Kolton Schmidt, the Barrhead, Alberta 24-year-old NFR header, is the featured guest on Season 2 Episode 8 of The Score, the hit podcast from The Team Roping Journal.
The 2015 College National Finals Champion talks with host Chelsea Shaffer about his mental battle since making the NFR in 2016, including how he relearned how to ride a horse with the help of DT Horses Dean Tuftin and Tuftin’s exceptional crew of horsemen.
Schmidt also talks about his partnership with fellow Canadian and 2016 World Champion Jeremy Buhler, as well as his Alberta upbringing and affinity for hockey.
More from Kolton Schmidt
Transcribed by Kelly Lynch, University of Wyoming
[Introduction] Hey everybody, this is Chelsea Shaffer and Kaitlyn Gustave, and this is The Score, the official podcast of the sport of team roping. This is The Team Roping Journal’s semiweekly podcast highlighting the team roping industry’s top talents and influencers through stories that inspire and connect ropers. We sit down with ropers from the professional ranks as well as industry icons and producers to delve into topics that make the team roping world tick. This is season 2. It will feature even deeper interviews, storytelling and issue-based coverage and we are so excited you’re here.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Hey everybody, welcome to this week’s episode of The Score. My guest this week is Kolton Schmidt. Kolton first made the NFR in 2016 with Shay Carroll and that was after winning the College Finals in 2015 with Sawyer Barham. But Kolton was already really well-known north of the border. He first made his name in 2011, as a 17-year-old, he made the Canadian Finals with Tyrell Flewelling and he won the average there that year. Kolton’s name in Canada, he’s a 3rd generation team roper, they’ve been there done that. His dad’s a Canadian champ so it’s no surprise to anybody north of the border how much success Kolton has had once he came to the U.S. Now, Kolton is roping with the 2016 World Champ, also from Canada, Jeremy Buhler. They have been working on their horsemanship, they have been working on their run and they’ve been having some success out in California and we’re excited to see how well that they are roping and they’re roping together. They’re headed to Canada now and so we thought this was a great time to run this interview with Kolton. We recorded this interview at the Cinch Timed Event Championships where Kolton was helping out, but I think everything we talk about is super timely and I hope you all really enjoy this episode as much as I did. I know there’s a lot of times throughout this episode where Kolton and I are laughing because we get along so well, and we had such a great time kind of visiting about things we don’t always get to talk about. So, enjoy the episode oh and remember we’ve been getting some awesome reviews lately so please stop and leave us a review. It makes our day; I love hearing from you all. Scroll down to the bottom of your iTunes library, leave us however many stars you think we deserve, write a review, let us know what you think we’re doing right or wrong. My favorite recent review is a family said that they’re listening to it on the way to junior rodeos as a part of family time and I absolutely love hearing that, that’s what this is for. I hope you are all benefitting from listening to these great interviews and these great stories of these guys and their horses so thank you all and enjoy.
[Chelsea Shaffer] So good morning Kolton.
[Kolton Schmidt] Good morning Chelsea.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Thanks for being on my podcast today.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yes of course.
[Chelsea Shaffer] So, there’s so much that I, we’ve been friends for a while, but there’s so much I don’t know about you. Give me a little bit of a rundown on where you grew up, we know it was Canada, but give me a little more detail.
[Kolton Schmidt] Barrhead, Alberta, about an hour and a half north west of Emmington. It’s kind of a Schmidt, like all Schmidt town kind of. It’s a town of 3,000 people and there is a Christmas, we have Christmas every year in town and there’s 180 Schmidts.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Really?
[Kolton Schmidt] And we rent a hall and it’s just, it feels like everybody is somehow related or something like that. And my grandpa’s side, there’s 3 brothers, my dad and his 2 brothers and us cousins, the uncles, grandpa and grandma, I just feel like we’re all super close. We have coffee every day at grandmas at 10 o clock in the morning and then in the wintertime grandpa has the indoor arena just, our family’s super close. We do everything together, always talking to each other, always keeping each other in the loop and everybody runs cows up there and it kind of seems like every body’s successful with their cows because we’re all so close you know. Brandings, there’s 50 people helping, and we have 40 calves to brand you know.
[Chelsea Shaffer] What’s running cows like up there I mean?
[Kolton Schmidt] It’s terrible. It’s terrible, I don’t know why they do it honestly.
[Chelsea Shaffer] It’s a glutton for punishment.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah it is and grandpa, he use to, he use to breed his cows so that they would calve in January like it’s, it was like beating your head against a wall and then you listen they’re sitting at coffee and talk about how hard it is and it’s like what are you doing? But they’ve kind of laid it back a little bit but still the weather up there in the winter sucks but rains a lot, they get a lot of feed, that parts good so I don’t know. Everybody seems to do it so seems to be okay. My uncle up there or great uncle, Walter Schmidt, they have a huge feedlot in Barrhead. It’s called Schmidt Livestock and it’s a huge operation. So just seems like I don’t know, everybody just does it.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Is there a special, I mean I don’t know a lot about running cows where it’s that cold, is there any special care that has to go into it?
[Kolton Schmidt] Now you’re getting above my pay grade because I don’t know.
[Chelsea Shaffer] You go to Arizona in the winter.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah, exactly, so does my dad! He’s got 100, probably 100 head of Corrientes and we just go to Arizona and the uncles look after them.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s awesome. I bet they’ll appreciate the shoutout, they’re the real cowboys of the Schmidt family.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yes!
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s funny. So how long have you been going to Arizona in the winter?
[Kolton Schmidt] I believe the first year we went down there was 2004. My dad was gonna rope with Joe Lucas on Smokin’ Joe and we went there for a couple week and dad always tell this story, it’s so funny, he always heard about the like dream land you know Arizona and we went the other way. We didn’t go through Vegas, we ended up going through Flagstaff and we were like two and a half hours from Arizona and there was 2 feet of snow on the ground and my dad thought that Joe just pulled a prank on us.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s funny.
[Kolton Schmidt] But we’ve been there since 2004 and then I think, I believe the year was I think it was 2007, dad bought his place and they’ve been just kind of building on it ever since.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Now, you’ve had so much family support. Tell me what, how’s that experience been? It’s different then some or?
[Kolton Schmidt] Kind of like we talked about last night, I didn’t think it was different for some and hearing people have hardships with their family is hard for me to grasp you know. I don’t wish I understood it, but I respect that side of the spectrum because my family has been unbelievable through, they’ve been amazingly fun and supportive through the good but, they were there more than anybody through the bad. You know I, my support system is just unbelievable, it’s amazing.
[Chelsea Shaffer] How have you managed to turn out not spoiled? Or like was there, how have you managed to kind of take advantage of…
[Kolton Schmidt] My mom’s mean.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s awesome. I want to be a mean mom; I hope Elise says that someday.
[Kolton Schmidt] No, I’m kidding, I love the lady. But that’s kind of you know I don’t know that’s something that I feared was getting that reputation, you know what I mean? There’s actually Rhen Richard when I was going through college and I wasn’t a bad kid or a bad guy, but I was kind of drinking beer and kind of straying away from the program and I’ll remember this till the day I die. Rhen Richard walked up to me and he said hey, he told me how much he respects me, we’ve been close and he said, “You get one reputation,” and he said, “and I’m kind of worried about yours.” And that shook home, you know what I mean? And that kind of falls back to my family where my grandma, my dad, the biggest thing was, doesn’t matter how good you rope, it doesn’t matter what you win, the people remember if you’re a good guy or a bad guy and that was kind of the guidelines to my life so.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Gotcha, so talk about when you started rodeoing. Who was your first partner?
[Kolton Schmidt] At home…
[Chelsea Shaffer] At home yeah.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yes at home, I still have to thank him more and more, Tyrell Flewelling. He took a chance with me, I was 17, I was a bomber. I didn’t even know how to score, how to jackpot and he invited me to his house for 3 weeks in the summertime when we lived there and we practiced in 2010 and in 2011 we ended up – he gave me a chance and we roped and I had an old bay mare, I called her the mare – and we went to the, we made the Canadian Finals, we won the average and Tyrell won the year end. That was such a cool year to dream about it you know because the Canadian Finals when we were there, that was the highest token you know. We woke up and we dreamed about the CFR and Tyrell give me the chance and for him to step out and take a chance with me, that was, that was really cool.
[Chelsea Shaffer] So you had all that success your first year, did you think it was going to be easy from there on? Like did you have any clue?
[Kolton Schmidt] My rodeo career has been such a rollercoaster because it’s so funny in 2011, we made the Canadian Finals, same thing, I get the mentality this is it you know? 2012, me and Tyrell don’t make the Canadian Finals. I grind through it, work hard, Tyrell gives me another chance. 2013, we actually win the year end in Canada and the same thing, I haven’t made the Finals yet back down here but 2016, you make the Finals, kind of get a, I don’t know what the right word is but kind of like a coast feel, you know I mean? You kind of plateau in your mindset and I’ve been set back because of that and that’s happened, you think I’d learn the first time, but I didn’t you know. But its all, it’s happened to me twice I wish I could go back and tell myself to figure that out.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Did you mentally back off? Did you back off on your practice? Did you, like what caused the coast and what’re you doing to fix it?
[Kolton Schmidt] I think the coast, in both times looking back at it and being realistic with myself is my horsemanship. And it was so funny, we were sitting in Arizona, or sorry we were sitting in Houston the other day and Buhler was snapchatting me and the snapchat said “old time hockey” and it was a video of him and I when we won the 2 head at the George Strait a couple, I think it was 2016 and our run was such a kamikaze. It actually scared me watching that run and I was sitting there with my girlfriend and Jerry and his girlfriend and I told them I said, “There’s no wonder it took me 2 years to start winning again,” I said, “I don’t know how we ever caught steers doing that!” Like that run was crazy and it’s actually a really cool story, the horsemanship side of it. I was down in the dumps after 2017, I went through a lot of partners, Dugan Kelly stuck it out with me a long time. Him and his wife were amazing, and I did such a bad job for Dugan, I felt, I still feel terrible. That guy’s amazing.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Dugan and Brittney are like tops when it comes to good people.
[Kolton Schmidt] Brittney is yes, Dugan just takes along with her.
[Chelsea Shaffer] He out kicked his coverage for sure there.
[Kolton Schmidt] No, them guys are awesome. I love them 2 but it was in the fall of 2017 and I’ve been watching everybody swap horses, you know what I mean? Like they don’t like when they sell them, and I wasn’t getting along with my black horse Badger and I was like well I’m trying to get into the motion and I’m like well I guess I have to sell him because I can’t ride him. And an old family friend Dean Tuftin got ahold of me, he said, “Don’t sell him,’ he said, “give me 2 months and if you don’t like him after that we can sell him.” So, I actually moved to Arizona and I went and rode with Shawn Grant and when we started it was, I was so bad. I didn’t even realize that I was that bad.
[Chelsea Shaffer] And this was after you’ve made the Finals, you’ve won the Canadian Finals.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah, yeah.
[Chelsea Shaffer] You had so much to learn still.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah, you have to be pretty real with yourself I think you know. A lot of people won’t so you better be with yourself so.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s so admirable.
[Kolton Schmidt] And Shawn, he, we put Badger back in a snaffle like restarted with Badger, but I think when we looked at me, he’s like “Man this, Badgers gonnna be a lot easier to fix than Kolton.” Like, I was so bad and…
[Chelsea Shaffer] And for people that don’t, Badger had already won Horse of the Year.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah, he did.
[Chelsea Shaffer] I mean so for people like this is…
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah it was funny, we look at it that way you know like because when I look at it, I’m like ‘I don’t know how we’ve done; I don’t know how we’ve won nothing I need to fix it” but then you’re the outside looking in, you’re like Kolton made the Finals on him, he’s an AQHA Horse of the Year.
[Chelsea Shaffer] And he’s riding around in a ring snaffle with Dean Tuftin.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yes, we restarted him, but Shawn was amazing. He was so patient with me. I still talk to him every day and not every day but every time I need help with Badger. Them guys, I couldn’t thank them enough. They’ve, they’ve saved mine and Badger’s career.
[Chelsea Shaffer] I think like that’s blowing my mind right now, thinking about low number guys at home or guys that are circuit rodeoing who maybe think they’re just getting by or just think that well this is the way this horse is. You restarted the horse of the year.
[Kolton Schmidt] We did yeah, we went from the ground up.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah what went into it? Tell me about it a little bit.
[Kolton Schmidt] It all just went back into him, well it’s all my fault, and my dad warned me about this too. My dad’s really good with horses. He can pattern them so well like they’re not showy, but they know their job. And when we bought Badger, he was a heel horse kind of, they were kind of messing with him. He was 6 years old and he just had the feel like I was rodeoing with him 6 months of him just getting him you know like and when we got to Shanwn’s, he’s like man this horse doesn’t even have a foundation like he scores, he’ll haul ass and then he ducks because that’s all he knows what to do, like that’s what you’ve taught him. So, we restarted with a snaffle, trying to get him to lope in the left lead in a straight line, seriously, we couldn’t do it.
[Chelsea Shaffer] I love that!
[Kolton Schmidt] So, we got that, and it was so hard for me, that was the most that I’ve never roped in my life. I was there for 2 months and Shawn, we put the rope of the chute, we messed around, slowed that horse down. They were so patient with me and it just itched me to the bone. It took me like a month and a half for me to get to throw a horn loop and I’ll never forget the feeling of both of my horses that were strong, when he finally let me rope on him, it was just, it was like 2 new horses that I got, it was just, it was really, really cool. It’s still amazing to think about how far they came.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Wow. Dean Tuftin, how does your family know Dean?
[Kolton Schmidt] Dean grew up in a small town, well its actually kind of big now, but Drayton Valley which was an hour from my grandpa’s indoor and back in the day, my grandpa was kind of the only one in that area that had an indoor. So, they got close throughout the winter and then they’d amateur rodeo together. He just kind of grew up among the neighborhood really.
[Chelsea Shaffer] And your family, you said your dad trains some horses?
[Kolton Schmidt] Kind of, he use to do it. He’s kind of had a rollercoaster of living, I guess. Like we started, he started training horses when him and mom got married. He did that for a few years and then mom’s a worker, so she wanted cows, and then they got cows and she was working at the bank and then dad ended up getting an opportunity to get snow cats and that’s what he still does now. But he’ll get 1 or 2 horses a year and goes to Arizona. Gives him something other to do than sit there and talk bs with all the old guys.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Right? It’s the culture down there for sure. What, now your family’s somehow involved or were you just involved with Dean in roping horse futurities in Canada?
[Kolton Schmidt] Dean doesn’t have anything to do with that or maybe he does now, but he didn’t. My dad actually started that.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s all your family? Gotcha, I couldn’t remember how that worked.
[Kolton Schmidt] There’s a few people like Glen Flewelling who was involved in it and Art Gallais were involved in the original one but that was all dad and he actually they just signed another contract to – the Canadian Finals moved – and he actually got his deal moved and they’re gonna start having more of them.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Cool. So, what is the market up there for horses? Like and why is there a demand for futurity rope horses up there?
[Kolton Schmidt] There’s a lot of team ropers, there is. There’s a lot of team roping at home. Just in our area, I mean I don’t want to sit here and count them in front of you but in our county, there has to be at least 35 roping arenas. I mean it’s, it kind of feels, it’s not so close and intertwined like Arizona but in the summer if you want to rope, you can go anywhere and the ropings are really taking off up there. The World Series is what kind of set it all off I mean there’s a lot of team ropers at home.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Very cool and big pens? What’s the differences? I mean obviously in the winter there’s not as many big places to rope but in the summer are there great big outdoors?
[Kolton Schmidt] There’s big outdoors in kind of back home, I don’t know how to say it, that’s kind of what my struggle has been cause from is we just, everything’s kind of short scores at home and it’s all my own fault because Levi Simpson, he’s from back home and he’s really good at both ends of the spectrum but it’s kind of my own fault but we just learn to rope fast because of roping in that indoor arena. And I know for the last year and a half, I’ve been trying to jackpot runs at home in the middle of the arena, like that was hard but now that I think about it, I’m like why is that? Because you ask that question and the arenas at home are big and open and our steers are strong, it’s pretty similar you know. The only thing that I wish we got at home was to rope Mexicans.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah, I was going to ask, are they all native?
[Kolton Schmidt] Yes which and everybody wishes they could rope Mexicans so yep.
[Commercial] (Chelsea) Hey guys, this episode is brought to you by USRider. Kaitlyn, how does my husband handle it when I run a truck out of fuel? (Kaitlyn) Not very well. (Chelsea) Not very well. And when I do run our truck out of fuel on I-25, I remind him “Hun it’s no big deal! We have USRider,” and he’s not nearly as impressed with that as I am. But either way, USRider does come and save us on the side of the highway. My husband has run out of fuel, you’ve heard that commercial before, he’s done it but there are a lot of wives out there who may run out of fuel, may blow a tire. There’s a lot of guys out there that may run out of fuel, may blow a tire, may have any level of accident that you might think of and USRider is so handy. It is the roadside assistant program of the equine industry. They have been our sponsor since the beginning of The Score podcast and we so appreciate them and because of that, you’ve got a new promo code for 2019 so that you can get 2 free months of USRider service if you mention promo code ‘TRJ19’. That is promo code ‘TRJ19’. All you’ve got to do is go to USRider.org. When you sign up, you login to join or renew, you enter in ‘TRJ19’, that’s your promo code, you get 2 free months of towing, repairs, battery assistance, anything you need, flat tires, lockout service, fuel, oil or water delivery and you get enrolled in the winner circle advantage benefits and discounts with that code, ‘TRJ19’ you get 2 free months of it. USRider.org.
[Chelsea Shaffer] So, we were talking about 2016 and you said you haven’t made the Finals yet. Do you – this is a jerk question for me to ask so you can tell me to delete it – do you feel pressure because 2016 was the year that it was? That was the year that the Finals and 2016 is the year that there were a few guys who weren’t rodeoing because they were in the ERA. I always wonder and I’ve never been as much of a jerk to ask that question.
[Kolton Schmidt] I don’t, I don’t think that. Not because of the ERA you know, and this is going to sound jerky of me too…
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah do it, no.
[Kolton Schmidt] But I had an amazing year like it was so, so dreamy. Like I won, I think I won going into the Finals with $94,000 won. So really if they bring a few guys back, I’m still gonna make the Finals, that’s my mindset on the deal. But, the pressure after the NFR, which is all self-induced I understand but, not doing good at the NFR was, that was hard on me. And I don’t want to sound, I don’t want sympathy over that deal, none of that but that was hard for me to overcome. To feel like you finally get to the stage that you want to get at and you can’t perform you know, that’s frustrating. And then the next year, was all self-induced pressure too where you feel like I gotta make the Finals you know, I can’t not now that I have you know what I mean? But roping with Buhler, his mindset over this last year has just been incredible or this past month or whatever it’s been, he’s been awesome. Roping with Cole, that really helped me because Cole does a really good job of getting the best out of his partners and allowing them to do what they, how they want to rope. And, Cole took a chance with me too, I mean I was at, I was at ground level when Cole started roping with me and he took a chance that I was actually gonna fix Badger and I’m so happy that I got to get Cole to his first NFR, you know that that, my dad when we talk, he always tells me he says, “Alright well, go make your heeler a winner.” That’s what, that’s what our mindset is you know and to see my guy make the NFR, that was really cool to be a part of that. Obviously, it sucked that I didn’t get to go but I have to be real with myself where I’ve made the NFR, and then I fell out of the top 50 and I grinded through it and last year I had a realistic chance. I ended up I think 19th or 20th whatever it was but I got to be at least a little bit real with myself and look at the positive sides where I got my guy to the Finals, I’m close, I’m at least kind of going in the right direction and now I get to rope with Buhler that I’ve wanted to rope with Buhler forever and watching old videos now I understand why I didn’t get to. I just, I don’t know, there was a lot of self-induced pressure because of that Finals and my expectations and I feared misses, that part was hard you know. I, we all are I guess when we’re young, we’re really, really hard on ourselves but that’s the one thing I’m trying to get over is not make a big deal out of the last one. And in 17 when I was doing bad, it was like the snowball effect you know what I mean? Like I’d miss one to the right, “Man you can’t head.” I’d miss one to the left, “Man you really can’t head.” You know what I mean? Like it was just a, it was a never ending, never ending downward spiral but trying to make less out of the misses, more out of the better and I just, I kind of feel like I’m sort of, well I feel like I am going back in the right direction.
[Chelsea Shaffer] So you started, you restarted your horse, you restarted your roping. How did you restart your mental game? Was it just putting the time in the practice pen that restarted your mental game?
[Kolton Schmidt] No, there was a lot that went into it, there was a lot. I actually haven’t told many people this but whatever we’re talking. I actually, I was so down, like I wasn’t gonna quit because I wasn’t gonna be, that wasn’t gonna be me. I wasn’t gonna throw my towel in, but it was bad, it was hard, and we actually started reading and trying to figure out to change my mindset, what could be that trigger switch and I actually went and sat down with a hypnotist.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Really?
[Kolton Schmidt] Yes. I went and got 4, it was 4 appointments with him, just to try and open up my self-conscious and it was listening to him talk was unbelievable. It was really, really interesting to me but he said that we could rewire our brain like reteach ourselves how to think and I don’t know if it helped me and I don’t know if it was right or wrong, but it felt like I took pressure off myself because at least I know I’m trying. That was, it’s kind of like when you’re missing but you go back and practice, at least you know you’re putting the effort in and I think that was more than anything, is that I could wake up in the morning and I could be real with myself and say, “Well you’re trying, I mean you’re on the right track.” But yeah, I went to a hypnotist, I read a lot of books, talked to a lot of people, I mean I don’t know. Just feel like I used every ounce of resources I could get ahold of.
[Chelsea Shaffer] And we mentioned it just a minute ago but let’s talk a little more about it now and I’m not gonna make you brag on him too much because you’re gonna have to ride in the truck with him a lot this year, but I mean Jeremy Buhler, I asked you last night I was like “Do I have a right to think Jeremy Buhler is as much of a badass and I think he is?” And you were like “Yeah! He really is.”
[Kolton Schmidt] He really is, he is.
[Chelsea Shaffer] He’s got it like he’s got it figured out.
[Kolton Schmidt] Well he’ll say he doesn’t, but I think he does. That guy, I mean, he’s had the other end of the spectrum you know, he’s done it the hard way. The success he’s had is all within himself you know, and he’s surrounded himself with great people and he does have a good family, but the coolest thing is he’s found a good support system of friends. Like that, I was telling him the other day I said, we were driving home from a roping and I talked to Jake Cooper, – and I lived with Jake for 2 years, we’re really good friends and now I buy my own place in Stephenville and I hardly see the guy, like how dumb is that right? – and I said, “Man I feel like I need to go see Jake.” And Jeremy’s like “I don’t want to get in your life but,” he said, “we’ve been roping hard every day, we’ve been roping all day.” He said, “Why don’t you take a night off and go see him?” He said, “When I feel like I’m getting kind of caught up in the moment, I go and see my friends and I come back, and I feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders.” And just, Buhler’s mindset is just, it’s like a hippy you know?
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah, he is! He’s like Yoda
[Kolton Schmidt] He is! He’s so just chill and in the moment like and the biggest thing that I like about him is we don’t make a big deal out of the misses and we did at first, we did. We were grinding through it and we couldn’t even catch in the practice pen we were trying so hard. He left Arizona, he’s like “Man I got to get back to my roots,” he said, “I kind of need my own deal for a little bit.” And we come back and we kind of got back together and we roped and he’s like let’s just not make a big deal and that’s kind of how he is with his horses which is so cool. They make a mistake where most people would freak out and kind of pick on them and make a big deal and he just reminds them what to do and goes back and tries it again and that’s kind of where we are at with our roping. Like okay, you miss the right horn, catch the right horn next time, now we’re gonna go visit and not talk about it again. Like, I don’t know, his whole mindset is just, I’m really intrigued on his personality and his lifestyle and I mean I want to give him credit but his girl Katie, she’s like the rock to all of that. She is…
[Chelsea Shaffer] He gives her a lot of credit.
[Kolton Schmidt] Well he needs to because she’s so laid back and she, the support system that he knows that is there and not to get, I don’t know, they’re just, they’re really, really, amazing people, it’s really cool.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s awesome and so nice when you have somebody that’s just your solid person in your corner.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah, it’s awesome. We’ve been good friends for a long time I mean. He’s kind of older than me but we both, our roping careers have kind of been on the same, same course a little bit. We made our 1st Canadian Finals the same year and we made our 1st NFR the same year. So, it, we’ve kind of been around and we’ve seen each other’s highs and lows.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah. Now you guys both also had to do the, I don’t want to say citizenship because you’re not American citizens, but you both had to jump through all the hoops.
[Kolton Schmidt] We still are jumping.
[Chelsea Shaffer] You’re still jumping?
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah everyday we’re jumping.
[Chelsea Shaffer] What can you say about that? I don’t wanna put your citizenship at risk.
[Kolton Schmidt] I hope they ain’t listening. No, that’s been a, that’s just been another, just gonna be another chapter in the book I guess is what it is. It’s been expensive and I wanna say it kind of costed me the Canadian Finals last year but it didn’t because Jerry made it and he won Canada so I can’t say that, but it made it hard. We couldn’t go home in May and we were sitting there just looking at our mailboxes trying to go back to Canada and we finally got to but that whole deals been a, it’s been a process. A lot of money, it’s taken a lot of time. We’re on the 2-year mark of still waiting for it.
[Chelsea Shaffer] What don’t American citizens understand about the whole deal?
[Kolton Schmidt] Understand about the?
[Chelsea Shaffer] About the immigration process.
[Kolton Schmidt] Trump’s serious about the wall. I mean like he’s really on immigrants where before our lawyer said that Canadians didn’t have to do interviews, they could just apply kind of get your deal and now we gotta do interviews, we had to do interviews, it’s just we got through the full deal.
[Chelsea Shaffer] It’s a pretty thorough process.
[Kolton Schmidt] It is, it’s hard. You guys don’t realize how lucky you are to come out of your mother’s womb and be American you know. Like that’s a peoples dream you know what I mean, it really is. I mean, just to think that people from Wyoming or Colorado could just move to Arizona and be there you know? Where my dad, he’s not supposed to stay over 6 months you know? And then your health insurance at home is at a risk you know like people take a lot of chances just to be a part of the sunshine and the lifestyle.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Wow, that’s something. What else did I want to ask you before we, I had something else. Are you having fun?
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah, I like this. I like podcasts yeah. I like listening to them.
[Chelsea Shaffer] I know, this is a good one! You’re doing really good. I had something else that I was gonna ask you.
[Kolton Schmidt] You said you were curious about Canada, anything else?
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah what else if there about your life that I don’t know Kolton?
[Kolton Schmidt] I don’t know. I wish I was big, tall, good looking and a hockey player.
[Chelsea Shaffer] How true is that? Okay, how true, how big is hockey in Barrhead, Alberta?
[Kolton Schmidt] It’s huge, yes.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Are you a typical Canadian hockey fan?
[Kolton Schmidt] I’m not as hardcore as my family but yes, my family is hardcore hockey. Yep, I played until I was, I can’t remember if it was 14 or 15 and now that I think at it, my dad the ole bugger he put me on the spot, but he said either hockey or Arizona.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Oh man.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah, now that I think about it, that was his choice to make. But obviously I picked Arizona. I did not have a future in hockey. But it’s kind of cool I mean, there use to be a really good junior team in Barrhead. My dad played on it; both my uncles played on it. My mom, she was on a traveling hockey team for Western Canada. She went to Europe, played for a little bit, that’s pretty cool. And I have a cousin that is actually drafted by the Montreal Canadiens and he’s playing university hockey in Alaska right now. So, I mean we all kind of have a somewhat of a way involved into the hockey.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Switching gears, horses. You talked about Badger, what’s the horse you got from Riley Minor that you had that you did a story a long time ago?
[Kolton Schmidt] Riley Minor…
[Chelsea Shaffer] It was like a brown horse? Riley told me he messed it up in the box. We did a story about it forever ago.
[Kolton Schmidt] Oh Moon!
[Chelsea Shaffer] Moon! Do you still have Moon?
[Kolton Schmidt] No, Tyler Waters just bought Moon.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Gotcha.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah Brady Payne had him, a guy from Arizona and Tyler Waters from Stephenville just got him. But that was, and probably is, the best horse I’ve ever had. Yeah, I actually feel like a lot of, a lot of the success that I had with Shay, was because of that horse because – and until I got this mare from Driggers – I couldn’t and couldn’t again jackpot and both of them horses allowed me to have success at the jackpots, and Moon, that horse is amazing. He was kind of getting old and Brady Payne really wanted him, and I don’t know if regret if the right word. I mean I still wish I could feed him for what he’s done for me, but I just seen an opportunity to get out of him and that’s kind of right or wrong, that’s what happened with him. But that was a good horse, I loved that horse. I actually bought him off of Murray Linthicum a guy from back home.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Gotcha, yeah it was not, Riley didn’t have him.
[Kolton Schmidt] That horse has had some owners. Yeah, he’s got a lot of different hay bales, yeah, he’s been around.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah, that was the, I think that was the first time I’d ever talked to you was when you were riding that horse and coincidentally, I don’t even know why we wrote about him.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah, I don’t know.
[Chelsea Shaffer] You had like won something.
[Kolton Schmidt] He’s a badass is probably why.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Do you win like Austin or San Angelo or I don’t know.
[Kolton Schmidt] I won the San Angelo jackpot of him.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Maybe that’s why.
[Kolton Schmidt] Something like that maybe.
[Chelsea Shaffer] I have a photo from it or something.
[Kolton Schmidt] And then I won the San Angelo jackpot on him with Shay and then I rodeoed on him a lot and then in the fall I actually won the WestStar with Petska with that horse too. That horse was awesome.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s cool. So what horses are next? You’ve got Badger, did you buy from Driggers?
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah, I got Badger and shoot he’s actually kind of become a jackpot horse. I haven’t really used him; I jackpotted on him and took him to his first one the other day and it was a little one, but Kory Koontz and I won it and I was just tickled that I completed the course and won a 5 head jackpot on him. Like that was really cool to me but I got a mare, screwed up the name, that’s a whole other story. Apparently, her names Stella and I thought her name was Gypsy and by the time that I found out it was Stella, her name stuck and its Gypsy now so her names Gypsy.
[Chelsea Shaffer] So you changed a barn name, are you superstitious?
[Kolton Schmidt] I am a little bit.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah that’s kind of scary.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah and it bothered me but where I’m at now, I’m think I might change every horse’s name because I love her. She’s been awesome.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Is she a Starlight Gypsy horse or did you just make Gypsy up?
[Kolton Schmidt] I don’t know how it happened.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Okay.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah somewhere Driggers said Gypsy and I thought that was her and I don’t know. But her name was Stella and now its Gypsy.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Gotcha, okay.
[Kolton Schmidt] And I don’t know what her papers look like, never seen them, I don’t know if she has them, but I love her.
[Chelsea Shaffer] How old is she?
[Kolton Schmidt] This is my favorite story ever.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Tell me, can’t wait!
[Kolton Schmidt] So she, when I bought her from Driggers, she was 13, which was in September and we’re sitting there and we’re talking crap, running our mouths and he say, “What if she’s 16?” and I said, “Well, you got me, I’ve already wrote the check.”
[Chelsea Shaffer] Dang horse traders.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah and we’re sitting there, and he calls (IDK THE NAME), calls the girl that from back home because that horse use to be like Lightning Aguilera’s horse, so from back in their area and he calls her and it was in 2019 and they were like, “Yeah that horse just turned 13.” And I’m like “Whoo! I got a year on Driggers!”
[Chelsea Shaffer] Doesn’t happen often!
[Kolton Schmidt] Every time he’s talking smack, he tells me that I still owe him a check for that horse because she’s more expensive now.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s funny. We have a feature in the next issue on buying and selling horses and I use Driggers as an expert so he’s the expert.
[Kolton Schmidt] He is an expert, that guy’s amazing at what he does. He’s got one of the nicest places in Stephenville because of that. He’s a hustler, I got a lot of respect for him. And then another horse I have is a friend of mine owns her – she showed up without a name too – his name’s Trevor Nelson, so my girlfriend Katy calls her T because we couldn’t come up with a name.
[Chelsea Shaffer] So you’re a mare guy?
[Kolton Schmidt] Well I wasn’t, but I am now. I’m a hardcore mare guy.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Do they come in heat? Do you not, you don’t know because…
[Kolton Schmidt] Well Gypsy does, she’s a brat. She acts like a mare and I’ve never been against mares, but I just didn’t have them because, I’m also like that with papers you know? I think when you’re buying babies it matters but if they’re a badass, they’re a badass you know what I mean? Like papers, it can go to an extent, but Riley and Brady are brothers you know and they’re not the same.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s really true. They are not the same at all.
[Kolton Schmidt] No so what’s that to say my horse and his brother are going to be the same? But that sorrel mare that we have, her name is T, and she is, she’s badass. I’ve been jackpotting on her too. I’m really, really excited about the herd of horses that I have right now.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s awesome. So, the rest of the year, I mean all in, hooked for the year?
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah, we’re going, we’re in. Yep, I’m excited to see what happens.
[Chelsea Shaffer] What’re you most looking forward to?
[Kolton Schmidt] I don’t really know, all of it honestly. There’s just, you ask me that question and there’s just like a bunch of things I’m looking forward to. Just the whole experience. I told my mom and dad this year that I want to experience, and I want to enjoy the journey more than what I have before, and I think a lot of my downfall comes from my pure enjoyment and pure happiness only off of a win. You know that’s a terrible way to live, you set yourself up for so many failures. That whole deal with Badger and Shawn fixing him, it kind of made me appreciate the journey and the time and that end of the spectrum. So, my whole goal this year was to be looking at that side of it where you know if we don’t do good, if my horse did good and we at least put our effort in, we know we showed up prepared, I have to be somewhat satisfied. And it has kind of helped my mindset a lot. The misses or the not winning wasn’t just the end of the world you know. I can’t tell you that it didn’t frustrate me because I’d be lying. It’s always frustrating not to win but it doesn’t make me want to quit and find something else to do. So, I think I feel like we’re on the right track.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Find something else to do, you went to college, right? Did you finish school?
[Kolton Schmidt] No.
[Chelsea Shaffer] No?
[Kolton Schmidt] No, I showed up, my mom hates me for that. Well, she doesn’t hate me but she’s mad at me for that.
[Chelsea Shaffer] What was your, what were you studying when you were in school?
[Kolton Schmidt] 3 different things in 3 years.
[Chelsea Shaffer] So you didn’t put much, school wasn’t the focus?
[Kolton Schmidt] No. I went there to rodeo, and I started in a junior college and I didn’t enjoy it. Then I went to university and I actually kind of enjoyed what I was taking. I took communications in the university and that was actually kind of cool. It was interested, I was intrigued by it.
[Chelsea Shaffer] It’s what all the cool kids do.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah exactly. I wanted to work at Spin to Win back in the day.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Goals! Yeah, goals. So, did I in college and here we are.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yeah exactly, but that was a whole other, it just, it worked out. Like my buddy Sawyer Barham, we roped in college and we made the College Finals and that was such a cool experience. We won the College Finals and that was a fun, fun time. That was amazing but after that year, my – she wanted me to come back, but I had the opportunity to rope with Shay and I kind of told my mom, I mean my dad didn’t really care, he wanted me to do whatever I wanted to do – but my mom just told me I’d have to live with that decision, and I do now. I think finishing school would’ve been the right thing to do but I’d also been lying if I’d say I would finish school and not rope with Shay again because that kind of, I mean that was amazing you know. We got to make the Finals; we had a lot of success. A lot of the stuff I have now come from that you know, so if I could tell kids I’d tell them to finish school, but I’d also tell them to chase their dreams. My dream kind of had an opportunity so that’s what we did.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Life after rodeo?
[Kolton Schmidt] I don’t know, I don’t know.
[Chelsea Shaffer] You’re young, you don’t have to know, I guess.
[Kolton Schmidt] I’m old, I’m going to be 25 in June, that’s scary, that’s scary. But I don’t know. My dad has a really, it’s a pretty interesting business. It’s kind of been hard because the oil field hasn’t been great at home but that whole snow cat deal, it’s really cool. Like my dad gets to live a really cool life because we – or not me, I can’t take the credit for it – dad and they work hard for 3 or 4 months maintaining them snow cats and then, and that’s in the fall, and the rest of it in the winter, it’s a lot of headache and a lot of time and not sleeping but in the summertime it’s done. Like they just sit there so that would be kind of a cool thing to be a part of and I want to rodeo in Canada until, I want to rodeo in Canada heeling, and they got to put on the chair like on the saddle. Like I want to be old and heel in Canada because at home you can still live another life and get to rodeo. That’s really cool, it’s really fun. A lot of those guys at home have really, really good livings and they get to go play and rodeo and still make 40, 50 grand a year and now that the Finals is equal money, I mean that’d be a fun way to make a living. So, I don’t know, I haven’t really thought about it. I’m just, I know what I’m doing now and I’m happy with it. I’m not really worried about what’s going to happen after.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s awesome. Did, you said about the Finals being equal money, do you get involved in the Canadian rodeo politics at all?
[Kolton Schmidt] I try not to but there’s not many of us so you kind of are you know what I mean? Like our group at home is pretty small, it’s kind of intertwined. But them guys that pathed our path for us or created our way, you can’t thank them enough you know. Even the first year that I made the Finals in ’11 with Tyrell, we roped 6 steers and we placed in shoot I can’t remember, it was 4 or 5 rounds, maybe 5 rounds and won the average. We won $11,000 and that’s crazy to think about you know. When my dad won it in 2000, the rounds paid nothing you know. Like I don’t know, I can’t thank those guys enough for sticking through it and the guy back home Lyle Kurtz, CVS Controls I mean he would not quit until there was team roping in the Canadian Finals. Like that guy is, that guy is the only reason we have teaming roping in Canada you know, he saved our sport. That was, all of us and you know even they don’t need to understand it and I understand that they don’t but even guys like Driggers last year that won $9,500 or whatever the payoff was at Edmonton last year, that 1 header, that all falls back to Lyle Kurtz so it, there’s so many people that owe that guy thanks that he won’t get it enough but that guy, he saved our sport and shoot he created our sport really at home.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s awesome. Where’s he from?
[Kolton Schmidt] He’s from Edmonton. He’s kind of a family friend. He’s been, he a sponsor of mine, he kind of helps everybody I mean that guy, he’s amazing. Yeah, yeah.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Well Kolton, I think we’re good. This trailer might blow over from the wind here in Guthrie.
[Kolton Schmidt] Guthrie, just a beautiful place right now.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Beautiful time to be in Guthrie for the time event. Awesome, thanks Kolton.
[Kolton Schmidt] Yes, thank you.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Well Kolton, thank you so much. I’m so glad we got to visit, I’m so glad we took the time to do this podcast together and I appreciate you all listening. Thank you.
About “The Score”: The Score is The Team Roping Journal’s semi-weekly podcast, highlighting the team roping industry’s top talents and influencers through stories that inspire and connect ropers. Host Chelsea Shaffer sits down with ropers from the professional ranks as well as industry icons and producers to delve into topics that make the team roping world tick. Season 2 will feature even deeper interviews, storytelling and issue-based coverage.
About The Team Roping Journal: The Team Roping Journal strives to expand and energize the team roping industry by telling dynamic stories of the people, horses and events that inspire the sport. Through engaging editorial and photography, we work to provide the necessary content for today’s team roper to maximize his or her precious time in and out of the arena. TRJ