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Meet the Member Clete Schmidt
story by Lindsay Welchel
For Clete Schmidt, director of stock contracting for the Northwest Ranch Cowboys Association, the roots of rodeo run deep.
His dad rodeoed, and so naturally, Clete started getting on sheep and calves at a young age, before moving on to saddle broncs. He also roped in high school and went on to college rodeo as well before making his way in the amateur and pro circuits, mainly as a saddle bronc rider.
And even though the ranching business was more lucrative and he returned home from the rodeo road to work, Clete didn’t want to leave rodeo behind and took up stock contracting, a business he’d already begun to form while he was a contestant.
“My brother and I needed some practice horses when we were in high school so we were bucking some of my dad’s broodmares, and then we just bought a bucking horse stud and started breeding them to start our own little rodeo string,” he says of the beginnings of Schmidt Rodeo Company.
They’ve been furnishing horses for years now, mostly as a subcontractor for NRCA and SDRA rodeos and the year-end finals. The lifestyle post-competition days has remained rewarding to Clete.
“I usually pickup most of our rodeos also, so that’s always the fun part too, just being in the atmosphere of it still when you’re not riding anymore,” he says citing the benefits and adding that rodeo is a good place to make friends and even have business opportunities to sell horses.
“It’s just a good life. It’s kind of like ranching, you’re just kind of your own boss. If you can take care of your stuff you can do good with it.”
Clete met his wife Kristy way back in grade school, and they remained close through high school and college. They married seven years ago and have a little boy, Casen, 6 and girl Kyler, 3.
Working the ranch, rodeo and being involved in the kids’ activities keeps the family busy, and they wouldn’t have it any other way Clete says.
“We try to take the kids on a [yearly] camping trip, so other than rodeo, that’s about the only time we get away from home,” Clete laughs and adds of the kids’ involvement in ranch life, “They ride with us whenever we can at home, we try to involve them with everything we do.”
So again, it’s only natural that Casen and Kyler would gravitate to rodeo like their parents and have begun to venture into the arena in youth rodeos and events.
No doubt, the sport will come full circle for Clete and Schmidt Rodeo Co.