story by Lindsay Humphrey “Not a lot of people know that I have a step-dad,” said 17-year-old Savannah Wilson from Midland, Texas. “He came into […]
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Meet the Member: Wren Smith
story by Lily Weinacht
Wren Smith, an eight-year-old rodeo competitor from Cleburne, Texas, already has several rodeo titles to her name. These include the 2015 World Champion Barrel Racing and Reserve World Champion Pole Bending titles in the AJRA’s 8 & Under division, which she captured with the help of her 26-year-old mare, Sunny. Wren’s hard work throughout the 2015 rodeo season sent her home with her first trophy saddle, and no one could have been more surprised at the outcome than her. “Wren knew she was doing good going into the finals, but she didn’t have a clue that she’d won,” says Wren’s mom, Jill Smith. “When she found out, she had the most genuine smile on her face.”
Wren is the third generation of her family to rodeo, initiated into the sport by her parents, Bryan and Jill Smith. In the past, she’s competed in the CTYRA, TJRA, and the Pro-Youth Rodeo Association, but now focuses primarily on the AJRA. “I compete in barrel racing, pole bending, and goat tying, but barrels are my favorite,” says Wren. “I like that I don’t have to get off my horse, and he’s a lot of fun to ride.” She and her sister, Koel (six), practice three to four days a week, coached by their parents. “Practice makes you do perfect, and I like having the chance to win more in rodeo,” Wren explains. She looks up to a multitude of barrel racers, and is following the progress of ERA barrel racer Chayni Chamberlain, whom Wren competed with in the AJRA for a season.
The Smith family makes their home in the country outside of Cleburne, where they have two dogs, two goats, and too many horses to count, according to Wren. Her barrel and pole horse, Sunny, has become Koel’s mount in those events, while Wren now rides a 15-year-old bay, Casino. “Scooter is my goat tying horse, and he’s the best horse I’ve ever ridden,” Wren describes. “I’ve been riding him since I was two or three, so I know him pretty well.” One of her favorite chores is saddling horses, but she also enjoys playing with her dogs, Sassy and Sugar.
Wren recently finished second grade at Grandview Elementary, where she is an A Honor Roll student. She’s also been on the University Interscholastic League (UIL) in story re-tell. “That’s where someone tells me a story, and then I tell it back to them in an emotional way,” Wren explains. “I also like to make up stories, mostly in my head, but sometimes I write them down.” She plays basketball with her school, and is a member of the ZZ Skippers Jump Rope Team. The team performs jump rope tricks and routines, often during halftime at basketball games in the area. Furthermore, Wren does gymnastics with her school, and likes to use any extra time in the day to ride four wheelers down to the pasture to check on horses, or drive through the mud after it rains. “We also go to Florida every year, and we’ll bring another family with us,” she adds. “We play on the beach and swim in the pool and the ocean, plus the house where we stay has bunk beds!”
The rest of Wren’s summer is devoted to rodeo, and she’s working to win more titles. “When I grow up, I’m going to be a doctor, and I’m going to college at University of Alabama where I’ll college rodeo,” she says. “I’d like to thank God for everything I have, and my sponsors, Equidite, Running ‘P’ Ropes, and our vet, Doctor Youngblood.”