For most high school seniors, their idea of a dream senior trip involves water in some form or fashion such as a trip to the beach or maybe even a cruise.
Cody Smith, who recently moved his tassel at Prairie View Academy, isn't your ordinary senior. Smith's graduation wish will be fulfilled July 14-21, when he travels to Rock Springs, Wyo., for the National High School Finals Rodeo.
Punching his ticket to the world's largest rodeo for the second straight year, Smith won the Louisiana High School Finals Rodeo in bareback bronc riding last week in Lake Charles.
Needing to finish in the top four to qualify for the NHSFR, Smith won the state event by winning the first go-round and placing second in the final two-go rounds. He was the only contestant to stay aboard his horse in all three rounds.
“I had a good week,” said Smith, who finished second in the final overall standings for the season for the second straight year. “I was pretty consistent.”
Smith finished the week with the highest average score and added three belt buckles to his ever-growing collection.
Smith has been longing for a return trip to the NHSFR since placing 32nd out of 218 riders at last year's event in Gillette, Wyo.
“I've been wanting to go back to Wyoming ever since last year,” Smith said. “Rock Springs is probably about an hour and a half or two hours west of Gillette.”
This time around, Smith has a better idea of what to expect in a rodeo that attracts contestants from all 50 states and countries from around the globe.
“I remember how nervous I was last year,” Smith admitted. “Having been there before should take some of the jitters away. You're competing against 250 riders and everybody is pretty much equal. It's kind of hard to show up your first time and have a level head about it.”
In an effort to stay sharp for the NHSFR, Smith says he will continue to compete every weekend leading up to the big week.
“I haven't called to enter anything, but I'll be riding somewhere this weekend,” Smith said. “The only way (to practice) is to go get on horses, really.”
Prairie View seniors Colton Boseman and Caleb Parrott also qualified for the LHSFR in team roping, but did not qualify for the national rodeo.