While it is not always welcomed by all, change is inevitable. For 2012 Cheyenne Frontier Days made a change to a tradition that has gone back 35 years. In 1976 Harry Vold, “the Duke of the Chutes,” and 11 time PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year, became the Stock Contractor for Frontier Days. Harry Vold is a legend. He has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of at least nine organizations including the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and the Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame. Harry Vold was also inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Okla., and named The ProRodeo Hall of Fame Legend of Rodeo.
In 1976, when Harry Vold took over as Stock Contractor, Cheyenne Frontier Days was in its 80th year. It is now in its 116th year and the rodeo committee decided it was time for a change. If you are going to replace a legend, it had better be with someone that is really good. Stace Smith has not reached “legend” status yet, but he is on his way, and right now, Smith is very,very good!
“We have really big boots to fill at Cheyenne and we don’t take that responsibility lightly,” said Smith. “There are thousands of volunteers that are committed to making the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo the absolute best. That’s our goal too. We appreciate everyone’s efforts and are looking forward to working with them.”
Stace Smith owns Smith Pro Rodeos and is headquartered in Athens, Texas. His background in rodeo includes contestant, chute boss and pickup man. In 2007, which is well into his career as a stock contractor, Smith was selected as pickup man for the Texas Circuit Finals.
The accolades and awards that Stace Smith and Smith Pro Rodeos have accumulated are far too numerous to list here, but there are a couple of things that stand out. In 2001 Smith had the PRCA Bull of the Year — Copenhagen Hurricane. Three short years later, in 2004, Stace Smith was named the PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year — and, he has been named the PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year every year since through 2011.
Another award that Smith Pro Rodeos has won in 2004 and 2005 is the PRCA Remuda Stock Award. The public does not hear too much about this award, but it says a lot about the foundation of Smith Pro Rodeos. The PRCA Remuda Stock Award is presented at the WNFR and is voted on by the NFR bareback and saddle bronc riders, which represent the top 15 in each discipline. They vote to determine the stock contractor that brings the best stock to the rodeo events throughout the year.
Even though Stace Smith has 321 head of horses in its bucking horse program and hauls about 140 head on the road, there are events like Cheyenne Frontier Days that are just too large for one contractor, and then the primary stock contractor will call in another contractor to help out. Smith was not messing around when he contacted Hal Burns of the Burns Rodeo Company in Laramie, Wyo. Burns Rodeo is known to have outstanding bucking horses and their bulls are best described as being “down right mean.”
Rorey Lemmel, general manager for Smith ProRodeo added, “Cheyenne Frontier Days is an American icon. Smith Pro Rodeos along with their partners and friends plan on bringing all of their firepower to insure it’s the greatest rodeo in the world.”
If Stace Smith wanted to make an impression with his first CFD Rodeo, he did a good job. The roughstock was fantastic — there were some big rides on top animals and a lot of cowboys hitting the dirt. Stace Smith, and Smith Pro Rodeos, certainly has the potential to start his own 35 year tradition at Cheyenne Frontier Days. ❖
“Cheyenne Frontier Days is an American icon. Smith Pro Rodeos along with their partners and friends plan on bringing all of their firepower to insure it’s the greatest rodeo in the world.”
~ Rorey Lemmel, general manager for Smith ProRodeo