Hall of Fame Bullfighter Rob Smets’ Name of the Game Was Get Up and Go After Some More

Rob Smets is a Hall of Fame bullfighter whose roots are in California. With a father whose work was in heavy construction, he traveled through the eighth grade with a dream of playing center field for the San Francisco Giants. And then he started getting on calves. A few years later Smets was in high school when he played what he calls the wildest game of tag.

“I’d boxed a little bit and I played football, contact sports, I’m all about getting knocked on your butt and getting up, you know, so I started fighting bulls a little bit and it was good,” Smets said.

Opportunities were all along the west coast for Smets to step in front of bulls as he began to figure out the fundamentals of bull fighting that would carry him to being a household name in bull fighting. He had fellow bull fighters Wick Peth, Skipper Voss, Miles Hare, Jimmy Anderson and more to learn from and to help him refine his bull fighting.

Smets earned the respect of the bull riders early on in his career. If you ask him, it all comes down to your ability to get back up when you get knocked down and go after some more.

“Those guys that get up, they’re the ones that make it,” he said.

Smets went on to work for people like Bob Cook, Cotton Rosser, Jim Shoulders, Neal Gay and Harry Vold before fighting the National Finals Rodeo six times, becoming a four-time Wrangler World Champion Bullfighter and being inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2006.