redemption

Jake Smith and Douglas Rich Redeem Themselves with Round 2 Win at 2024 Rodeo Corpus Christi 
Jake Smith and Douglas Rich bounced back from a no-time in Progressive Round 1 of the 2024 WCRA Rodeo Corpus Christi to win the second round May 10.
Jake Smith spinning a steer for Douglas Rich in Round 2 of the 2024 WCRA Rodeo Corpus Christi.
Jake Smith and Douglas Rich won Progressive Round 2 of the 2024 WCRA Rodeo Corpus Christi. | Photo by Bull Stock Media, courtesy WCRA

Jake Smith and Douglas Rich got a sweet taste of redemption winning Progressive Round 2 of the 2024 WCRA Rodeo Corpus Christi Friday, May 10, with a 4.16-second run for $5,000.

After a no-time in the first round, Smith and Rich needed to make something happen in Round 2 to advance to the Showdown Round Saturday, May 11.

“I did miss [Thursday] a pretty good steer, and I was like, I can’t let that happen again—I have to catch tonight,” said NFR qualifier Rich. “So, we’re lucky it worked out.”

Despite being off the barrier a touch, Smith and Rich were able to make up some time.

“This horse leaves hard and flat, so even though I missed the barrier a little bit, I knew I just needed to open my swing up and it went on good,” Smith, 31, explained. “This horse is strong to the saddle horn, I knew I needed to get a hold of this steer and get him moving for Doug. By the time I looked to the left to make sure I wasn’t going to run into anything and by the time I looked back, Doug’s already got him heeled.”

Smith and Rich’s winning horsepower

Smith was riding a been-there-done-that gelding he bought last December. After getting home from rodeoing last summer, Smith knew he needed another horse. His brother and two-time World Champion Header Clay Smith told him about Friendly, the 20-year-old gelding Luke Brown bought from Chad Masters. 

“He’s great for faster setups, things like this,” Smith of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, said. “He’s honest and you know what he’s going to do every single time. He’s been great to have; I couldn’t have done what I’ve done this winter without this horse—no way.”

Rich, originally from Herrick, Illinois, rode Malibu, a 14-year-old flea-bit gray gelding.

“I’ve had him for about five years, and he’s been a good horse,” Rich, 29, said. “He’s a little different, a little quirky kinda. Really? But, but he’s been good. I’ve been blessed to have him.

New to the WCRA block

Smith and Rich aren’t familiar faces around the WCRA scene, but they have plans to change that.

“I went to the first one or two they had, but it seems like I’m not very good at planning ahead,” Smith said with a laugh. “I’ve tried to get better at that.”

Like many rodeo athletes, they both wanted a chance at qualifying for Kid Rock’s Rock N Rodeo on the WCRA Free Riders team. 

“It would be nice to get to go to that because I think it’s something they’ve never had—one like that kind of format,” Rich said. “And it would be cool to get to go. Hopefully we’ll do our job again and maybe get that chance.”

Showdown Round ready

As for the Showdown Round, Smith wants to go at Saturday night the same way he did their first steer.

“Our steer followed quite a bit the first night and it made it harder on [Rich], but I had a pretty good start and I took an extra swing the first night,” Smith explained. “I think some kind of mid-four is what a guy needs to do, and if you hit the barrier and you do our job, that shouldn’t be too big of a job to do. But I know it’s a lot easier said than done.”

While rich is following smith’s lead, he plans not to take extra swings like he did the first night, given the arena is so small.

“I think I tried to take an extra swing the first night and it didn’t go good,” Rich said. “So, I’m just going to try to let the steer hit and heel him as soon as possible, just kind of like normal. You can run one a long way since this arena is small and still be pretty fast.”

Progressive Round 2 results

Jake Smith Douglas Rich4.16$5,000.00 
Reno Stoebner Joe Mattern4.72$2,500.00 
JC Yeahquo Buddy Hawkins6.52$1,000.00 
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