Caleb Smidt won his first tie-down roping world title last year moving from sixth place in the world standings to first after earning $154,904 at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. (NFR) The Bellville, Texas, resident came through the ranks of high school and college rodeo and was crowned all-around champion at the 2010 College National Finals Rodeo. He qualified for his first NFR in 2013 and then had to sit out most of the 2014 season. He was at home practicing on a steer wrestling machine which broke and went one way, Caleb’s leg went the other. He had a compound fracture that took two surgeries to fix. He probably won’t ever compete in steer wrestling, but will be competing in the team roping at most of the rodeos he goes to in 2016.
Favorite movie: 8 Seconds – It’s a rodeo movie that kind of tells how things are on the road. And it’s kind of how it is on the road – fun when you go with your friends
Favorite current TV show: ESPN SportsCenter
Dogs or cats: Dogs for sure. My wife has a Maltipoo named Prince. She got him a year before we got married and he’s pretty cool.
Favorite dessert: Chocolate chip cookies – don’t do much dessert, I’m a meat and potatoes guy. I’d eat steak and mashed potatoes every night if I could do it.
Favorite board game: I can’t tell you the last board game I played.
Favorite sport, other than rodeo: Football. I like the Houston Texans and am a big J.J. Watt fan. I appreciate everything he does for football, fans, community and kids. He’s a great role model and is very good at what he does.
If you weren’t in rodeo, what would you be doing: I’d be involved in the cattle industry, probably have a bunch of cows (at least a couple hundred to make a living at it). Caleb received his bachelor’s degree in ag business from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas in 2013.
Best childhood memory: When I was 14 or 15, I won Roy Cooper’s roping event. I roped 21 calves. It was an all-night deal, I didn’t miss any or break any barriers and won my first horse trailer.
Best gift you ever received: Probably going to get it in the next couple of days. Caleb and his wife Brenna welcomed their first child Cru Tatum into the family a few days after this interview.
Favorite thing you like about Las Vegas: The money we get to rope for. Last year I wanted it to be over after the fifth round. I was winning the average, winning the world and I just wanted it to be over. I’m just thankful that the end result was the same.
Historical figure you’d most like to meet: John Wayne – always watched his movies. He starred in some of the best westerns ever filmed. He’s The Duke. It would be cool to meet him one day.
What do you like to do in your spare time: Practice – watch SportsCenter and spend time with the family. My wife and I like to hang out and talk about what we used to do when we dated back in junior high school. I also like to go snow skiing and if I lived closer to the mountains, I would go all the time. I play a little basketball as well.
My role model is: Trevor Brazile – He’s a good guy and does a lot for the sport. I like the way he ropes and rides his horses. He does it really correct. I copy a lot of the stuff that he does. I like watching him as much now as I did when I was 10 years old and started watching him.
What would people be surprised to learn about you: That I hate to travel and I wish all the rodeos were near Bellville.
Best travel partner: Justin Maass – I lived at his house my rookie year and rodeoed with him. He’s always positive and tries to make me better, even more than himself. He has more confidence in me than I have in myself. He’s my coach, my mentor and my friend. He told me years ago that I’d win a gold buckle really soon and I never believed him.
Best Thing about being a dad – I’m about to find out!
Music – George Strait.
Favorite Horse – Pockets, a nine year old bay gelding that I bought a year ago. I rode him at San Antonio right after I bought him. He came from Ian Wells, from Wyoming. He’s huge, fat and very athletic. He’s a big pet who loves treats. He is always in your pockets looking for them. Pockets’ registered name is Pocketful of Light.
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