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World champ roper Smith gets plenty of family support

Citizen Staff Writer



After 20 years of hard work and close calls, Stran Smith finally broke through in 2008.

In his 10th National Finals Rodeo appearance, he won his first world championship – and a coveted gold medal – in tie-down roping.

“I’ve been asked to describe it and I really haven’t found the word yet to really describe it,” said Smith, who had a 10.6-second performance in Sunday’s tie-down competition and will next compete during Friday’s performance. “I’ve had an amazing blessed career and for me to be able to get it like that, really, it couldn’t gone any better.”

Smith got the news that he was world champion from his wife, Jennifer Smith, a reporter for ESPN who was covering the NFR for the network.

“She was the one who told me and she really didn’t tell me with her words,” he said. “I saw her before she could say it. I could see with her expressions.”

The couple have been married for seven years and together for 15 years.

His wife has seen his struggles firsthand, including 2004, when he led the world rankings for most of the year only to place a disappointing second.

“She’s been doing this for as long as I’ve been doing this,” he said. “All the TV crew and everybody in the media and part of the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association), they’ve all been up and down with us.”

“They’ve seen it and lived it with us. All the different injuries, the close calls, all those things, all the heartbreak.

“And to see it come down like that and to be able to have it happen that way, everybody was in tears in the TV truck.”

This is Smith’s 15th consecutive year at the Tucson rodeo, an event he likes because it is one of the first outdoor rodeos of the year.

“Everything has been indoors, and it’s been cold,” he said, “and then you get to come to Tucson and sweat a little bit and get outside and enjoy the wide-open spaces.”

“I like the summer run, and this is the closest to a summer run in the middle of winter you can get.”

“I love Tucson.”


‘Everything has been indoors, and it’s been cold, and then you get to come to Tucson and sweat a little bit and get outside and enjoy the wide-open spaces.’


world champion roper

World champ roper Smith receives plenty of family support

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