Tomlinson, Smith Get the Summer Run Rolling with Fort Smith Win
Tanner Tomlinson and Patrick Smith start their summer with a 3.7-second run for the 2023 Old Fort Days Rodeo win.
Tanner Tomlinson and Patrick Smith finishing their run at the 2023 Old Fort Days Rodeo in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Tanner Tomlinson and Patrick Smith got the 2023 Old Fort Days Rodeo win in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Avid Visual Imagery photo.

Tanner Tomlinson and Patrick Smith wasted no time getting the ball rolling on their summer run by taking the win at the 2023 Old Fort Days Rodeo in Fort Smith, Arkansas, with a 3.7-second run Saturday, June 3.

The win comes after the team stayed fairly quiet over the previous weeks, gearing up for the summer.

“We’ve been kind of laying low for a little while,” said two-time World Champion Smith. “We hadn’t really been to just a ton of rodeos, but we went in with just a game plan to kind of use this week to get some stuff sharpened up.”

Tomlinson and Smith both pocketed $3,032, bumping Tomlinson up to No. 9 in the world standings with $32,591.82 won and Smith to No. 10 on the heeling side with $32,591.82 in earnings thus far. Aside from Top 15 concerns, that win was also the perfect confidence booster heading into the summer run.

“We’re just now getting rigs [lined out] and entering everywhere and getting ready for the summer,” said Smith, 43, from Lipan, Texas. “So, if you can pick up a little bit of money along the way while you’re gathering up to go on the big summer run, every dollar counts. It definitely helps with the confidence and just kind of gives you a little bit of a head start on the summer.”  

The run

“Sharp” was the game plan for the reigning NFR average champs, and that’s exactly how they roped in the Natural State. 

“I told [Tanner] before we went in, ‘I think if we just make a sharp run—not do anything really crazy—I think we can be 4.1 or faster on this steer,’” Smith said. “I think the pattern of him sets up perfect for this setup and arena. And that’s exactly how it went down. The steer was perfect, and [Tanner] got a really good start, had it on him fast and, like I said, it was not anything crazy, just no wasted motion.”

As the second-to-last team to rope, Tomlinson and Smith took advantage of a steer that was stronger than the herd.

“Our steer was supposed to be pretty good: about medium, a little stronger than the rest of them,” said Tomlinson, the 22-year-old from Angleton, Texas. “Our plan was just to go make our run and see what happens. I honestly didn’t think we were 3.7, but we just caught and made our same run we made all last year. Pat heeled him fast, and we got a really good flag and a good finish. Kicked our summer run off right.”

Tomlinson was aboard “Outcast,” his second-string head horse, who he said excels on short scores. Smith was riding the 2022 Nutrena AQHA/PRCA Heel Horse of the Year, Kadabra King—aka “Turbo.” 

Winning Partnership

Tomlinson and Smith are in their third season of roping together, and the partnership has led to a close dynamic out of the arena as well.

“Well, I think it’s just the relationship thing of this has been fun,” Smith said. “He’s become like part of our family, and obviously his talent—it’s always fun when you’re winning. Somebody asked me the other day how much longer I was going to do this, and I told him it’s hard to not do it when you have a great partner and a great horse. But it’s just been a lot of fun. I went several years there not doing very good at all, and getting somebody now that things are just clicking with and we both have enjoyed it, it’s been a lot of fun.” 

For Tomlinson, the opportunity to rope with Smith has helped level up his career.

“It means the world,” Tomlinson said. “It’s probably been the biggest blessing to my career to get it started off right and do everything right, on business side of it, and learn. And it’s been a blessing roping with him. I hope I get a few more years out of him, but it’s been a great opportunity for me and my career.” 

Summer Plan

Kicking off June with the Fort Smith win gives Tomlinson and Smith better momentum for the summer than they had last year.

“Game plan for the summer is just to make our run,” said Tomlinson, the 2020 Resistol Rookie Header of the Year. “Try to place at as many rodeos as we can and see what happens and get the ball rolling right. Last year, we kind of got the ball rolling a little later; started at the Fourth and kind of started getting the ball rolling towards the end of the year. So, this year, we’re trying to get it started off early and finished strong.” 

To keep the ball moving forward, the team aims to make solid runs consistently. 

“Just making runs on whatever steer we have and not getting too crazy,” Smith said. “Just trying to stick to the game plan and make runs because the new payouts that they’re doing at these one-headers, you don’t necessarily have to win first to keep climbing the standings ladder. You just need to make sure you’re making good runs. So, I think just not running over ourselves and sticking to the game plan is what we’re looking for and, if we’ll do that, then we’ll be right where we need to be.”  

Tomlinson and Smith rope next Monday, June 5, in Woodward, Oklahoma, at the Woodward Elks Rodeo.

Old Fort Days Results

1. Tanner Tomlinson/Patrick Smith, 3.7 seconds, $3,032 each

2. Justin Johnson/Kaden Graves, 4.1, $2,675

3. (tie) Forrest Fisher/Reno Gonzales and Kreece Thompson/Landen Glenn, 4.3, $2,140 each

5. (tie) Brye Crites/Rance Doyal and Braxton Culpepper/Brad Culpepper, 4.5, $1,694 each

7. (tie) Lightning Aguilera/Jared Fillmore and Cooper Bruce/Wyatt Kanan, 4.6, $1,338 each

9. Dalton Turner/Clay Clayman, 4.7, $1,070

10. Wheston Jones/Lane Reeves, 5.1, $713.

World Standings

As of June 6, 2023.

1Rhen Richard$84,553.02 
2Andrew Ward$62,832.92 
3Nelson Wyatt$59,204.45 
4Dustin Egusquiza$51,049.52 
5Kaleb Driggers$41,453.10 
6J.C. Yeahquo$40,970.81 
7Marcus Theriot$40,450.64 
8Cody Snow$39,566.21 
9Tanner Tomlinson$32,591.82 
10Jake Clay$31,791.81 
11Derrick Begay $30,959.52
12Luke Brown $26,912.59
13Jr. Dees$26,498.70 
14Tanner James$25, 964.90
15Jeff Flenniken$25,795.87 
16Chad Masters$25,246.31 
17Coy Rahlmann$24,835.77 
18Brenten Hall$24,558.05 
19Coleman Proctor$24,414.19 
20Clay Smith$24,089.49 
1Jeremy Buhler$84,553.02 
2Buddy Hawkins$62,832.92 
3Justin Davis$51,777.39 
4Levi Lord$51,049.52 
5Junior Nunes Nogueira$41,453.10 
6L.J. Yeahquo$40,970.81 
7Cole Curry$40,450.64 
8Billie Jack Saebens$38,064.04 
9Wesley Thorp$36,517.49 
10Patrick Smith$32,591.82 
11Tyler Worley$26,948.12 
12Hunter Koch$26,912.59 
13Ross Ashford$26,498.70 
14Paden Bray$26,428.79 
15Colter Todd$26,209.52 
16Corey Hendrick$26,094.89 
17Travis Graves$25,800.48 
18Trey Yates$25,246.31 
19Jonathan Torres$25,052.49 
20Caleb Hendrix$24,899.27 
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