"It's never over until the last calf has been tied." This is the quote of many seasoned match spectators, contestants, and fans.
In a solid head-to-head event Ryan Jarrett (RJ) matched Caleb Smidt on Saturday October 26th in the outdoor Fiesta arena. Both men are recognized as World Champion ropers and considered to be some of the best to compete in the Tie-Down arena. Smidt's second calf was long at 14.0, but nothing that couldn't be overcome. As the match drifted toward the midway point, RJ was as consistent as always. No errors and he was creating a good lead. RJ's 5th calf was a little long, but in an event like this, each roper will have to deal with the exact same calves somewhere during the match. At the halfway point, it was Jarrett leading by 6.1 seconds with a cumulative time of 66.5 and Smidt at 72.6. Runs on the 2nd and 6th calves for Smidt accounted for over 5 seconds of the gap.
Calves 8 and 9 for Smidt were runs just behind the pace of Jarrett's same runs. At the start of the 10th calf RJ had an almost insurmountable 10 second lead. If all things stayed equal, Smidt would need to make up 5 seconds per run to catch up. But then hard luck have it's due. RJ's 10th calf ran hard and moved to the left fence. He had to throw across, in front, to his left and he missed. Using his second loop he tied the calf in 22.8. When this 10th set of calves finished Smidt was now a full 2 seconds faster in the aggregate. Then it was all business for Smidt. He added a couple more seconds of lead on the final two head to be a 148.1 on 12 head. Jarrett was a 152.3 on 12. Smidt would be the winner of the $20,000 and the custom made Lee Bloodworth commemorative buckle.
This year was a great rematch of 2017. The closest battle between two match ropers in several years and it was exciting to watch. In the end it is an honor to host this match and watch two great competitors battle for the title of San Angelo Roping Fiesta Match Champion 2019.