Caleb Smidt’s Favorite Roping Bits
Saying Caleb Smidt has acquired "a few bits over the years" might be an understatement.
Caleb Smidt stands in front of his bit collection.
Caleb Smidt's impressive bit collection. (And this is only one wall.)

Three-time world champion tie-down roper Caleb Smidt has an enviable collection of bits, each with its own story and purpose. Here he shares a few of his favorite bits and bit makers.

Caleb Smidt stands in front of his collection of bits.
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John Israel bit

This bit is probably the coolest I have. He says he was 92 when he made it. I use that on Pockets about 90 percent of the time—a fat bit with a little hump in it.

Ron Tollison bits

I ride with a lot of correction-type bits on Pockets. I like the Ron Tollison bits; they’re copies of Klapper bits. I have a Ron Tollison correction bit with the rings, a little dogbone one, a whole collection.

Tommy Blessing bits

I like Blessing’s chain ports. There’s a long shank one for the yellow horse I was riding and the one I use on Pockets has just a little port.

For riding colts

I have a bunch of bits for riding colts and working cows. Gag bits. Snaffle bits. I like riding a lot of them with leather curb chains. Whatever keeps them soft.

For green horses

On a green horse, I ride with a snaffle bit. When I switch them over from a snaffle bit to a real bit, I might ride them with a little Dutton or a gag dogbone. They’re just real soft and I’ll usually put a leather curb chain on because they aren’t used to a real curb chain yet.

For a finished horse

I really like my Kerry Kelly bit. I ride it on my bay mare a lot. When we go to ranch rodeos, this is my favorite bit. It’s short-shanked because we get to chasing a lot of wild, fast stuff and I don’t want to be too heavy-handed.

When you need something a little ranker

This one bit I have, you gotta be really mad at a horse to ride in it. I don’t even know who made it, but it’s got a girl’s leg on it, so that’s pretty cool.

For Caleb Smidt’s complete tour of his favorite bits, tie-downs and more, watch the full video on

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