For Caleb Smidt, the Cinch Roping Fiesta served as one final frantic push before a well-deserved opportunity to slow down.
And the Bellville, Texas, cowboy made the most of that sprint.
Propelled by a tone-setting win in the opening round, Smidt held off the rest of the tie-down roping field to win the average championship at 30.7 seconds on three head. Haven Meged was the next closest competitor at 32 seconds, making Smidt the lone cowboy to finish the two-day event with an aggregate time under 31 seconds.
“My first one was pretty good, didn’t really take off. That arena is huge and you dang sure can chase one a long way, but it didn’t really take off,” Smidt said. “It’s nothing out of the ordinary to get kicked, but all three of mine took the tie and wanted to cooperate, so that was good. My horse was good and strong and gave me good goes.”
Smidt finished his first go in 9.6 seconds to win the round, followed by a 10.6-second effort in the second round to place fifth. In the finals, he finished just outside of placing at 10.5 seconds, but his three-head total was more than enough to secure the victory.
All three of those runs took place on the same day as the top 12 competitors from the first two rounds come back for the finals just a few hours later. In all, the trip to San Angelo, Texas, was worth $11,251 towards his 2024 campaign.
More importantly, the competition was a chance for Smidt to get one final tune-up before his appearance in Las Vegas at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Teton Ridge in December.
The two-time defending PRCA Tie-Down Roping World Champion finished the 2023 regular season ranked seventh in the PRCA| RAM World Standings, with a little more than $133,000 in earnings for the year.
While other competitors might have rodeos still on their schedule over the coming weeks, Smidt is headed back home to rest and prepare for the NFR in a little over a month.
The chance to take a break after a long season is a good thing. The chance to go into that pause with some momentum certainly makes things even better.
“I don’t go to a whole lot of rodeos in October and November, I kind of just stay at the house. It’s just good to be able to go to a roping like this where you know all the good guys are and it can be pretty tough,” Smidt said. “To be able to draw good calves, make good runs and win a little money, it’s good for your confidence and just kind of keeps you motivated to keep roping and do as best as you can.”
Other winners at the $101,285 rodeo were steer roper Garrett Hale (41.3 seconds on three head).
Article Courtesy or PRCA
Photo by: Dave Jennings