Flash Staff Report
(February 8, 2016) — A pair of local cowboys won average titles at the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show Rodeo in Fort Worth over the weekend.
Tie-down roper Ryle Smith won $15,372 and the buckler in the tie-down roping, using 25.6 seconds to rope and tie three head. He was second in the second round and won the finals in 7.5 seconds.
“It’s huge to win Fort Worth. It’s always kind of been a dream I had ever since I went to college at Tarleton,” said Smith, a 2009 TSU graduate. “I remember my freshman year of college we went over and watched the slack, and Irealized then that it’s a big deal with a lot of tradition. It’s an old rodeo and it pays a lot. I think anyone who rodeos in Texas wants to win Fort Worth.”
Smith called the victory a big confidence booster.
“It kind of relieves a lot of pressure, I guess. This time of year the rodeos are few and far between,” Smith pointed out. “There are only a handful of rodeos the next six weeks, so if you don’t win one of those few, it can make it a long winter. To be able to win big at really my first big rodeo of the year is hue and does good for me in the standings and makes me want to keep rolling.”
He will slow that roll for a few days before competing in San Angelo Feb. 12-13 and San Antonio Feb. 14-15. The biggest dates on his calendar, though, are Feb. 18-21 back in Fort With for the RFD-TV The American semifinals.
“Right now the ultimate goal is to be in Dallas on the 28th of February roping for a million,” he said.
Paul Eaves, a Huckabay heeler, joined partner Clay Smith in winning the Fort Worth team roping average at 14.9 seconds on three head. They won the second round and placed fifth in the finals, earning a total of $12,493.
Ryan Watkins of Bluff Dale placed third in the tie-down average and earned a total of $7,868 at the rodeo. Dublin header Blaine Vic and Morgan Mill heeler Dakota Kirchenschlager teamed up for third in the team roping average and won $6,561 each. Sterling Crawley was eighth in the saddle bronc average.