Oregon’s Calgary Smith has pulled off a wicked heel shot more times than the young roper likes to admit.
Smith, 22, and his partner, Jack Graham, placed sixth at the Moses Lake (Washington) Round-Up Rodeo with a 5.6-second run, featuring Smith’s drive-by heel shot, to earn them $2,157 each.
“[The steer] went left a lot harder than I thought, so I was really just trying to catch up,” said Smith, who will be attending Weatherford Community College to college rodeo this fall. “Jack had to come back up the arena so fast that I just kind of flew right past him. I figured, ‘Well, I’m either going to catch or miss.’ So, it came out of my hand, and I caught.”
The run was quick, but to Smith it felt like it was in slow motion.
“When I was running over there, I knew that I was probably going to end up going by. In the video, I take one slow swing, like I was wanting to throw, and I knew it felt wrong. I took one more really fast one and just threw it and had his feet. I wasn’t really sure what else to do.”
Smith pulled off a similar shot in 2018 heeling for Justin Farber at the Walla Walla (Washington) Frontier Days rodeo.
“I do that more than I probably should,” Smith admitted. “It’s about the same time as when that video went viral on Facebook of me running by one at Walla Walla. It’s about this time of year that I kind of keep it interesting.”
Though Smith didn’t exactly have rodeo plans for the 2021 season, his original goals were to win the Resistol Rookie of the Year award. He is now fourth in the heeling standings with $13,721.09 in total season earnings, nearly $26,000 behind the No. 1 Resistol Rookie heeler Caleb Hendrix.
“After we won Redding (California), it was going alright, and we had a good start to the rodeos,” Smith said about their win that kickstarted their season. “It was the first time that my partner or I had really been anywhere this summer. It was pretty new to both of us. We didn’t really have any plans that we set out to do. We were just going with it and seeing what happens. We were just going with it and enjoying life.”
With just over a month left in Pro Rodeo’s regular season, Smith plans to focus on the Columbia River Circuit, where he is currently 13th in the heeling standings with $4,979.30 in season earnings.
“Since we were going so much at the start, we were kind of behind on our circuit rodeos and our circuit count, so we are just around here trying to make sure that we can get all of our circuit rodeos in and make the circuit finals,” he said.