Injuries Were a Part of the Game for 5-time World Champion Bull Fighter Rob Smets

Rob Smets is a five-time World Champion Bull Fighter who never let an injury keep him down and out. Throughout his three-decade long career, Smets sustained five major injuries and was gored in 1985.

“You know, the funny thing about it is I always said if I made 25, I’m going to go to 105, that’s been my projection since I was a kid. And so 24.5 years old on July 24, Founder’s Day of Salt Lake City at the Days of ’47, that’s when that 6E run a horn in me. All I could hear is Miles in the background going ‘oh gosh, oh’,” Smets said.

This injury only kept Smets down for 30 days, he had cowboys to save even though looking back, he says he had no business fighting bulls at that time. His next injury would come in March of 1992 in Munroe, Louisiana when he would break his neck for the first time.

“I broke C5, four and six… That Ultimate Warrior of Harper and Morgan’s hit me and knocked me down and I went out in front of him and was kind of on my back, my feet were up over me and as he ran over the top of me our legs entangled and he fell. It put the pressure on my neck,” Smets said.

It was the kind of injury that Smets knew better than to get back up and it scared him just enough. He returned from the broken neck at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo the next year. Fast forward to 1996 in Memphis, Tennessee and Smets would break his C1 will fighting another Harper and Morgan bull. Up next on his list of injuries is a broken C1 courtesy of the PBR in Reno, Nevada.

“I run to jump one off the ground, just fighting bulls, you know and he hits me in the butt and popped me up in the air and I come down wrong and 7 and T1, that time,” he said.

Smets was 46-years old when this injury happened, and he had already had conversations with his wife about retiring at the end of the year.

“I think it was the Father’s way of saying we’re closing a chapter, because I don’t know if I would’ve been healthy at the end of the year that I could’ve walked away. I love this game,” he said.

Despite the injuries, Smets went on to write his name in bull fighting history as one of the greats.

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