Oregon’s Hayes Smith teamed up with California’s Justin Davis hit big at Baker, Montana’s Fallon County Fair & Rodeo with a 4.2-second run worth $3,661 each. That win came just days after picking up an even bigger win at Hermiston, Oregon’s Farm-City Pro Rodeo, roping two steers in 9.6 seconds for a total payday of $5,538 a man.

“I won $20,000 all year long and in the last 14 days we won $15,000,” Davis said. “Hayes had a pretty good chance when we started rodeoing. I was rodeoing to help him try to make the Finals this year. I went from 40 in the world to 22.”

Smith started the year rodeoing with Russell Cardoza when Dustin Bird went home for calving and branding seasons, and has had six or seven partners throughout the year. The 24-year-old grew up looking up to Cardoza and Davis, who he says were the best heelers around when he was a kid.

Smith and Davis' first steer in Hermiston, Ore. 

Smith and Davis' first steer in Hermiston, Ore. 

“I idolized them growing up,” Smith said.

While Davis has his great seasoned horses Slim Shady and Shakira on the trailer, Smith is riding a 5-year-old semi-outlaw mare named Smooch during rodeo’s crunch time.

“It’s as tough as can be out here, and here he is riding a colt,” Davis said. “She just scores and does it every time. He’s turned 12 out of 15 steers already for me. She’s just plain good, where ever. These scores are long and tough on a horse, and it doesn’t bother her.”

“My friends Noel and Lisa Lamas bought her last spring,” Smith said. “She would kick you and bite you and run you out of her pen. They got her started good and I took her. She’s still a little bit of an outlaw—she still might kick you when you walk around the corner, but she’s been great.”

While the PRCA world standings were far from settled as this magazine went to press, Smith said he’s set on trying to get himself and Davis to rodeo’s big show and continuing to stay in a groove with Davis in 2018.