By Lindsey Fancher Fifteen gallons of chocolate milk is what fueled Joshua (Jimmy) Love to Junior High Nationals all the way from Eaton, CO to […]
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Meet the Member Cooper Smith
story by Lily Weinacht
Cooper Smith from Penrose, Colorado, started rodeoing when he was four, and this summer he accomplished one of his goals of competing at the NJHFR. “I had a lot of fun, and getting that accomplishment done and being able to rodeo there is a big deal,” says the 13-year-old. Just before the NJHFR, his family had a house fire, so Cooper traveled to Nationals with his grandparents while his mom, Crissy, took care of things at home. Cooper qualified in bareback steer riding and team roping with heeler Seth Anderson, while he also competes in chute dogging, goat tying, tie-down roping, and dally ribbon roping with Makaylee Fischer. “My favorite is probably calf roping. It’s fun when you can see a horse you’ve worked a lot with work for you. Rodeo is part of our lifestyle, and I just love doing it. I couldn’t live without doing it, and I try to be on a horse 24/7 doing something.”
His main rope horse, Lena, pulled her stifle this year but will be ready to ride for fall rodeos. While she was recuperating, Cooper rode Lil’ Roy this summer in the tie-down and dally ribbon roping. The 10-year-old gelding knew roping, but Cooper is finishing him this year. “I rope off of Yellow in the team roping, and I use Festus for goats. A friend of ours, Aaron, let me ride his horse all year because my other horse Red was crippled and he’s going to be retired now.
“Dave Hoffman has helped me out a lot in the bareback steers, and my mom, Crissy, helps me a lot. My Granddad, Charlie Smith, rode roughstock and team roped, and my Nana, Eva Smith, team roped and breakaway roped. She was the world champion breakaway roper in 1988 for the All-Girls Rodeo Association. My Uncle Darell and Aunt Kal help with mounting me and my brothers on horses and make sure we’re always riding something.”
Cooper is one of four boys in his family, and he’s team roping with his younger brother Chestin in the CJHSRA this season. Their older brother, Riley, competes in bull riding and team roping in the CSHSRA and won the average at state in the bull riding this year, while their youngest brother, Rozyn, just started junior rodeoing. “We rodeo together most of the time, and we all coach each other and help each other along,” says Cooper. Their whole family, including Cooper’s grandparents and aunts and uncles, also enjoy hunting together.
An eighth-grader at Freemont Middle School this fall, Cooper does well in math and just started football practice with the Freemont Huskies. “I cowboy a lot for people – I help move cows and brand – and I’m starting to learn to shoe horses,” Cooper adds. “I’ll mainly do the junior high rodeos, and I’ll probably do Little Britches this year. I won two saddles when I was a Little Wrangler in barrels and goats. I want to win the state finals with my brother, and try to go to Nationals in all the events I do,” he finishes. “I’d like to thank everybody that’s helped me get this far rodeoing and taken the time to get me to this place. I thank God that he’s blessed me with a mom to haul me up and down the road, and my Nana and Granddad for hauling me to Nationals.”