Congeniality
Cody Taton-Lori Darling
Bradley Harter-Sweet Maria

BULL RIDING
Howdy Cloud-Poker Face
Brennon Elred-Thunder Cat
Corey Maier-Half Nuts
Lon Danley-Hokey Pokey
Dalan Duncan-Missing Parts

It should be a fantastic show.

postheadericon Young champ is in a starring role

KIMZEY IS READY FOR THE NEXT STEP AT KANSAS STAR CHUTE OUT

MULVANE, Kan. – In his first two decades on this earth, Sage Kimzey has made quite a name for himself in the world of bull riding.

He stamped his place in the sport’s history last season, winning two world championships: He secured the Championship Bull Riding title in July, and then completed 2014 with the gold buckle in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Sage Kimzey

Sage Kimzey

“Those two championships, and being able to do it in my rookie year, just validated my career and what I’ve been able to do,” said Kimzey, 20, who will test his skills at the Kansas Star Chute Out, set for 8 p.m. Saturday, March 28, at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane. “It made me feel like all the work I’ve put in my whole life paid off.”

The young cowboy earned more than $400,000 last season between the CBR and the PRCA. He plans to add a little Kansas Star cash in late March.

“With the CBR, you get the most exciting event in rodeo with bull riding,” said Kimzey, of Strong City, Okla. “Rodeo is a true cowboy sport, and this will be an exciting two hours for everybody involved. It’s a fun event to be part of, so I’m looking forward to it.”

He will be one of five world champions in the mix, joining CBR titlists Cole Echols, Josh Barentine and Clayton Foltyn and 2012 PRCA champ Cody Teel. They will be matched with some of the top bulls in the game, including some from Arkansas City, Kan.-based contractor Brad Vogele, the 2010 CBR Stock Contractor of the Year.

“You’ll get to see the top 24 guys in the world and the top 24 bulls in the CBR matched up,” Kimzey said, who pointed to the opportunity to earn $20,000 in one night. “It’s a great show.”

It’s a show that Kimzey plans to share with his family and friends, many of whom will make the trip to the Kansas Star Arena from western Oklahoma.

“It’s always great to ride close to home,” he said. “The Kansas Star is a great facility that puts on a great event. Hopefully all the fans and my family will get to come out and enjoy it.”

Tickets start at $17 and are available at the Kansas Star Arena Box Office or at www.KansasStarArena.com.

postheadericon Lerwill returns to Pioneer Days

GUYMON, Okla. – Troy Lerwill is a combination of things: athlete, daredevil and comedian.

It all comes together in the Oklahoma Panhandle the first weekend in May for the Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 1; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 2; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 3, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena.

“Troy is one of the funniest guys out there, not just in rodeo,” said Pete Carr, owner of Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, a Dallas-based livestock firm that serves as the primary stock contractor in Guymon. “I try to get him as often as I can, because he brings a whole new dimension to each show. He’s the best entertainer in rodeo because of how he handles the crowd.

Troy Lerwill makes a jump during his act while performing at the 2012 Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days. He returns to the Oklahoma Panhandle this May, and the fans are ready. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

Troy Lerwill makes a jump during his act while performing at the 2012 Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days. He returns to the Oklahoma Panhandle this May, and the fans are ready. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

“Then you add his motorcycle act into the mix, and it’s just over-the-top. Everybody wants to come back the next day just to see it again.”

The motorcycle act involves Lerwill’s alter-ego, “The Wild Child,” who jumps a Bloomer trailer and a Ram pickup in a showcase of comedy mixed with athleticism.

“It’s funny every time I see it,” said Ken Stonceipher, the production manager for Pioneer Days Rodeo. “There’s just something magical in that entire act.”

It’s the magic that has been on display at Hitch Arena before. Fans in the Oklahoma Panhandle have been asking about Lerwill’s return, so the rodeo committee and Carr made sure he is part of this year’s showcase.

“For one, he’s a great funnyman,” said Jesse James Kirby, one of the top saddle bronc riders in the country. “He’s also a great motorcyclist. He can do things on that motorbike that you can’t even imagine people doing. It’s just really great, and he’s a great entertainer.

“On top of that, Troy is just a good person to be around. You can tell he’s doing something he enjoys doing. He puts on a show and makes it look good.”

That happens nationwide. Lerwill is one of the most celebrated acts in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. He’s been the barrelman at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo three times, has twice been named the Coors Man in the Can, and he’s been named the PRCA Act of the Year six times.

All those awards are nice, but what makes Lerwill one of the most sought-after entertainers in rodeo is what he does in the arena – in addition to his fantastic daredevil act, the Payson, Utah, man has the timing of a comedic genius.

It comes quite naturally to Lerwill, the son of a roper who grew up going to rodeos in Utah and Colorado with his father. Though he never competed, Troy Lerwill was hooked … even if it took a few years for him to realize it.

“I had a Shetland pony growing up, and I always like horses,” Lerwill said. “I roped with my dad when I was little, but I always wanted a motorcycle.”

His parents realized he was pretty good at maneuvering the machine and began taking him to desert races. By the time he was 12, Lerwill was excelling at motocross.

“It just evolved from there,” he said.

Racing was a big part of Lerwill’s life for a long time. But at age 24, Lerwill had begun riding mountain bikes through the Utah trails instead of the motorized ones over the quick jumps and turns of motocross. Through all that, he found a new rush: Bullfighting. The rodeo arena was drawing him back. He went to a bullfighting school, and a new career was born.

“I got my PRCA card in 1993,” he said. “I started doing the comedy stuff in ’95.”

It didn’t take long for Lerwill to step up his game. He has become one of the most sought-after acts in ProRodeo, and there’s good reason.

“People just love to watch Troy, because he’s that good,” Carr said. “He can bring people to your rodeo to see what he can do; that’s a true entertainer.”

For Lerwill, life is about reaching out to people and sharing his passion for the rodeo way of life. He may go about it in different terms than most cowboys, but there is a distinct passion involved in everything he does.

“I really don’t want the Western heritage and lifestyle, and the tradition of cowboy to go away, and I want young people to enjoy it like I did,” Lerwill said. “Rodeo is a huge chunk of our history.

“Even though I take a motorcycle to a rodeo and do a stunt, I hope it makes fans of people and they come back.”

postheadericon Teen finds a Royal passion

KANSAN CLAY ECKERT UTILIZES CALF SCRAMBLE WIN TO PUSH FORWARD IN LIVESTOCK SHOWING

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Clay Eckert appears to be the typical freshman at Hutchinson (Kan.) High School.

He is active, possibly more than many 15-year-olds. Instead of spending his off time playing video games, the young man has opted for a little more work showing livestock. It’s paid off.

Clay Eckert

Clay Eckert

In the fall of 2013, Clay was part of the American Royal Calf Scramble, where students ages 10-14 have to opportunity to catch and halter a young heifer during the Royal’s ProRodeo. He was one of the winners, earning a $1,250 voucher to purchase a heifer of his choosing in order to start a beef operation.

“I’ve learned so much, from taking care of things to how to be responsible,” said Clay, who also competes in football, basketball and track for the Salthawks. “I’m so involved with things I can’t get into trouble.”

But he isn’t a farm kid who was raised around agriculture. He’s chosen to follow a family tradition, even though it means traveling 30 minutes three to four days a week to neighboring McPherson County to the Goering Farm, where Greg, Tammy, Taylor and Trenton Goering have been instrumental in Clay’s passion for raising livestock. Taylor Goering has shown at the American Royal and has served as Clay’s mentor.

“Taylor and her family have helped me so much with everything,” Clay said. “I was, and still am very lucky to get hooked up with them.”

So did that American Royal voucher. Clay raised his heifer, then showed her during the 2014 American Royal Calf Scramble Show. The animal was named the supreme heifer, and Clay was the champion senior showman among his Calf Scramble peers.

“About two weeks ago, which is the whole purpose of the program, my heifer had her first calf, so it’s going back into the herd,” he said.

The young man began the lifestyle by following in the footsteps of his father, Bret Eckert, a longtime track coach at Hutch High who still teaches and is an assistant coach for the football program.

“I started because my dad showed sheep,” Clay said. “I won sheep showmanship, and I got to be in the round-robin, so I got to work with cows.”

The progression has been thorough and award-winning. Not many can claim to such a prestigious title from the American Royal, one of the largest and best known livestock shows in the United States.

But that, in essence, is what the Royal is about. Over the course of each year, the association provides more than $1.4 million in support of youth and agriculture. By being involved in the Calf Scramble, Clay has taken advantage of the opportunities.

“My experience with the American Royal has helped me in many ways,” he said. “It’s helped me get to know so many great people, and I’m learning new things every day.

“You have to work for what you get. It’s hard to do school and sports and showing, but it’s what I choose to do so I try to make it work.”

postheadericon Herl, Miller win at Kansas State

ALVA, Okla. – Laine Herl was dominant in his return to Kansas this past weekend.

Herl, of Goodland, Kan., won the steer wrestling championship at the Kansas State University Rodeo in Manhattan, Kan., taking the top prize among four Northwestern Oklahoma State University bulldoggers in the final round.

Northwestern-Logo-200“I drew a good steer in the first round and was 4.0,” Herl said. “I came back and had a steer that ran a little more and was 4.4.”

It paid off well. The Kansas cowboy finished second in the first round to teammate Tyler Batie, who scored a 3.8-second run to win the opener. He shared the fastest time in the short round with Denver Berry of Connors (Okla.) State College. His two-run time of 8.4 seconds was nearly a second faster than Berry, the runner-up.

“I just need to keep throwing them down, draw good and make the best run possible,” Herl said. “I want to make every short-go and make a run at the college finals.”

He transferred to Northwestern from Western Oklahoma State College, and he’s found the Alva campus to his liking. He now has the tutelage of coach Stockton Graves, a Northwestern alumnus who qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo seven times, and Kody Woodward, also a winning bulldogger.

“There’s nobody better to practice with,” Herl said of the coaching staff. “They’ve been there and done that. They know every situation to help you, the little things to make you better.”

Herl and Batie were joined in the short round by fellow steer wrestlers Steven Culling and James Struxness and heelers Dustin Searcy and William Whayne. Searcy, roping with Western Oklahoma’s Hunter Munsell, won the first round with a 5.4-second run.

The Northwestern women were led by goat-tier Shayna Miller of Faith, S.D., who shared the K-State victory with Shelby Whiting of Garden City (Kan.) Community College.

“My first run was kind of sloppy, but I got through it and got to another one,” said Miller, who shared identical scores with Whiting all weekend; both women had 6.2-second runs to finish out of the placing in the opening round, then were 6.0 to share the short-round and average victories. “In the short round, I just made another solid run.”

She earned 110 points in Manhattan and moved into the lead in the Central Plains Region goat-tying standings. She was joined in the short round by fellow goat-tier Karley Kile, whose 5.6 was good enough for second place in the opening round; breakaway roper Elli Price, who placed third; and barrel racers Shea Ransome and Kelsey Driggers. Driggers won the first round with a 12.00-second run, but Ransome finished second in the average.

“I feel like we (as a team) are pretty stacked up, especially in goat-tying,” Miller said, noting that the Rangers women lead the region standings with five events remaining in the season. “We’ve got good ropers and good barrel horses, so I feel like we could definitely win the region.”

postheadericon Smith ready to wrestle for $1 million

Garrett Smith has overcome a lack of size to qualify for the $1 million prize at The American, set for 2 p.m. Sunday on RFD-TV. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Garrett Smith has overcome a lack of size to qualify for the $1 million prize at The American, set for 2 p.m. Sunday on RFD-TV. (CHYANNE ANGELL FLINDERS PHOTO)

ARLINGTON, Texas – Garrett Smith has a million reasons to be excited about his spot in The American.

The one-day rodeo – set for 2 p.m. Sunday at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington – will offers a $2 million purse, of which half will go to one of just a handful of qualifiers. That’s where Smith comes into the picture.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Smith, 19, of Rexburg, Idaho, who secured his spot in The American this past weekend by finishing among the top six steer wrestlers at the semifinals in Fort Worth, Texas. “I honestly never thought I’d get to run two steers for a million dollars.”

It’s quite an accomplishment, especially for the all-around cowboy who is 5-foot-9 and weighs about 155 pounds. He’s considerably smaller than most steer wrestlers, but he also spends a portion of his time riding bulls on the rodeo trail. Before finishing among the top 50 bull riders in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association last season, he was the only three-time all-around champion at the National High School Finals Rodeo.

Garrett Smith

Garrett Smith

“No one has really ridden bulls in my family, so I’ve taken that as my own event,” said Smith, whose older brother, Wyatt, was a steer wrestling qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo this past December. “I just fell in love with bull riding. I went real hard last year. I started doing both events this year because Wyatt wanted me to travel with him.”

Garrett Smith’s plan is to be a two-event cowboy through late June, then he will decide which discipline he will focus on to close out the 2015 season. First, though, he has a life-changing opportunity before him as a bulldogger.

The American features 10 contestants in each event that finished among the top of their disciplines in 2014. In all but bull riding, which utilizes the top 10 from the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series, the automatic qualifiers were the top cowboys and cowgirls from ProRodeo. Seven earned exemptions.

The rest of the field is based on qualifiers, all of whom worked their way through a series of events nationwide. Only the top contestants from each of those events advanced to the semifinals last weekend, and only the top finishers from that competition moved on to Sunday. Only qualifiers have a shot at that $1 million purse. If one qualifier wins – like bareback rider Richmond Champion did last spring – then the entire purse is his. If multiple qualifiers win, the $1 million is divided equally among them.

That plays well into Garrett Smith’s hands. He doesn’t let his lack of size serve as a deterrent. As an example, he 65 pounds lighter than his brother and 80 pounds lighter than reigning world champion Luke Branquinho. That means Garrett Smith must have sound horsemanship and use proper technique every run.

“I’ve got to do more stuff correct,” Smith said. “I just focus on being sharp with everything I do. Wyatt can get away with stuff if he doesn’t do everything right because of his size. I can’t get away with that.”

Still, he takes all the lessons his brother offers. In fact, Wyatt Smith will be alongside little brother on the AT&T Stadium floor Sunday afternoon, serving as the hazer. It’s something the siblings have done for one another most of their lives. It happened on the biggest stage in rodeo this past December in Las Vegas.

Wyatt Smith was struggling at the NFR. After not placing in the money in the opening round, he failed to catch and throw down steers the next four nights and made a change prior to the sixth go-round: he moved Garrett to the hazing duties to finish out the NFR. Wyatt then posted a 3.6-second run in Round 6 to finish second and a 4.4 to place sixth in Round 7. He finished with $18,000 in NFR earnings.

“I’ve always hazed for him at practice and some of the smaller rodeos,” Garrett said of teaming with Wyatt. “It surprised me, but I just tried to do my job.

“There’s no way to explain the emotions I had. I went through about three pieces of gum from the time we started saddling horses until we backed in the box. It was breathtaking. You know you can’t mess up on your end.”

He didn’t. Most importantly, he took the lessons from that NFR experience and placed it firmly into his hands as an undersized bulldogger. In Fort Worth, he won $6,400, most of which he will use toward traveling expenses and entry fees. It’s the nature of the business for a rodeo cowboy.

Of course, he plans to splurge a little of it on a new PlayStation to help occupy his time on the rodeo trail as he and the rest of the Recking Crew travels tens of thousands of miles across the country chasing their dreams.

“We travel so much, and you need something to entertain you in the rig,” said Garrett, who said his parents, Lynn and Valorie, didn’t allow Wyatt, Garrett or brother Payson to have video games as youngsters. “We were pretty much outside all the time, going to rodeos with Dad or riding horses.

“I’m glad they didn’t let us have one. It’s dang sure a lot more fun to go ride horses.”

That mentality has paved the way to an unstoppable work ethic. The Smiths realize hard work pays off in rodeo. They also know it takes great support.

“I have to hand it to Idaho Project Filter for helping me get down the road and for helping all of Idaho stay off tobacco,” Garrett said. “It’s great to have them with us so we can teach people that smoking and chewing tobacco is not the Marlboro Man anymore.”

He carries a powerful message from one rodeo to another. He also has a boatload of talent and perseverance to make it work.

“Ever since I was little, I wanted to make the NFR in bull riding,” he said. “With The American, I’ve been practicing pretty hard in bulldogging to where when I get there I know I’m ready and able to go.”