Sometimes nice guys do finish first.
In a "me first" society, how refreshing it is to see someone with the character and strength of Stran T Smith win at the highest level.
If you had to go out amongst the people of Childress and select the best ambassador to represent us all, you could not go wrong with Stran. Thankfully, he already does a fantastic job in that regard as he's been putting us on the map for years.
As Stran told me yesterday, only 320 people on the planet have ever won a gold buckle in the PRCA's 50-year history. He is one of a very elite club.
Stran and wife Jennifer have teamed up once again to let the world know that if people like them live in little old Childress, we must have a pretty good place here.
It is a thrill to watch Stran rope and Jennifer interview during the NFR each year. This year was different however. This year we had the pleasure of seeing the two of them in the moment. A moment which will last in our memories for the rest of our lives.
The Smiths are a strong couple. Like most of us, they've endured the ups and downs of life, they just have the misfortune of being very high profile while doing it. It is something they handle with class and dignity.
In Stran's rodeo career, he's nearly been killed in a tragic wreck which took the life of his best friend, he's been seriously injured and he's suffered a stroke, after which he was told he'd never rope again.
Just as he's done his entire career, Stran got up from each setback, dusted himself off and got back in the saddle.
All week Stran flew under the radar. The commentators spoke of this roper and that roper having a shot at the championship, but Stran's name was rarely mentioned. I guess he had them right where he wanted them.
Stran roped well during the NFR putting himself in great position to win the average and finish in the top three in the world. But what he needed to win the whole thing was a heck of a time Saturday. He did just that, finishing second with a 7.2 to put him on top. It all fell into place for him in his tenth NFR.
Stran is one of those people who makes us all feel like winners when they win. We hope and pray for him, cheer him on and feel great when he wins. But this is different. This is huge. Stran is the very best in the world and he's coming home to Childress to share that title with his hometown.
Congratulations to Stran T on a job well done. And thank you for representing Childress in a way we can all be proud of.
Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2008