Washoe Valley’s Scott ‘at home’ in Reno Rodeo
BY DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO ” When the Reno Rodeo rolls around every June, life around the Washoe Valley ranch belonging to roper Steve Smith Jr. and barrel racer Lita Scott goes from hectic to downright crazy.
Scott and Smith do everything from providing parking for Dan Russell’s Western Rodeo livestock trailers to having an open-door policy for competing cowboys and cowgirls.
Scott said she wouldn’t trade the flurry of activity for anything, and it would take an act of Congress for her not to compete in the rodeo she used to attend when she was growing up.
“This is one of the best rodeos in the country,” Scott said. “I love the support I get. There is a little pressure being that I’m from here, but it’s not like I’m not used to it. An old friend told me [the Reno Livestock Events Center] is just an address.”
Scott made the first of two appearances at this year’s event on Friday and her family was out in full force urging her on. Scott missed by .47 seconds of making some money in the slack run, but her 17.69 time aboard Snit was acceptable.
“I’m really happy,” Scott said. “I have a young [horse] that I’m bringing along. It takes time [for a new horse] to win a rodeo.”
Scott’s original horse, Richard, suffered a ligament injury and underwent surgery. Scott hopes to have her regular horse back around the early part of August, which would be just in time for the new season.
Scott has always said that a key to a good run is mostly mental, being in the proper frame of mind before spurring the horse through the gate.
“One bad step can make the difference, one bobble,” Scott said. “You have to hit it perfect unless you have a horse that can outrun its mistake. We all miss a barrel. I know in Reno it’s a nice, long run to the first barrel, and if your timing isn’t right, you can go right by it. You have to get everything perfect.”
Scott has competed sparingly this season, appearing in six or seven rodeos thus far. She placed in the Red Bluff, Oakdale and Sonora events this season.
After Reno, Scott has her sights set on the rodeo in Salinas, which is one of the bigger events she competes in yearly.
“I’m looking forward to Salinas,” Scott said. “The little horse I’ve got I think will like Salinas.”
Scott has had some success in Salinas. Back in 2006, she clocked a first-go win in 16.44, which netted her a cool $2,269. She eventually finished second in average. Obviously that ring has some good vibes for her.
Since 2006 when Scott was ranked 29th in the world, she has scaled back her schedule, which has made it tough to develop any consistency.
“I’d like to,” Scott said when asked about resuming more of a schedule in the future. “I’m only going to go if I’m making enough money. It’s too much money to go out just to hear your name announced.”
That’s the true Scott. Under her laid-back attitude is a very competitive lady. She wants to do well each and every time she is on her horse.
Scott said in 2006 she quit full time because she felt more like a truck driver than a barrel racer. When she did travel, she traveled with a nanny, and would do so again if she makes the decision to get back on the road on a regular basis.
The 46-year-old Scott, who also has a career in real estate appraising, has enjoyed a successful career in the ring.
Scott has appeared in three National Finals Rodeo appearances on her resume (1991-93) plus a California circuit championship in 1992. In 1992, she clocked an impressive 14.02 at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
According to the WPRA, Scott earned $236,329 in her first 15 years on tour, and nearly half of that ($158,643) came in her first three seasons when she was riding full time. She made the NFR Finals each of those years, finishing ninth ($38,652), fifth ($65,384) and ninth ($54,607) on the money list.
She suffered a serious injury in a car accident in 1994, but battled back and got her career back on track. She won nearly $15,000 back in 1995. She started scaling back in 1996.
Her future may be a bit murky in terms of how much she’ll compete in the coming years, but one thing is certain: Scott is focused on turning in a good run on Friday and taking home some money at her favorite rodeo.
– Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com or (775) 881-1281
When: Today. First session at 7 a.m. Second session at 7 p.m.
Where: Reno Livestock Events Center
Tickets: The morning session is free of charge and tickets for the evening session range from $12 to $22
Locals in action: Fallon’s Chad Edgmon competes in team roping at 7 p.m. tonight
Today’s special events: Jackpot barrel race, 7 a.m., indoor arena; Wrangler World’s Greatest Roper, 1 p.m. indoor arena.
Locals on Sunday: Gardnerville’s Jim Usher competes in a slack round of steer wrestling at 7 a.m.; Fallon’s Joe Sterling Lambert also competes in steer wrestling slack at 7 a.m.; Squaw Valley’s Blaine Ketscher is in team roping at 7 p.m.