Theresa Tayler/Metro Calgary
Jennifer Smith vowed she would never marry “a rodeo guy.”
As Miss Rodeo America 1995 and a successful broadcast journalist who covers North American rodeo, she had met her fair share of bronc and bull riders as well as calf ropers — she was convinced they were not her type.
“I swore I wouldn’t fall for one,” Jennifer told Metro on Sunday as she prepared her family’s trailer for the next move, a rodeo in Idaho they will drive all night to get to.
Jennifer couldn’t have been more wrong about falling for a rodeo man, she ended up marrying Stran Smith, a tie down roper from Texas, in 2001.
“Thank goodness Stran is in an event that isn’t that dangerous,” says Jennifer. “There’s the athletic danger, but the real danger is on the road, you have to drive all night and you spend hours on the highway for much of the year.”
Jennifer says her husband spends about 275 days a year on the road moving from rodeo to rodeo, she and their two sons Scout, (19 months) and Stone (3 years old) are with him for most of those trips.
They drive a high-tech RV with the horse trailer towed behind and the two boys are used to spending summer on the road going rodeo to rodeo.
She says at times it’s exhausting, but the most important thing for her and Stran is that they keep the family together.
“The boys really need their father, and Stran needs us for his own mental well being,” says Jennifer.
“It’s not easy, I mean we don’t get paid unless Stran wins, you just live by a lot of faith, I pray every time he rides.”
The Smith’s RV is equip with everything from bedrooms to a crock pot, Jennifer says home-cooked meals are key to keeping Stran and her boys healthy on the long road trips across North America.