The Wrangler Horse and Rodeo News

March 5, 2016 TW

The WRANGLER Horse and Rodeo News is an equine and rodeo publication with circulation in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota, Utah and Idaho.

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Page 47 of 104

By: Jennifer Archibald It's every rodeo cowboy's dream to someday compete amongst rodeo's heavy hitters, yet qualifying for the NFR is a long road of hardships and challenges. RFD-TV's The American offers rodeos underdogs an opportunity to do just that, inviting the top ten athletes from the PRCA, WPRA and PBR to compete against the "average Joe's" who have advanced from the Semi-Finals. Joe Schmidt, a calf roper from Belfield, N.D. and his horse 5 were fortunate enough to make the top 20 of The American Semi-Finals, allowing him to test his skills against rodeo legends Fred Whitfield, eight time World Champion and Cody Ohl, six time World Champion. "This is the first time I've ever entered a qualifier and got lucky to be here. This is the only time I've been south of Cheyenne, Wyo. for a rodeo," said Schmidt. "It's kind of exciting. It's a different world down here, they tie their calves fast. The calves are little weighing 50 to 60 pounds lighter. It's more of a speed and no mistakes game than it is at home where if you just make solid runs your going to win money, but down here, there are more ropers." Schmidt placed third in the UCR Roping Qualifier held in Mandan, N.D. in January which sent him to the Semi-Finals. He ran a 9.4 second run and a 7.9 second run, which placed him in the top 20. Unfortunately during the Saturday night round of the Semi-Finals held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, he missed his calf forfeiting his chance to win a million dollars. Ohl won the round with a 7.28 second run. "The horsepower is pretty much the only reason I'm here," said Schmidt. Every year, with more and more extremely talented, genetically engineered foals hitting the ground, the rodeo world changes and becomes even more competitive. It takes a very, very special horse to be competitive at high levels. "I had a decent year in the circuit last year but not anywhere near what Chasing Rodeo Dreams On Wild Rides and Fast Times I wanted to do and I went searching for a new horse. I ended up finding 5 in Amarillo, Texas," he said. "He's a pretty neat dude, one of the best horses I've ever got to ride." Mobster Merada, aka, 5 is an Own Son of Cats Merada with King Fritz on the bottom side. Joe travels with his wife Heidi Uecker-Schmidt who barrel races and serves as the WPRA Badlands Circuit Director. When they are not chasing their rodeo dreams the couple works on developing their breeding program. "I was fortunate enough to own the stud Gale Bebee, three time NFR qualifier, ran in rodeos and the futurities, Streaking Flipmia. He has won over $50,000 in the barrel pen before being retired due to an injury," she said. His sire is Flipmia out of Colonel Freckles and Doc O Mia and has $16,000 NCHA earnings. On the bottom side he is out of a producing daughter of Streaking Six. "His foals out of Hanson bred mares are just a cowy as they are barrel horses. They just go to chasing cattle and you can rope on all of them," said Uecker-Schmidt. The Schmidts contributes their success to their parents who have been "above and beyond" supportive of their rodeo dreams. "It's something we've been working on our whole lives. We're not going to give up anytime soon. We're going to keep working on it and see where we get in the next few years," she said.

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