COUNTDOWN

I’m Just Blessed to Be Here

Dec 12, 2021

I’m Just Blessed to Be Here

By Patrick Everson

When it comes to winning PRCA gold buckles for a season’s worth of very hard work, it’s very often about what you’ve done all year long. But as with other sports, you also need some breaks to fall your way.

Caleb Smidt and Shane Hanchey were locked in a tight tie-down roping battle throughout the season-ending Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Entering Round 10, Hanchey led Smidt in the world standings by less than $4,000, and Hanchey and Smidt were also 1-2 in the lucrative NFR average race.

But Smidt delivered a 7.8-second time to take fourth place Saturday night and get a check for $11,321. And when Hanchey drew a tough calf that presented all sorts of problems, leading to a no-time, Smidt moved into first in the average and thereby clinched his third world championship.

“I drew great calves all week. It was awesome,” said Smidt, who added to the gold buckles he won in 2015 and 2018 – seasons in which he also won the NFR average, just as he did this year.

Smidt cashed in eight of 10 go-rounds over these past 10 days, winning on the third night and splitting second and third on Nights 4 and 5. He had a total elapsed time of 83.1 seconds on 10 head to land the $69,234 first-place average check, and he finished with total season winnings of $318,456 to grab the gold buckle.

“There was lots of praying this week, and God came through in all 10 rounds. I’m just blessed to be here,” Smidt said.

Haven Meged finished second in the world tie-down standings at $296,162, while Hanchey ended up fourth at $248,218.