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Tribal youth participate in Fred Smith Rodeo at Brighton Field Day

By Judy Weeks

BRIGHTON — The members of the Eastern Indian Rodeo Association (EIRA) paid tribute to the memory of Fred Smith by naming the annual Brighton Field Day Rodeo in his honor on Feb. 3-4 at the Fred Smith Memorial Arena.

This first rodeo of the 2012 EIRA season saw a record number of entries in the kids’ rodeo which began Friday evening and continued into the early morning hours with 12 events.

“This kids’ rodeo would certainly have put a smile on the face of Fred Smith,” said EIRA President Paul Bowers Sr. “Like so many of us, Fred grew up with rodeo in his blood, and he was a strong supporter of rodeo athletes. He would be happy to see how many youngsters are pulling on their boots and looking toward a wholesome career in rodeo.”

Announcer and kids’ rodeo advocate Moses Jumper Jr. said, “We have an awesome turnout, and many of the children participating here are following in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents. Rodeo has become a part of the Seminole culture, and the EIRA motto comes alive tonight as ‘the legend continues.’”

The children learn responsibility, respect, athletic skills and sportsmanship from their mentors and peers. Within a few years, they become the teachers for the next generation; they assist each other, put on clinics and/or take their position in the arena as bull fighters, pickup men and directors.

Many of the stellar performances witnessed during the sanctioned events on the second night are a result of a lifelong commitment to the rodeo.

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