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Patrick Smith leaves behind a lasting legacy

Sports Columnist

It’s a very sad day when we lose one of our young people.

The death of Patrick Smith has touched this town like a lighting bolt. Such an outstanding young man with such a bright life ahead of him to be taken from us in a rodeo accident.

None of us know why our Lord acts in such a mysterious way, but hopefully we’ll all know one day.

The young Patrick Smith that I knew was the All-American type. Very handsome, very polite and very confident in his abilities. He loved his Lord and he loved his family very much. In fact, his relationship with his father, Ben, was more like two brothers then father and son. They did everything together and would pal around like two good buddies.

Ben and Angela, Patrick’s mother, were so involved in Patrick’s life and he always showed both of them equal love and respect. Angela Smith is a wonderful mother.

Patrick, as many of you know, was a championship bareback rodeo rider and loved the rodeo with a passion. He was a member of the Professional Cowboy’s Association. He was a layed back, young man that liked to do things his way, but when it came to rodeo he was a fierce and competent competitor. He was the 2001 High School Bareback Champion for the State of Alabama. He loved rodeo and was looking forward to competing in college next fall when Troy State started its new rodeo program.

In fact, Troy State was using Patrick as their chief spokesman for its new sport. He was the bronco rider on most of their promotional material and brochures. Patrick fit the mold on how a real rodeo cowboy should look like; tall, dark and handsome. He had that look that all rodeo performers would love to have. He looked and carried himself like a gentleman cowboy, but when he latched on to the harness of that bareback he was as hardnosed a cowboy as you can get.

Patrick was in his element out in Banks where he lived with his dad at Smith Farm. He loved to hunt and fish and was quite good at it. With uncle’s Mike and Randall, the Smith brothers grew even closer together after their mom, Foy, and dad, James, passed away. Patrick was trusted just like one of the Smith brothers more then anything else. They took him in just like James Smith took them in when the Smith boys were growing up.

A multitude of friends and family have been by Angela’s and Ben’s side since this tragic accident and the show of love for Patrick and the Smith family has been overwhelming. This town and county has a special way about it that you won’t find many places when it comes to caring about its fellow man. I’ve seen it over and over again. This is a loving and caring community that we live in and don’t you ever doubt it.

Talking to the Smith family, you hear no animosity or hard feelings to the sport of rodeo. In fact, you hear their words spoken out even louder that the rodeo program at Troy State should go on with stronger support then ever. That’s the way Patrick would have wanted it, his uncle, Mike, told me on Friday. "You can count on Ben’s and me and Randall’s support to be even stronger for the rodeo program at Troy State," he said.

Patrick loved it and other then his family and his wonderful girl friend Laura Lynn Lester, who recently became Alabama’s Junior Miss, the rodeo team at Troy State was what he had on his mind. We’ve lost a wonderful, loving and caring young man in Patrick Smith, but he’s left a legacy of his own that will live in a lot of hearts for many years to come.

Every time you see a horse buck and that tall cowboy determined to stay on its back, you’ll think about Patrick Smith, the rodeo champion from Banks, Alabama and Charles Henderson High School.

Patrick, I think, would want it like that and I wish I would have got to know Patrick better then I did, but it’s not hard to figure out who he was.

Let’s smile when we think about this handsome young man, who loved his life as a rodeo cowboy. Let’s hope, with all of our faith, that there’s a bronco for him to ride in Heaven.

Patrick’s first love was rodeo and he had spent a great deal of time in the last few months working hard to make the Troy State Rodeo Team a reality.

The family has indicated that they would like those who want to remember Patrick in a special way to make a contribution to the Troy State University Rodeo Team.

Send you checks, made out to TSU’s Rodeo Team and in memory of Patrick Smith, to the: Troy State University Foundation, 256 Adams Administrative Building, TSU, Troy, Ala., 36082.