Patrick Smith Back in the Mack

Dec 4, 2022

Patrick Smith Back in the Mack

By Patrick Everson

It’s been seven years since Patrick Smith last qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. But it hasn’t taken long for him to regain that winning form.

On Saturday night, Smith and team roping partner Tanner Tomlinson clocked a smoking 3.6 seconds to win the second go-round and $28,914 apiece. Smith – who first qualified in 2003, then made it every year from 2005-15 – had a feeling it would come back to him quickly.

“I knew I’d have a chance to win some go-rounds with Tanner,” Smith said.

Indeed, the 42-year-old Smith has a partner half his age – well, almost half his age, in 22-year-old Tomlinson – and the combo of veteran heeler/young-gun header is really coming together.

“It works because Tanner is really fast at what he does, and I’ve been around long enough that if I catch and then let him show off, we’ll be fast enough,” the deferential Smith said.

But Tomlinson was having none of it, giving much credit to his seasoned partner.

“It’s been a blessing. Patrick has taught me so much to start off my career,” Tomlinson said. “I really want to win a world title and get one more for him before he retires.”

Smith said retirement was on his mind – until he got together with Tomlinson these past two seasons. Now? Well, he won’t riding off into the sunset too soon.

“Tanner is gonna prolong my retirement,” Smith said. “I’ve got a good partner and a good horse. I’ve got a few more good years in me.”

Heck, he’s got a good week in him right now. When the Wrangler NFR opened Thursday night, he was sixth in the heeler standings and Tomlinson was fifth among headers, with both at $117,368 in season earnings. On Friday night, the twosome split third and fourth to pocket another $14,690 apiece.

Add in Saturday’s fat first-place check, and Smith and Tomlinson now sit fourth in the world, at $160,972. Furthermore, they gone 3-for-3, roping all three head thus far, so they’re sitting second in the average, which could lead to a huge paycheck at the end of the week.

First in the average pays out $74,150 apiece, which can make up a lot of ground in the world standings come Day 10. But the savvy Smith knows better than to look that far ahead.

“We’re just gonna keep making our runs and let them add it up at the end.”

Patrick Smith, who’s back at the NFR after a six-year absence and got the go-round win tonight. Smith and team roping partner Tanner Tomlinson after their Round 3 win. Tanner is on the left, Patrick on the right. | Photo By: Patrick Everson