They aren’t cowboys competing for points, but without them there would be no competitor. They’re the stock contractor and announcers.
Once again, the Salt River Rodeo Company will be providing the livestock for the Spring Rodeo.
Payson Pro Rodeo Committee President John Landino said the Gary Hardt Memorial Spring Rodeo will enjoy the talents of announcers Reed Flake and Rob Smets.
Flake grew up working cattle and horses for his family ranch. Later, he went to Ricks College where he received a degree in ranch management.
Flake has been announcing rodeos for more than 20 years. He has announced such events as the National High School Finals, the National Jr. High Finals, the Turquoise Circuit Finals, the USTRC Finals and the George Strait Team Roping.
Flake and his wife, Amy, reside in Snowflake, Ariz., where they have lived for most of their marriage.
Smets is known professionally as The Kamikaze Kid, and is a color commentator for the Professional Bull Riders tour and a former five-time Wrangler World Champion bullfighter.
He was born in Palo Alto, Calif., but as a child lived in Thailand, Singapore, Puerto Rico and Australia before returning to San Martin, Calif. as a teenager and attended Palma High School in Salinas.
As a sophomore, he started entering high school rodeos.
While bull riding as a teenager, he taunted some of the bullfighters for not protecting riders well enough after the riders fell. They challenged him to try being a bullfighter himself, which he did.
He made a name for himself early on, distracting bulls after riders had fallen, so the riders could leave the ring safely. During the 19 years of the Wrangler Jeans World Bullfighting Championship from 1981-2000, Smets was a top-6 finisher 17 times. He also won the championship five times — a record.
Smets was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in April of 2010.
He retired from bullfighting in 2006, after breaking his neck for the third time. Smets and his wife, Carla, married in 1993, and they have four daughters. They live on a ranch in Shamrock, Texas.