Lexee Jo Barvian started riding horses before she could stand on her own two feet, but these days the 18-year-old from Attica, New York, does […]
Featured Athlete: Jimmie Smith
Written by: Ruth Nicolaus< Back to Articles
Jimmie Smith is just glad to be alive, literally.
In late June of this year, she was in a bad vehicle accident on Interstate 80 in Wyoming.
Her trailer, loaded with horses, was hit by a semi-truck and trailer, which nearly pushed it through the back of the truck. One of her horses died, with the others being injured.
But the Elgin, Texas cowgirl determined to not dwell on it, and even with having to connect with new horses, she finished in the top 20 in the WPRA world standings.
A member of the 5 Star Equine team, Jimmie exclusively uses 5 Star saddle pads. As a barrel racer and a breakaway roper, the pads are on both her rope and barrel horses.
“I really like them because they keep my horses sound and happy and they never have sore backs,” she said. “I can also customize them, exactly how I want them to match each horse.” She uses a 7/8 inch barrel pad and a 1 inch pad for her breakaway horses.
She confesses that she doesn’t clean the pads often, but even then, they are easy to maintain and stay “super, super nice.”
Jimmie also uses the breast collars and loves the variety 5 Star Equine offers. At the 2020 Wrangler NFR, she used several that she was able to match with her outfits and saddle pads. “I really like the bright colors,” she said, “the pink, turquoise, and purple.”
A graduate of Texas A&M University, she competed at the College National Finals Rodeo three years in the breakaway, goat tying and barrel racing.
She was aboard her horse Lena, and after college graduation in 2018, got her card and rodeoed on the palomino. Lena carried Jimmie to the Rookie of the Year title that year, and two years later, to the Wrangler NFR.
She ran Lena and her other barrel horse, Minnie, and breakaway roped, too.
But the accident changed that.
“It was not good,” she said. “It was very stressful.” Not only did a horse pass away and the others were injured, but she had to find a new truck and trailer and all the things that go in it.
“It was a lot of regrouping,” she said. But she was determined to go on. “It was difficult, but I did not ever go home. I didn’t think going home to sit on it and think about it and dwell on it was the best choice, so I stayed” on the road.
To replace her horses, she borrowed some mounts while her mom took horses home to recuperate.
One of the barrel horses she borrowed is Manny Dot Com, “Viper,” owned by Lance Robinson and Keith Nellesen. Viper has done well, substituting for Lena, and winning second at Colorado Springs, third at Nampa, Idaho, and her set in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
She is also on A Valiant Nicky, a horse owned by Kyle and Deda Potter, and one she rode last winter.
Having to borrow horses was difficult, but a blessing, she said. “It’s opened a lot of amazing doors, and I’ve met some incredible people. The horses I have out here are absolutely phenomenal.”
This year, Tess Wyley has traveled with her, and the two enjoy coffee and any kind of music, to get through the long miles of travel. Jimmie likes her coffee sweet and her music loud.
She also enjoys sushi and trying out new sushi restaurants. Austin, Texas, near her hometown, has several good places, but she’s found excellent sushi in Seattle and at Dave’s Sushi in Bozeman, Montana. She’ll eat raw fish but not cooked fish. “It’s weird, but I don’t really like cooked fish.”
She has also worked as a stunt double in the AMC TV series “The Sun”. Filmed in central Texas and the Boerne/San Antonio area, she was on horseback for some of the scenes. Jimmie was asked to double for the part of a 12-year-old, because of her youthful looks.
She may not have made the 2021 National Finals, but she’s content with how well she did this year, having a major accident and changing horses in mid-stream.
A friend reminded her she was fortunate to be alive. “It’s a blessing that I’ve done as well as I have,” she said.
Jimmie’s mother is Dawn Smith; Dawn’s fiancé is Jonathan Hochman.