Keeping it in the Family

Luke Smith, great-grandson of one of the founders of the St. Paul Rodeo, will sing the national anthem at the St. Paul Rodeo two of its six performances. The Salem, Ore. man is studying vocal performance at Portland State University.

St. Paul, Ore. (June 26, 2017) – They’re keeping it in the family at the St. Paul Rodeo.

The Smith family have been an integral part of the St. Paul Rodeo, beginning with the founders, among whom three of the eight were Smiths: Carl Smith, Maurice Smith, and Willie Smith, all brothers.

The Smith name is still found amongst St. Paul Rodeo people: Bill Smith (grandson of founder Willie Smith), Dave Smith, Kevin Smith, all cousins, are on the board of directors, and Smiths have peppered the volunteer and committee list since the rodeo began in 1935.

Now a Smith is singing the national anthem at the rodeo.

Luke Smith, who grew up in Salem, is the great-grandson of founder Carl Smith. He is the son of Leslie Smith, granddaughter of Carl.

Luke, 23 years old, is a student at Portland State University majoring in vocal performance. His uncle Scott Smith had told his relatives that Luke could sing, so they encouraged him to audition for the national anthem at the St. Paul Rodeo.

He did, and he will be singing the anthem prior to the rodeos on June 30 and the evening of July 4.

Carl Smith was one of eight founders of the St. Paul Rodeo in 1935. His great-grandson, Luke Smith, will sing the anthem at the St. Paul Rodeo for two of its six performances.

The St. Paul Rodeo isn’t the first event he has sung the anthem for. He has sung for high school sporting events, and for the opening meeting of the Oregon House of Representatives in 2017.

Even though the Smith family is steeped in rodeo tradition, Luke has never been to the St. Paul Rodeo. There will be a “dense array of firsts,” he said, and he is excited for them. It will be the first time for him to sing the anthem for such a large crowd, the first time to attend a rodeo, and the first time he’s worn a cowboy hat. He’ll buy a hat, as it’s fitting for the St. Paul Rodeo.

It’ll be a sort of a homecoming, and Luke looks forward to it. “It’s an honor for me to be so warmly welcomed.”

The St. Paul Rodeo runs June 30-July 4 and starts each night at 7:30 pm with a 1:30 pm matinee on July 4. Fireworks follow each night of the rodeo. Rodeo tickets, which range in price from $16 to $24, can be purchased online at and at the gate. For more information, visit the website.