A young Council Grove cowboy has proven to be one of the outstanding young guns in the country.
Twelve-year-old Hadley Smith claimed that distinction at the recent Extreme Cowboys Association (EXCA) World Championship in Glen Rose, Texas.
Originated by the cowboy clinician Craig Cameron, the EXCA is the only recognized association for the sport of Extreme Cowboy Racing.
“It was specifically designed for riders of all levels to participate and enjoy The Extreme Cowboy Challenge,” Cameron said. “Extreme Cowboy Racing is a multi-faceted equestrian sport that requires the riders to demonstrate both speed and horsemanship.
“Official rules guideline the sport with safe, fun and consistent competition for everyone. We ride hard, live large, and keep it extreme with horseback riding maneuvers in highly developed speed courses,” Cameron explained.
With regions throughout the United States, Canada and Europe sponsoring races each year, annual climax is the EXCA World Championship.
Last year, Hadley Smith attended a clinic presented by his dad Lee Hart, Council Grove native now training in Kentucky.
Smith decided to pursue riding and participating in EXCA competition qualifying for the 2018 EXCA World Championship.
“Claiming tenth there, Hadley was determined to come back stronger this year,” according to his parents Elisha and Mike Bacon.
Starting in May, Smith competed at several races in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Alabama earning a World Championship qualification.
There were 12 contestants in the Young Gun’s division including a rider from Australia. After the first two rounds, Smith ranked second with his fifth place final standings determined on “Super Sunday.”
To have such remarkable achievement requires a top horse and Smith feels fortunate to ride the 13-year-old gelding called Buster.
The Quarter Horse ridden by Lee Hart to previous world championships was inducted into the EXCA Hall of Fame. “That was truly the highlight of the competition for me and all of us,” Smith admitted. “I’ll be moving up to the very tough youth division next year, but that’s no worry riding Buster.”
Craig Cameron presented Smith a special rope in appreciation for his dedication to the EXCA.
“Hadley is an astonishing young man, with very polite manners, always willing to jump in and help,” Cameron credited. “I call him Little Mr. Hustle because we’ve given Lee Hart the nickname Mr. Hustle.”
The young cowboy is the grandson of Sue and Terry Brant, Mary Washburn and Gloria and Sheldon Smith.