Sherri Christensen Smets
Class of 2019
Sherri was born into the ranching and rodeo family of Christensen Brothers in Eugene, OR. Her Grandparents Molly and Lawrence (Pops) Christensen, along with their children, her Dad Henry (Hank), her Uncle Bob Sr. and her Aunt Martha (Babe), ran the ranch and eventually Christensen Brothers Rodeo Co.
Just like most kids in ranching and rodeo families she did chores around the ranch and helped out at her families’ rodeos by riding her pony in the grand entry, chasing out cattle and feeding the bucking horses. As she grew up she helped choreograph the grand entries and continued to carry the various flags.
Her passion was trick riding. When she was a little girl she learned to trick ride from Dick and Connie Griffith. Sherri along with the aid of her Mom, Pat Christensen, cousin Vicki and later sister Linda designed and sewed their own trick riding costumes.
When Sherri was a young teenager she was honored by being invited to trick ride and tour parts of the US and Mexico in a troupe with the famous Mexican actor, singer, and cowboy Antonio (Tony) Aguilar. She injured her ankle when she fell doing the Hippodrome Stand in Mexico City during their tour. She didn’t let that stop her from pursuing her dreams and when she healed up she earned her first contract to trick ride at the Salinas, CA Rodeo in 1973. She was only 16 years old and was not only trick riding at one of the most prestigious rodeos for trick riders in the world she had also had the honor of working with Tony Aguilar. Sherri’s hard work was paying off; she had begun to carve out a name for herself.
As she continued her trick riding career she formed her own trick riding specialty act along with her cousin Vicki and after Vicki retired she worked with her sister Linda. Eventually Sherri and Linda brought in other trick riders like Willie Smith who was the first African American trick rider.
They booked contracts at PRCA rodeos from the Forth Worth Stock Show in Fort Worth, TX to the Buffalo Bill Cody Stampede in Cody, WY, many rodeos in Central and Northern California including repeated years at Salinas, and many more rodeos in the Pacific North West including the Western Washington Fair and Rodeo in Puyallup, WA which used to run for 11 days the whole length of the fair and had two performances per day. They even received a standing ovation at the Umpqua Valley Round-up in Roseburg, OR. In 1976 Sherri and Vicki posed for pictures for Naturalist Artist James Bama in their full trick riding splendor. He used these pictures to create sketches of them.
Nowadays she is a talented artist crafting leather goods, home wares, furniture, and interior décor. She also has a passion and talent for interior decorating using either her own handcrafted designs or repurposing other home décor and furniture.
Her greatest pride and joy are her daughters Josie and Sammy Smets. She’s looking forward to becoming a Grandma in November.