When the National Finals Rodeo reaches its finale Saturday night, Dec. 10, the top calf roper of 2022 will be crowned.
Coming into the event, Shad Mayfield of Clovis, New Mexico, was leading Caleb Smidt of Bellville, Texas. But the defending champ has put on a clinic at the NFR, placing in every round except Round 9 and winning Rounds 1 and 2. In all, Smidt has earned $151,071 throughout the NFR. Currently, he leads 2020 World Champion Calf Roper Mayfield in the world title race by $30,650.
Ordinarily, that margin would be reachable with round money and average money. But Mayfield had a heartbreaker of a Round 9, missing with his first loop after dismounting and was unable to remount and try his second loop due to a skittish horse. The bobble took him out of the aggregate race, where he’d been sitting fourth and aimed at a $34,976 check.
Why Smidt is in the Driver’s Seat
Smidt is sitting pretty in the aggregate, with a small chance of tying Shane Hanchey’s aggregate record of 80.10 on 10 head, set in 2013. To put his name in the history books, Smidt will need a time of 6.4, which would be a new NFR record. The current arena record is 6.5, set by Trevor Brazile and Cody Ohl, and tied by Mayfield in Round 6.
In the event Smidt takes a no time, the ropers with the greatest chance of putting themselves in the picture are Mayfield and Cory Solomon, who is sitting second in the aggregate.
If Mayfield wins Round 10 for $28,913, he’ll be sitting at $298,849 in World earnings. Since has missed one calf, the likelihood of him earning an aggregate check is slim. If Smidt takes a no time in Round 10, the lowest he can drop in the aggregate is to sixth, which would still earn him $18,187. That would put his yearly earnings at $318,773.
Eight-time NFR qualifier Justin Maass weighed in on the numbers.
“Mathematically [Smidt could lose], but five guys would have to get no times,” Maass said. “I think the lottery would be easier to win.”
Heading into Round 10 Solomon is sitting second in the average. If he wins Round 10 for $28,913 and Smidt stumbles in the aggregate race, the round money and No. 1 average check would bring Solomon to $300,743.
Ahead of Round 10, Smidt has $300,586 in the bank. With Smidt’s solid performance thus far, the lowest he can drop in the aggregate is sixth, which would still earn him $18,187. This would push Smidt even further from Solomon’s grasp.
Although unlikely, there is a shred of a chance Smidt doesn’t hang on to the No. 1 spot in the world. Calfroping.com will have all the calf roping coverage following Round 10 so be sure to tune in for updates and insider bits on the Round 10 winner and World Champion.