photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen

I give myself maybe five minutes to get over it.

by Caleb Smidt

St. Paul didn’t go so well. In fact, it was mildly frustrating to terrible. It’s not an easy rodeo, but it’s one of the best. I roped yesterday. They had big, strong, fresh calves. I did okay on my first one, a solid 10.3. But on the second calf, I broke the barrier. I gave myself maybe five minutes to get over it. You’ve got to shake off disappointment, or it will ruin your whole mindset for the entire Fourth run. I didn’t do what I should’ve done—on to the next.

Most guys are out here trying to go to as many rodeos as they can, I’m not. For the past couple of years I’ve only gone to the bigger rodeos, like Cody, Livingston, St. Paul, Greeley. If I have the chance to win five to ten thousand, I’m going. If it’s only a couple thousand, I’m not. Instead of ten to fifteen rodeos, I might go to seven.

I don’t want to be taking red eye flights, catching charter planes, and running on zero sleep. I’m not as sharp, and it’s harder on my horses to travel like that. I don’t want to show up and feel like I’m too tired to swing a rope. That might work for other guys, but I have my own approach to the craziness.

I pretty much drive everywhere. I ride my own horses. I think that’s better for them. I know how they’re feeling, eating, drinking. I don’t have to worry about them, because I’m taking care of them. I’ve had really good Fourth of July runs with that approach in recent years. I’m going to keep with that game plan for the foreseeable future.

I love the Fourth run—love it! My wife and kids flew in yesterday, and they’ll be with me the rest of the summer. We just drove across North Dakota clocking ninety miles-per-hour, and I don’t think we saw anything for about eighty miles. So different from Texas. It’s beautiful country—and much cooler than Texas this time of year! Disappointment doesn’t last long out here.



After my disappointment in St. Paul yesterday morning, I flew to Greeley for last night’s short round. I don’t like to fly much, like I said, but sometimes you can’t help it. And sometimes it’s worthwhile. Like last night. I tied for first in the round and won the average. Added nearly nine thousand to my winnings. That’s why you have to shake off a disappointment like St. Paul. Redemption might be just around the corner.

Keep up with all the action during the Fourth of July run HERE.

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Caleb Smidt