Canadian young gun Kolton Schmidt might be in uncharted waters in the top 10 in the PRCA's heading world standings nearing the end of the season, but the experience he gained north of the border prepared him for this leading role.
At age 19, Schmidt won the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association’s heading title in 2013 with Tyrell Flewelling. Schmidt rode his black gelding, Badger, at the Canadian Finals Rodeo that year, where they placed in the average. He’s made the CFR a total of four times, including once at age 17—setting the record as the youngest contestant to ever qualify in the team roping.
“I guess I learned to believe in myself,” Schmidt said. “I had to rope against a lot of tough guys to win that.”
Schmidt and 2016 partner Shay Carroll are trying to make the CFR again en route to Schmidt’s first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualification. They spent the early part of June rodeoing in Canada.
“It rains a lot,” Schmidt said of the Canadian rodeos. “There’s not too much of a difference, really. It’s more of a friendly, family feel at every rodeo. Everybody gets to go on the weekends and the whole family goes along.”
Their plan for the rest of 2016 is to stick to their run, which Schmidt believes can hang with the best in the business.
“It’s a big difference between when you think you rope good and when you know you rope good,” Schmidt said. “I’m not saying I know I’m the best, but I know I can beat these guys. My run works, it’s just as good as theirs. It’s not like it’s just a chance. It’s a huge thing that’s opened my mind. I’ve got the best heeler I’ve ever had in my life, and he makes it easy.”