Shane Smith Takes Early Lead in Maple Leaf Circuit Calf Roping
Canada’s Shane Smith has been shaking up the Maple Leaf Circuit standings early in the season, with aspirations of finishing out the season on a high note.
Shane Smith calf roping at Lea Park, June 2024.
Shane Smith rides 2023 Tie-Down Roping Horse of the Year to the win at Lea Park in June 2024. By Chantelle Bowman

As warm weather arrives in the Great White North, Canadian cowboys are trading in the indoor hockey rink pens for outdoor arenas with the official start of the summer run, and Wimborne, Alberta’s Shane Smith is in the early lead with $13,078.47 won in the Maple Leaf Circuit.

With an already established $3,000 lead as of June 17, 2024, Smith is looking to add a fifth trip to the Canadian finals.

“It’s pretty cool,” Smith said about leading the circuit standings. “It’s been a pretty good this year.” 

Making a go of it

Smith split the win with Clay McNichol at April’s Spring Break Up Rodeo in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, each with a 8.3-second run, worth $2,556.77 a man. Then, he hit at rodeos like the Taber (Alberta) Spring Classic Rodeo, the Kananaskis Pro Rodeo in Coleman, Alberta, the Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement (Alberta) Rodeo and the Grande Prairie (Alberta) Stompede, giving himself a strong foundation and start to the rodeo season.

The 26-year-old added $2,886.43 to his earnings after splitting the win with JT Adamson at the Lea Park Rodeo in Marwayne, Alberta, held June 7-9, 2024, each with a 9.3-second run, on a fresh pen of calves.

“The cows were running hard up there,” said Smith, who took to calf roping like his professional tie-down roper dad, Garnet Smith, and his cousins who rope calves, too. “I had a pretty good calf and got a good start. I just kind of tied her down.”

The Lea Park Rodeo is also part of the SMS Equipment Pro Rodeo Tours in Canada, which includes a list of some of the largest ProRodeos in Canada. Now, Smith is leading the tour standings with 330 points.

Rope the “Moon”

Smith, who works on the family farm when he’s not rodeoing, is earning ProRodeo money and points aboard the Canadian Circuit’s 2023 Tie-Down Roping Horse of the Year, El Rey De La Luna. Smith purchased “Moon” from Gail Turner in Oklahoma.

“I’ve had him since he was 8,” Smith said of the now 15-year-old sorrel gelding. “Me and my little brother, Jason, pretty much ride him every tour rodeo and the good rodeos up here.”

El Rey De La Luna bloodlines

With a sturdy horse beneath him and more miles to go before the ProRodeo season ends, Smith plans to qualify for the Canadian Finals Rodeo, in Edmonton, Alberta, Oct. 2-5, 2024, and the Maple Leaf Circuit Finals in Agribition, Regina, Saskatchewan, Nov. 27-30, 2024, with aspirations of qualifying to compete at the 2025 NFR Open in Colorado Springs. Regarding long term goals, Smith aims to win the Canadian Finals.

“We get to go to about 50 or so ProRodeos a year that are about six hours from the house,” he said. “I’ll go to Calgary and the circuit finals up here. Then I’ll go down to Cheyenne (Wyoming) and those [rodeos].”

Current Maple Leaf Circuit Top 10 Standings

  1. Shane Smith, Wimborne, Alberta, $13,078.47
  2. Logan Bird, Nanton, Alberta, $9,891.52
  3. Tyler Popsecul, Medicine Hat, Alberta, $8,362.79
  4. Kyle Lucas, Carstairs, Alberta, $8,217.60
  5. Riley Wakefield, O’Neill, Nebraska, $7,588.91
  6. Clay Elliott, Nanton, Alberta, $6,743.72
  7. Ben Robinson, Red Deer County, Alberta, $6,552.69
  8. Jesse Popsecul, Glenworth, Saskatchewan, $6,414.44
  9. Stran Dunham, Souris, Manitoba, $5,479.84
  10. Walker Warkentin, Calmar, Alberta, $5,359.51

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