Posted: Jul 18, 2012 2:09 PM by Scott Breen - Q2 Sports
SHERIDAN, Wyo. - If Tyrell Smith had an utterly discouraging Cowboy Christmas - three concussions and a broken axle on his car pretty much saw to that - the Montana cowboy found the perfect way to cheer himself up the following week.
Call it Cowboy New Year's.
Like some modern day Horace Tabor, Smith made a fortune mining silver - earning big checks at all three of the weekend's Wrangler Million Dollar Silver Tour rodeos presented by Justin Boots - plus a win in Wolf Point, Mont.
It was like New Year's Eve every night with some new triumph to celebrate, topped by his win at the Sheridan WYO Rodeo with an 89-point ride on Sankey Rodeo Company's Shining Mountain.
"It made up for a pretty bad Fourth," Smith said. "I missed Livingston (Mont.) all together when my car broke down on the side of the road, and I only made about $1,000 all week after traveling to Prescott (Ariz.), Cody (Wyo.), Red Lodge (Mont.), Molalla (Ore.), Oakley City (Utah) and Eugene (Ore.). I just couldn't seem to put anything together and I kept banging my head.
"I came off pretty hard in Lehi (Utah) and bounced my head off the ground. That wasn't too bad. I did it again in Oakley City and that one kind of scattered my chickens. The landing in Eugene was the worst. I can truthfully say I don't remember a whole lot about being in Eugene."
And still, Smith was utterly undeterred. His head cleared, his dad (two-time NFR qualifier John E.S. Smith) helped him find an axle and he climbed into traveling partner Bryan Martinat's Cadillac ("riding in class," Smith said) for what would prove to be perhaps the best week of his professional career.
In addition to the win in Sheridan, Smith also tied Cort Scheer for first place at the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo in Colorado Springs, Colo., and finished fourth at the Central Wyoming Fair & PRCA Rodeo in Casper, Wyo.
With Wolf Point, his weekend tally was five rides in five tries for scores of 77, 83, 83, 84 and that 89 in Sheridan. It all added up to earnings of $11,896, moving him from 38th in the world standings to 19th.
"We found a used axle, but it was still a little bit pricy," Smith said, "so this (success) sure did come at a dang good time. Most of that money is actually going to go towards getting a new rig to take on the road and make our lives a little easier."
This one big week has also got him back to thinking about making another charge for a Wrangler National Finals Rodeo bid despite a late start.
Smith missed nearly four months of competition this year after tearing ligaments in his left ankle at the February 2-4 SW District Fat Stock Show & Rodeo in Lake Charles, La., and he didn't return until the May 25-28 Pony Express Days Rodeo in Eagle Mountain, Utah.
"Going after a spot in the NFR is really kind of the only reason you start off on the road every year," Smith said. "Injuries have made it hard for me (A year ago he finished 18th in the world, missing the last qualifying spot by just $2,173), and with the late start I got this year, it has made it more difficult.
"This gives me hope and I'll keep going after it, trying to make a living at it, at least. I helped out at the family ranch and did rehab while I was off the road. I hadn't sat at home that long in a very long time. I was getting a little stir crazy. I was really happy when I could finally get back on the road. I think my whole family was happy to see me go. Was I restless? Oh, yeah, big time."
The other champions at the Sheridan County Arena were bareback rider Kaycee Feild (86 points), steer wrestler Matt Reeves (8.8 seconds on two head), team ropers Clay Tryan and Travis Graves (10.3 seconds), tie-down roper Cody Ohl (17.4 seconds on two head), steer roper Rocky Patterson (46.7 seconds on four head), bull rider Brett Stall (87 points) and barrel racer Brittany Pozzi (17.21 seconds).