Sue Smith spent her freshman year at Hemet High School before moving to El Cajon and transferring to El Cajon Valley High School. After graduating from high school, Smith moved to Blackfoot, Idaho, where she still lives. Smith is now a Women’s Professional Rodeo Association barrel racer who qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in 2009 and 2011. She returned to Southern California to participate in the April 27-30 Lakeside Rodeo and won the Barrel Racing competition at the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds.

Smith ran in the April 30 performance and had a time of 17.29 seconds. The first-place position was worth $2,555 in earnings.

“Everything came up so fast, but it was really good,” Smith said.

Former Hemet resident Sue Smith, now living in Idaho, returned to Southern California to participate in the April 27-30 Lakeside Rodeo and won the Barrel Racing competition at the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds. Valley News/Joe Naiman photo

Minnesota cowgirl Sara Winkelman had a run of 17.34 seconds Friday, April 28, which was the lead until Smith competed. Winkelman’s time held up for second place in the rodeo.

Smith rode Dash’s Centerfold, a 12-year-old mare. Dash’s Centerfold was two when Smith began riding her.

When Smith lived in El Cajon she kept her horses in Lakeside. “It’s kind of like my hometown,” she said.

Smith was born in San Diego. Her father was in the Navy and her mother was raised in La Mesa. Smith’s maternal grandparents lived in La Mesa and Smith also lived in Santee during her childhood. She lived in Hemet for a year, moving to El Cajon and attending El Cajon Valley High School for her final three years.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at jnaiman@reedermedia.com.