Most Viewed Stories
Local woman making her name in rodear
At first glance the word looks like a typo. After all, this part of the state has a rich rodeo tradition — spelled with an "o."
But the word here is rodear — with an "ar" — and if you haven't heard of it before, Richfield resident Cassie Smith hopes to change that.
Rodear, as defined by the Rodear America Cowdog Association, is a Spanish word that means "to circle something." The high desert cowboys of Nevada and California call it rodearing the cattle when they gather them out on the range and work them. Some have learned to use dogs to hole the rodear and get by with a lot less people. Accomplished dog handlers can actually use their dog to come into the herd with them and push a cow out to the cut herd and hold the cut as well.
That's where the sport or rodearing comes in, and where the 22-year-old Smith excels.
"It's a cowdog competition that involves a horse, a rider and a dog. You start off with a run of 8-10 minutes, and you have to sort off three cows from the herd, complete the sort and start the course," Smith explained.
"The dog and rider's goal is to correctly direct the cattle through a series of obstacles, get full points on all obstacles and to do it in an allotted amount of time. If your time runs out, that's it."
One part of the sport Smith really enjoys is that you don't need to have been "born on a horse" in order to participate.
"I didn't grow up on a ranch, and I've only had cattle for two or three years — as long as you have a dog and a horse, anybody can rodear," she explained.
Smith also likes that the sport is as easy on the cattle as it is fun. "We're very pro-stockmanship and low-stress cattle handling — doing our best to keep stock low-stressed and in good health. You can compete with animals and have fun, but also handle them properly."
While she's advanced rapidly in the fledgling sport, Smith has not been competing that long.
"Merle and Sandi Newton, who run Crystal Rose Cow Dog College in Red Bluff, got me into it when they introduced me to it in April," Smith said. "I started in novice in June and got bumped up to intermediate, and I have a puppy in training."
She practices with the Newtons, with much of the practice sessions focused on keeping the dog in tune with the commands. She's already in tune with Smarty, the 9-year-old border collie that will accompany her to the Grand National Rodeo Oct. 18-19, and Oct. 25-26 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Smith will compete on Oct. 19.
She quickly pointed out, "We're 'at' the Grand Nationals, but it's not the Grand Nationals for rodear — at this point there is no Grand Nationals for rodearing. We do hope that as interest and participation in rodear grows, that it will soon have a finals and eventually, a national finals."
Either way, Smith is having a grand time riding, and recommends attending a rodear event, saying, "We try to make it exciting for spectators, and we have announcers telling folks what's going on."
There will be a great opportunity Oct. 26 at the Tehama District Fairgrounds in Red Bluff, as there will be a "Paws for a Cause" rodear event to benefit the back to school program.
Entry forms for future rodear events are available online at www.rodearamerica.com.
CONTACT Craig Purcell at 824-1036 or email@example.com