Caleb Smidt, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s 2015 world champion tie-down roper, finished as the highest money earner during Cowboy Christmas, the time of the season when there was an abundance of higher paying rodeos either on or very near July 4.
Smidt, who is from Bellville, pocketed $30,199 in tie-down roping throughout Cowboy Christmas.
Smidt also came fairly close to roper Shane Hanchey’s single-event, timed-event Cowboy Christmas record of $32,293 in earnings, which was set in 2016.
According to prorodeo.com, $969,396 was up for grabs at 23 PRCA Cowboy Christmas rodeos across North America.
Smidt’s larger checks were at the Greeley (Colo.) Stampede, the Cody (Wyo.) Stampede and the World’s Oldest Rodeo in Prescott, Ariz. Smidt earned $9,802 in Greeley and pocketed $9,475 at Cody by splitting first place with Sterling Smith as each recorded 7.7-second times. He added another $6,274 at Prescott.
After faring well at three of the larger Cowboy Christmas rodeos, Smidt was ranked No. 1 in both the PRCA’s world all-around and tie-down roping standings last week.
In the 2017 PRCA all-around title race, Smidt was ranked No. 1 with $109,767. Tuf Cooper, a three-time world champion from Weatherford, was No. 2 with $86,844.
In tie-down roping race, Smidt was ranked No. 1 with $101,117. Marcos Costa, a Brazilian who lives in Childress was ranked No. 2 with $88,162.
Team roping partners Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira each pocketed $26,540 during the Cowboy Christmas run. They were the second highest money earners.
Driggers, an Albany, Ga., cowboy, was ranked No. 1 in the team roping heading title race with $85,294. Nogueira, a Brazilian who lives in Burleson, was ranked No. 1 in the team roping heeling world standings with $85,294.
Death of a legend: Winston Bruce, a former saddle bronc riding champion and a member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, passed away on July 10. He was 79.
According to the PRCA, Bruce qualified for the National Finals Rodeo 10 consecutive times, from 1959-68. His career was highlighted by his winning the 1961 saddle bronc riding world title. He also was the reserve world champion in 1959 and 1965.
Bruce was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1989, becoming the first Canadian competitor to receive that honor. He also was inducted in the Canadian Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1995, and the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame &Museum in 1998.
Cutting horse update: The National Cutting Horse Association Summer Spectacular, which features the third jewel of the sport’s Triple Crown Series, is scheduled for today through Aug. 6 in Fort Worth.
The third jewel of the Triple Crown is the 4-year-old (horses) open division finals, which is scheduled for Aug. 6. The other two jewels were the December Futurity (open finals) and the April Super Stakes (open finals). All three jewels traditionally are conducted at Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.
Calgary Stampede: The Calgary Stampede in Alberta concluded its 10-day run on Sunday afternoon with a 10-man semifinal round and a four-man final round. The winner in each event during Sunday’s four-man final received $100,000 (Canadian).
Saddle bronc rider Audy Reed of Spearman fell short in his attempt to qualify for Sunday’s championship performance because he did not earn enough money in the Pool A prelim performances on July 7-10 and then did not score high enough during the wild card round on July 15.
However, Reed earned $4,000 during the July 7-10 performances.
Zeke Thurston, an Alberta cowboy, earned a coveted $100,000 check on Sunday (July 16) as the result of clinching the saddle bronc riding title with a final round score of 92.
Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than three decades. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.