To be fair, nobody would have guessed the 2020 season would pan out like it has.
“It’s been weird,” said Smidt, the 2015 and 2018 tie-down roping world champion. “It’s dang-sure one we have never experienced, but I’m just glad to get to some rodeos and hope to make the Finals.”
Smidt knows the route to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and has followed it well with more than $1.3 million in career earnings and six NFR qualifications (2013, 2015-19) since his rookie year in 2012.
On July 22, Smidt moved from 16th to 15th in the world standings and followed that with a win at the Deadwood (S.D.) Days of ’76 Rodeo that launched him seven spots to eighth.
“It feels really good,” Smidt said. “It’s where we all want to be, and it’s dang sure been a very odd year.”
The Texas cowboy tied for fourth in the first round and placed fourth in the second round to claim the average with 16.4 seconds on two head in Deadwood. The 30-year-old cowboy credited his horse, Pockets, for the $7,463 win.
“He’s the same horse I’d had for five years,” Smidt said of the 13-year-old, American Quarter Horse gelding. “I don’t know if he’s getting better, but he’s dang sure not getting worse. He makes my job easy, and I give him a lot of credit for my success.”
Smidt’s keeping the Deadwood fire burning as he heads to the Dodge City (Kan.) Roundup Rodeo, and for good reason. Smidt won Dodge City’s tie-down roping in 2015 and 2018 and claimed the all-around in 2013.
“This win means a lot, and it put me where I needed to be for these last few weeks at some decent rodeos,” Smidt said. “Going from not being able to rope for about three months with no rodeos and then winning one check a week, this gives me a lot of confidence going into it.”
Having fewer rodeos than normal on the summer schedule means more cowboys at the ones that are happening and no flexibility in scheduling.
“It’s definitely different, but I’m just glad we can go somewhere,” Smidt said. “There are a lot of guys that enter. Some rodeos that normally would only get 50 guys are getting 150. Everyone is wanting to get out and go somewhere, so they (rodeos) are getting the guys.”
With one month left until his 31st birthday and two months left in the regular season, Smidt intends to have cause to celebrate at the end of August and the end of September.
“I’ll be at every one they have,” Smidt said. “You can’t be picky this year, you have to go to all of them.”
Courtesy of PRCA