GUNNISON, Colo. – The volunteers that organize the Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo work hard annually to make it one of the best.
“One of the biggest things we have is our stock contractor, Stace Smith,” said Margo Patton Blair, president of Cattlemen’s Days. “Stace Smith is one of the greatest producers in rodeo, and the proof is in the number of times he’s been named stock contractor of the year.”
For 11 straight years – from 2004 to 2014 – Smith was named the No. 1 livestock producer in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. He and his crew will return to Gunnison for this year’s rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, July 13, to Saturday, July 15, at Fred Field Western Center in Gunnison.
“The record speaks for itself,” said Andy Stewart, the longtime announcer of the Cattlemen’s Days rodeo. “Stace Smith Pro Rodeo has great production and a really good crew. Everybody that works for Stace is a professional; it increases the quality of production, which I feel is extremely important in the world of rodeo.”
Rodeo is a combination of family-friendly entertainment and world-class competition, and the Smith crew works hard to make sure all aspects are handled well.
“We’re in the business to entertain crowds and put on a good rodeo,” said Cody Kidd, general manager for Smith’s firms, which also includes Smith, Harper & Morgan. “We try to bring the best stock we can to every rodeo we do, because we want to attract the best cowboys and give them the best shot to win. The other part of what we do is that we’re entertainment, which is why we have pyrotechnics and a laser light show.”
Virtually every year, more than a dozen Smith animals are selected to perform at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. It’s that type of superstar animal athlete power that helps draw the top contestants to Gunnison.
“Stace Smith has great stock,” Stewart said. “That firm is extremely well known throughout the industry. The main thing I like about Smith Pro Rodeo is the pride they take into what they do. He’s going to come out and put on the best show possible.
“Those guys definitely have a sense of professionalism and pride in what they do.”
The staff also works with some of the greatest bucking animals in the game. Last year, Smith had seven horses and seven bulls that performed at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
That’s the type of animal power that fans get to see in Gunnison every year.
“The stock is always great there,” Stewart said. “The mountains offer an awesome setting, and the animals love the weather. They are lights out every night.”
And when the lights go down on the final night of the rodeo each year, fans know they got something special out of Cattlemen’s Days and Stace Smith Pro Rodeo.