Rodeo: Tempting fate for eight seconds of fame

Rebecca Schultze

Rebecca Schultze

On preparation for competition, Brent Smith disrobes from his Adidas shoes, loose-fitting jeans and maroon hooded sweatshirt and puts on his uniform: Wranglers and cowboy boots.

Smith, a senior advertising and marketing major, competes part-time on the Professional Bull Riders circuit. He has managed to stay injury-free, with the exception of a couple black eyes, while temping fate in eight-second intervals on the back of a bull.

Smith cannot put into words just why he straps himself to the back of a bucking bull.

“It’s somthing that comes from within and it’s hard to explain unless you try it,” he said. “Once you do it once, you want to do it again.”

Smith got his first taste of bull riding when he was 15. His older brother’s friend first ignited the spark that has fired the passion for Smith’s sport of choice.

Working around his part-time job as a deejay at the Safari Lounge, Smith practices his techniques on a machine he built an keeps in the barn at his parent’s house. Occasionally, he and five to six other guys will travel together to Sisseton or Huron to practice with actual animals.

Smith, a Brookings High School graduate, is working hard to achieve his professional bull-riding goals. He is seeking sponsors, in the hopes that he can pursue bull riding full-time upon graduating from SDSU in May.

Smith said that he will not retire from this body-bruising sport until he as given it everything that he has and has reached all of his goals.

“To compete is fine, but to compete and to win at a certain level is the best,” he said.

Smith has to work hard to dispell the stereotypes associated with rodeo athletes.

“I just like to ride bulls and that’s it,” he said in reference to his lack of an agricultural background and his atypical cowboy clothing.

“I’m a rodeo athlete, just like any other athlete. [Football players] don’t wear their footbal helmets down to the grocery store.”

Smith is looking for an opportunity to tie his career to rodeo if bull riding itself does not work out as career. The current vice president of the SDSU Advertising Club is looking at working with the advertisers for the Professional Bull Riders based in Colorado.

#1.887477:2467088824.jpg:bull.jpg:Brent Smith, senior advertising and marketing major, competes on the Professional Bull Riders circuit. Aside from bull riding, Smith also works as a deejay at the Safari Lounge.:Courtesy photo