It’s rodeo’s version of a multi-sport star.
The All-Around Cowboy award.
Oakdale’s Ryle Smith has been to dozens of rodeos around the country and won All-Around Cowboy, taking home trophies, a belt buckle, even a prized rifle for winning the award.
He was in contention for All-Around Cowboy from the 103rd annual Clovis Rodeo, too, as four days of rodeo action came to a close Sunday at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds.
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Smith reached the finals in steer wrestling and competed in tie down roping.
You can’t just be a good basketball player – you’ve got to be a good baseball player, too.
Ryle Smith of the All-Around Cowboy award
“You can’t just be a good basketball player – you’ve got to be a good baseball player, too,” Smith said of his All-Around Cowboy awards. “That’s why I take pride in it.
“You kind of have to be versatile. It costs more to compete in two events, but I usually end up winning more.”
Smith’s struggles in his earlier event, steer wrestling, however, ended up just costing him the all-around award. Instead, Smith finished runner-up as the Clovis Rodeo All-Around Cowboy with Trell Etbauer winning the award.
Nonetheless, Smith took home close to $3,500 for runner-up, as part of the Clovis Rodeo’s $400,000 prize money purse for the weekend.
“I always have good luck here,” Smith said of the Clovis Rodeo.
Smith, a five-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, knew he was in trouble going into the steer wrestling event.
The horse Smith usually has ridden was owned by a stock contract who took off to attend a different rodeo prior the cowboy’s ride Sunday afternoon.
Oakdale cowboy Ryle Smith took sixth in steer wrestling with a final time of 25.7 seconds. Steer wrestling winner Dakota E. Eldridge finished in 21.5 seconds.
So Smith had to ride a different horse for the first time and the unfamiliarity led to a slow start out of the gates. Plus, Smith had a trouble wrapping up and turning over the steer en route to a 7.5-second performance. He finished sixth overall with an time of 25.7 seconds over four rides.
By comparison, steer wrestling winner Dakota E. Eldridge won in 21.5 seconds over four rides.
“One of the biggest variables we have to deal with in steer wrestling is the start, how fast we can get out of the box without breaking the 10-second barrier,” Smith said. “Here, the steers run hard. It’s a big arena. So one inch late can mean a hundred more feet (by the steer).
“I missed the barrier (the most optimal time to jump from the horse toward the steer) a little bit. Took me a little longer. He got the upper hand on me.”
Smith also didn’t place in the top eight in tie-down roping.
But he left the Clovis Rodeo satisfied with his performance, anyway.
“Sometimes it’s the luck of the draw,” Smith said. “I love it here.”