All Inductees

Rob Smets

Rodeo Personnel

Rob was born on September 11, 1959, in Palo Alto, California, to Ebe and Bill Smets, and has a sister named Betsy. His family’s global travels during his youth, due to his father’s work in the construction industry, took them to Thailand, Singapore, Puerto Rico, and Australia. During his high school years in San Martin, California, Rob’s interest in rodeo began to blossom, leading him to rope, ride bulls, and learn boxing, fueling his ambition to fight bulls and assist cowboys in the arena, earning him the nickname “Kamikaze Kid.”

Mentorship from Bill and Donnie Landis, along with inspiration from idols such as Wick Peth, Skipper Voss, Miles Hare, and Jimmy Anderson, significantly contributed to his skill development in bullfighting. Over four decades, Rob has achieved remarkable success in both the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) and the Professional Bull Riders (PBR). His debut at the PRCA National Finals Rodeo occurred in 1983 at the Myriad Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and he was subsequently chosen by top bull riders for protection duties at the Thomas & Mack arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, and 2000.

In the PBR, Rob was selected nine times to work their Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has won the World Champion title in the Wrangler Bullfighting Tour competition five times, with his fifth title coming in 1994 after overcoming a broken neck in 1992 and enduring another break in 1996, and yet another in 2006, which soon led to his retirement from competition.

Beyond the arena, Rob has devoted time to interviews, hospital visits, and appearances in documentaries, talk shows, and movies, often serving as a stunt double for leading actors. Currently, he provides commentary at bull riding and bullfighting events across the United States. Rob and his wife Carla reside in Merkel, Texas, and share four daughters: Corey, Josie, Sammy, and Dylan.