Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Sports

October 12, 2012

BRETT HOFFMAN: Smith’s run of excellence continues

AMARILLO — Stace Smith of Athens has been nominated for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s 2012 Stock Contractor of the Year award.

But that’s no big surprise. Smith has reigned as the PRCA’s No. 1 livestock supplier for the past eight years (2004-11).

The 2012 winner will be announced at the PRCA Awards Banquet on Dec. 5 in Las Vegas, the night before the start of the $6.125 million Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

In July, Smith supplied the livestock and the Cheyenne Frontier Days, replacing Harry Vold who had produced the “Daddy of’Em All” in Wyoming for many years. He also is the senior stock producer at the Mesquite Championship Rodeo, a world-renowned weekly summer show.  

In August, Smith produced the MDA Benefit Rodeo in Athens. Smith also will truck bovines and broncs to the December NFR in Las Vegas.

One big reason PRCA rodeo organizing committees hire Smith as the senior stock producer is because he hires multiple subcontractors and then asks each firm to bring the top end of their bronc and bull pen.

During the recent Tri-State Fair & Rodeo in Amarillo, for example, Smith was the senior stock producer and he utilized nine firms to supply the livestock, according to the PRCA. In addition to drawing from his two firms (Stace Smith Pro Rodeos and Smith, Harper & Morgan Rodeo), Smith hired other high-profile contractors such as Sammy Andrews, who owned the late legendary bucking bull, Bodacious. Smith also brought in Neal Gay, and his son, Jim, who are the senior stock producers at the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo.

Though Smith heads up two rodeo companies, he said that’s not enough to produce a successful show.

“Nobody can make a rodeo great only with their own pen,” Smith said in an interview at last month’s Amarillo rodeo. “You can’t do a decent-sized rodeo without help. We own 200 horses and we could put this rodeo on ourselves, but it wouldn’t be nearly as good without asking others to bring their best.”

For example, Smith asked longtime East Texas-based producer Andrews to help him provide broncs and bulls at the Sept. 20-22 Amarillo rodeo. And his commitment to high quality paid off. Fans witnessed 2009 world champion saddle bronc rider Jesse Kruse win the title with a lofty score of 87 aboard the Andrews-owned bronc Lock And Load, who also was on the card at the 2011 NFR.

Seven-time NFR qualifier Wes Stevenson, who finished in the money at the Amarillo rodeo with an 83 aboard a tough Smith-owned bareback bronc named Vanderbilt, said Smith is committed to producing a high-quality show.

“He’s got really good bucking horses and bulls and he takes care of the timed event guys,” said Stevenson, a native of Kaufman who lives in Lubbock. “He’s not just in it for himself. He’s in it for everybody to win. For example, (the Amarillo rodeo) is a medium-sized rodeo, but he still brings in many contractors to make it the best he can. He’s also a production specialist and not just a stock contractor. He wants to make the whole production good and he brings in a lot of guys to help him. The cowboys see that and realize that.”

Smith, who competes in team roping, maintains that one of the biggest reasons he thrives is because he also comes up with great timed event cattle for roping and steer wrestling competitors.

“I know all of those guys, and so I can’t bring sorry cattle and look them in the eye,” Smith said. “We work really hard with the calves and steer wrestling stock. We buy more calves than anybody, always trying to make it an even pen.”

Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has written a rodeo column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram during the past 25 years. Email him at brett@myrodeoinsider.com.

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