Rodeo Team Alumnus Wins Second Consecutive NFR Championship Title
Dec. 13, 2022
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd
Caleb Smidt has been involved in rodeos since he was a child, a common theme among arena legends across the nation. His early start motivated young Smidt and set him on the path to study agricultural business and join the rodeo team at Sam Houston State University.
He was recruited from Wharton County Junior College in 2010 by Bubba Miller, coach of the SHSU rodeo team based on his already outstanding winning record. After joining the team, Smidt and his wife, Brenna (Byler) Smidt, helped put SHSU on top by winning the College National Finals Championship Team title in 2011 and 2012.
“Caleb was the kid at practice that was always there for business,” Miller said. “He would always come and get what he needed out of practice, he wasn’t the kid that wanted to hang out. Caleb would come and do what he needed to be the winner. You could always bet that he was going to be precise.”
Miller says this precision has helped Smidt throughout his professional rodeo career in which he has won numerous awards and recognitions.
“Caleb’s focus and drive is like no other student athlete’s that I’ve ever seen. Now he’s a four-time world champion because of how focused and driven he is,” Miller said.
Even though he is now a renowned tie-down roping champion, Smidt has never forgotten his roots. Just last year, he and Brenna returned to Huntsville to celebrate with the rodeo team during the team’s annual crawfish boil.
Of course, Smidt is not the only SHSU alumni to make it big in the rodeo world and will certainly not be the last. Jake Orman (’15) was also in the arena in Nevada for the championship, a representation of the university rodeo program’s success. As he looks forward, Miller is excited to train more rodeo stars in the upcoming Agricultural Complex to be located at Gibbs Ranch.
“There’s no doubt the impact we’re going to have from recruiting and accessibility and to have a covered arena to practice in during bad weather days,” Miller said. “A lot of the different things we implemented in this practice facility are really going to bring in a whole wealth of rodeo athletes to Sam Houston and we’ll get to see more of these champions arise from that population.”
Smidt’s wins include 1st place in the 2021 world standings, 1st place in the Wrangler NFR standings, 4 world titles in 2015, 2018, 2021 and 2022, two Wrangler NFR average titles in 2015 and 2018, nine Wrangler NFR Qualifications in 2013, 2015-19 and 2021. A full list of his achievements can be found on the ProRodeo website.
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