Litchville's Smith brothers enjoy riding for hometown crowd
Working the rodeo circuit, it's rare that Taryl and Tate Smith have a chance to showcase their talents for a hometown crowd.
For that reason, the annual North Dakota Winter Show PRCA rodeo gave the Litchville brothers a reason to be excited.
"It's one of the nicest feelings in the world," said Taryl, 22. "You want to impress them more than you want to impress anyone else."
For the two, the crowd had no issue being impressed as each of them hopped on a large bull, got released from the chute and hung on as well as they could.
Bull riding has become the family's sport of choice. The brothers, including Tate, 19, both are regulars at PRCA events after following the lead of their father, who was a bull rider.
Living on a ranch, the brothers grew up riding calves. Taryl was the first to get onto a bull, he estimates at age 11. Tate took some convincing.
"I was always planning on being a team roper but (Taryl) kept calling me a little wuss because I didn't want to ride bulls," Tate said.
Taryl didn't let up.
"He used to want to team rope and I always knew deep down he wanted to ride the bull, so I just kept (telling him) 'Just get on a couple, you'll like it," Taryl said. "He finally decided it was what he wanted to do and he was good at it."
It's a partnership that's helped out as they progress in the sport.
The brothers travel together and are always looking to help each other along the way.
"It's nice to travel with your family because you can get down and tell them exactly what's going on," Taryl said. "You don't have to worry about hurting anything because you're always going to be related. It always helps to travel with family."
That said, there are moments of panic.
Just a few weeks ago, the brothers were riding at a rodeo. Tate got bucked by his bull and then got stomped on. As he was getting out of the area, he collapsed.
"He was right up after me and he thought I was dead out there," Tate said.
Though it turned out to be a minor injury — he passed out and was short of breath — it left Taryl a little shaky.
"You want to see who turned whiter faster, it was probably me more than him," Taryl said.
But the moments like those don't keep the brothers down. Both live for the adrenaline fueled moments that come with sport.
"There ain't nothing in the world that can match the feel of a 1,200 or 1,300 pound bull under you," Taryl said. "Go jump in the car, let it roll over and that'll be what it feels like when you're done. It's just that much fun to get out and do it."