AUSTIN, Texas – This is a birthday saddle bronc rider Chuck Schmidt will not soon forget.
The Keldron, S.D., cowboy registered an 89-point ride on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Killer Bee to win Rodeo Austin (March 14-28).
“He (Killer Bee) was pretty strong and he just flat bucked,” said Schmidt, who turned 27 on March 28. “I have never been on that horse before, and I was pretty dang nervous, and it worked out. This is about the best birthday present I have ever had.”
Schmidt pocketed $7,520 for his finals-winning ride, but he acknowledged he didn’t know what his score would be.
“I was just happy to make the whistle,” Schmidt said. “He was a hard horse to ride, and I was nowhere near perfect, but I was happy to ride him decently.”
Schmidt had to watch reigning world champion Spencer Wright and three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Tyler Corrington ride to see if his score would be victorious.
“Their rides happened so fast I really didn’t have time to think about it,” Schmidt said. “This is the biggest regular-season win I have ever had.”
Schmidt qualified for his lone WNFR in 2011, finishing 12th in the world standings.
In 2013, Schmidt’s PRCA career suffered a severe blow when he dislocated his C6 and C7 vertebrae in the base of his neck Aug. 30 at a rodeo in Okotoks, Alberta, when he was bucked off and landed on his head.
“That was my whole goal when I got hurt – to get back to where I was and try to be better,” said Schmidt, who finally returned to action in November 2014. “I’m just happy to be back and be around my friends – that is what means the most. My injury (to my neck) feels better. It just gets sore when I sleep on it wrong.”
Schmidt was fifth in the March 23 Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings, and is certain to move up after his Austin performance. Nonetheless, Schmidt realizes he has no time to relax.
“You can’t think about what you have done, you have to think about what is coming,” Schmidt said. “I can’t let my guard down because I’ve had a couple of good rodeos. I have to keep trying hard on every horse at every rodeo.”
Schmidt also won the Dixie National Rodeo Feb. 18 in Jackson, Miss., with an 88-point ride on Frontier Rodeo’s Short Stop.
Other winners at the $491,056 rodeo were bareback rider Clint Laye (88 points on Andrews Rodeo’s Power Play), steer wrestler Casey Martin (4.4 seconds), team ropers Derrick Begay and Clay O’Brien Cooper (5.0 seconds), tie-down ropers Randall Carlisle and Morgan Grant (8.0 seconds each) and barrel racer Michele McLeod (15.21 seconds).
Courtesy of PRCA