Tanner Tomlinson/Patrick Smith Enter First NFR as Pairing
Meet the NFR Athletes is presented by Montana Silversmiths
BY BRETT NIERENGARTEN @PRORODEOBRETT
Tanner Tomlinson and Patrick Smith are a unique pairing in team roping.
Tomlinson is 22-years-old and making his first NFR appearance, but his heeler, Smith, is already a legend. The 42-year-old is making his first NFR appearance since 2015 and 13th overall. That includes two Gold Buckles in 2005 (with Clay Tryan) and 2008 (with Trevor Brazile).
The pair originally linked up in 2021 and to say Smith has always had confidence in his young partner would be an understatement.
“It seems like once every decade somebody comes along and changes the game, I think Tanner is definitely going to be one of those,” Smith said in January of 2021. “I just want to be the guy that catches a lot by two feet and let Tanner show off. That’s my plan.”
After both men finished ranked in the 30s in their first year together, they got through the growing pains in 2022 and increased their qualified time percentage by nearly 20 percent, won 11 more Go-Rounds and had 15 more runs of 4.5 seconds or faster.
They will enter the 2022 NFR with Tomlinson ranked No. 5 on the head side and Smith ranked No. 6 among the heelers.
Tomlinson/Smith didn’t have any massive paydays in 2022, but were still able to nickel and dime their way to plenty of success. In Houston, they won Round 3 of their Super Series and placed second and fourth in another.
Rodeo Austin, $5,960
Right after Houston, the duo headed 160 miles west on Highway 90 to place in all three rounds at Rodeo Austin. The pair’s biggest check was $3,516 for a second place finish in Round 2.
Cody Stampede, $5,081
At one of the richest one-headers in the country, Tomlinson/Smith were second with a 4.4-second run. Over the Fourth of July, the pair won Mandan Rodeo Days and also pulled checks at the Oakley Independence Day Rodeo, Black Hills Round-Up, the Sitting Bull Stampede and won Mandan Rodeo Days.
Calgary Stampede Team Roping, 3.6 Seconds
In the new team roping event in Calgary, Tomlinson and Smith won the Second Round with their fastest time of the season.
Clark County Fair and Rodeo, 3.9 Seconds
After a 14.1-second run in Round 1 the pair bounced back and salved their April trip to Nevada with Second Round win.
Mandan Rodeo Days, 5.2 Seconds
The time may not look super impressive, but when you consider they were a half-second clear of the rest of the field, there’s no other option but to tip your hat. The pair made nearly $3,500 at the North Dakota one-header.
Gooding Pro Rodeo, 4.0 Seconds
In one of their fastest times of the season, the pair won Gooding by four tenths of a second over Kaleb Driggers/Junior Noguiera, who both finished the regular season No. 1 in the world. The win paid just north of $3,600.
Cattlemen’s Days Inc., 4.0 Seconds
There’s a theme here, it’s that this team did a lot of of damage and midsize one-headers. In Gunnison, Colorado, they won by four tenths once again.
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