Definition of a Cowboy (Down the Line, Stran Smith)

Once again Calgary proves why they are the best and able to draw the biggest crowd in rodeo, with the exception of Las Vegas. From a contestant’s view point Calgary rolls out the red carpet. We get the chance to compete for $100,000, we get reserved parking, our stalls bedded down and each receive $1,000 when we get there. Calgary draws phenomenal crowds by showcasing the best competition and using the best livestock available, making many new fans in the process.

After a disappointing Fourth of July run, it was nice to go to Calgary and stay in one place for a week, after traveling like a mad man. I compare it to a working vacation where you get a chance to win a lot of money. Between the rodeo and the invitational jackpot I won about $20,000.

The big winner at Calgary was Jeff Chapman. Times got pretty tough and towards the end, on Wild Card Saturday it took a 7.0-second run or faster to make the top ten finalists. The final four were Jeff Chapman, Cody Ohl, Dean Edge and Blair Burke. Jeff and Cody were both 6.9 during the final four, and since they don’t split there, they had to rope it off. Cody went first and his calf ducked off causing him to miss. Jeff went on to rope his and won the $100,000 with Cody winning about $35,000.

As nice as it is at Calgary, the real world keeps on spinning and during that week I slipped in the standings. Now it’s back to reality where I need to make about two rodeos a day through August.

Because of the popularity of Calgary with both the fans and the contestants there are rumors flying about some of the bigger PRCA rodeos wanting to follow suit. My hope is that if they do – they do it all the way. All that added money is great, but not if they load it all to the first place winners. If they’ll follow the example set at Calgary they should be very successful.

In the next couple of weeks the top fifteen, plus five more invited, will head back to Joplin, Missouri for the second annual Best of the Best tie down roping put on by Jackie Moore. This roping just keeps getting better as this year they are adding $80,000. I expect the winner will walk away with close to $50,000.

Everyone wants to know if the fuel prices have reduced the number of contestants this summer. Not so far as I can see, but some guys will go to Cheyenne and then decide whether or not to keep going, so the fall rodeos may fall off some.

Actually people at home talk more about fuel prices than we do out here on the road. It’s a credit to the sport. After all, what’s the definition of a cowboy? Adapt and overcome. Its just part of it.

God Bless and I’ll see you down the line.