Courtesy of the PRCA media department.
LANCASTER, Calif. – Ryle Smith winning at the RAM California Circuit Finals Rodeo is becoming something of a tradition.
The 29-year-old tie-down roper from Oakdale, Calif., came out on top for the fifth time in six years at the Oct. 7-8 event, clocking an average time of 27.6 seconds on three head.
“It feels just as good as the first time,” Smith said. “This rodeo in particular has been good to me. I win more money in California, and some rodeos I go to during the year I always have good luck at. Fortunately, this is one of them, and the good luck seems to just carry over each year.”
As the last tie-down roper in line, Smith got to watch his competition and get a vibe for what he needed to do to gain and maintain the lead in the average.
“It’s a huge advantage to watch everything unfold in front of you, and you can play your cards right,” Smith said.
Smith left his competition in the dust during the first round with a 9.1-second run, clocking in more than two seconds ahead of the second-fastest time.
He kept up the pace in the second round, turning in his fastest time at the RCCFR – an 8.8.
“I had a pretty good calf, and stayed on the better end of the calves while I was here,” Smith said. “I thought I broke the barrier, but I tied him down and my horse was good all weekend. Everything lined up, and it was good to be the last out every day.
Smith placed second in the third round with a 9.7, just fractions of a second behind Jordan Ketscher’s 9.4.
Those three times combined to punch Smith’s ticket to the April 6-9 RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Fla. He earned a total of $8,155 in Lancaster as he also was the all-around champ.
Smith’s five victories at the RCCFR have all been on his horse, Trouble With The Chick.
“It’s funny that’s his name; I haven’t met a girl who didn’t like him,” Smith said. “It’s kind of ironic all the way around because people like to be around him, and he’s a good horse. I bought him when he was 3 years old, and trained him, and he ended up being pretty good.”
This will be Smith and Trouble’s sixth trip to the RNCFR.
“I’m looking forward to it, for sure,” Smith said. “The prize money is real good now, and it counts for the standings at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, so that is a huge incentive. It’s a good opportunity for a guy going down the road trying to go to the WNFR. A guy can win quite a bit of money and get next year kicked off well.”
Other winners at the $165,239 rodeo were all-around cowboy Smith ($8,155 in tie-down roping and steer wrestling), bareback rider R.C. Landingham (245.5 points on three head), steer wrestler Josh Garner (31.0 seconds on three head), team ropers Victor Ugalde/Evan Arnold (23.0 seconds on three head), saddle bronc rider Cameron Messier (205 points on three head), barrel racer Nellie Miller (52.85 seconds on three runs) and bull rider Aaron Williams (152.5 points on two head).