W.A.R. began in 2014 under SmithPRO, LLC, owned by Sheri Smith, Navy Veteran, Speaker, Preacher, Writer, and Sports Agent.
Sheri served in the Navy as a Cryptologic Technician Interpretive specializing in the Spanish language. Her husband, Shae Smith, served first in the Army National Guard and then later went active duty in the Navy. They met at DLI, the military’s Defense Language Institute. They had six children over the years. Shae was diagnosed with a debilitating condition caused by a Navy Doctor. This plunged their family into 13 yrs of pain, hospital visits, and numerous surgeries. Their family stayed strong as they navigated through the difficulties of the Veterans Administration, civilian health care, and the personal struggles severe and chronic pain can have on a family.
But, the Smith’s are overcomers and would not cave to the pain. Shae’s condition was known as the “suicide disease” but he wouldn’t give up. With the support of his family and his God, Shae made it through. After his final surgery, a craniotomy, he finally felt relief from the nerve damage in his head.
It took two years to recover from the years of pain. It was during that time Shae mentioned he would enjoy traveling full time. This was the first time Sheri had heard hope and joy in his voice for over six years. So, she backed her husband’s dream and they sold or gave away almost everything they owned. They bought a 42′ fifth-wheel camper, Dodge 4×4 Mega Cab 1-ton truck and set out for a year adventure – an adventure to take back time lost to pain.
Shae was a telecommunications engineer and was able to work in the RV while Sheri and her children were published in newspapers, magazines, on TV. Sheri was also published in a travel book as well as wrote bi-monthly for a Missouri newspaper on the two topics – homeschool and travel.
During the first year, Sheri got pregnant with their sixth child. She became very ill and contracted a lung disease that would slow them down a bit, but not stop the travels. Once again, the family overcame this obstacle and continued their adventure for over ten years.
It was during this time the family met 2004 PBR World Champion Mike Lee. They became close friends which led to Sheri becoming his agent. She went through the process to become certified in the state of Missouri as well as with the PBR, Professional Bull Riders. Mike and Sheri’s partnership went beyond the arena as they worked on bull riding clinics, a movie, products, and ministry. Sheri expanded her agency to include other rodeo athletes. Through this process she worked with numerous athletes, some were good clients and others were not. That is when she decided to walk away from those who felt they were “entitled” to sponsorship. Sheri understood hard work, dedication to country, sacrifice, pain and suffering. A lack of appreciation and gratitude was something Sheri could not tolerate. She walked away from those clients and opportunities and instead reached out to a few veterans, who she could help transition from active duty service in the military to civilian life. These men had been in the rodeo industry before serving their country and wanted to continue bull riding after their discharge.
Sheri took her rodeo contacts and gave them to people who would die for her freedom and safety, although she kept numerous good clients, such as Mike Lee, Ned Stewart, and Shawn Best.
Word got out as Sheri began to connect with over 30 veterans and actively serving military members who were also in the rodeo industry. At this point, she decided that this project needed to be a non-profit instead of continuing under her agency.
That is when Warriors and Rodeo W.A.R. began.