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Walla Walla Community College

Smith, a 2011 WWCC graduate, looks to grow program that’s been part of his life and family

image of Jade Smith New WWCC Head Rodeo Coach

Jade Smith grew up around WWCC rodeo. Literally. 

His late father, Dave Smith, attended WWCC and was a national college champion in tie-down roping. After his father died when Smith was just 9 months old, he was raised by his uncle, Brent Palmer, who served as an a WWCC rodeo coach for more than 30 years.

On July 1, Smith will proudly take over as WWCC’s Head Rodeo Coach from his Uncle Brent, who is currently the team’s Head Coach.

“This is something we’ve prepared for over the last four or five years,” Smith said. “I’m really excited to keep the tradition alive.”

Smith also competed in rodeo in high school and on the WWCC team. In 2017, he made the Indian National Finals Rodeo in tie-down roping. In addition to upholding a family tradition, Smith said he’s laser-focused on keeping a proud tradition alive at WWCC.

Over the years, the college has seen women’s and men’s rodeo teams go onto both Northwest Regional and National finals. WWCC teams were named the Women’s National Champions in 1992 and the Men’s National Champions in 2008 and 2012. As the current season draws to a close, Smith says several members of the WWCC rodeo team are finishing strong with a chance to advance to regional finals.

Looking to the future, Smith says he’ll focus on recruiting additional team members, making sure they know WWCC offers a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business as well as high-demand workforce programs.

“That’s one of my biggest recruiting tools,” he said.

WWCC Athletic Director Jeff Reinland said he’s excited to have Jade Smith take over the Men’s and Women’s Rodeo programs.

“Brent and Jade have been a great team and Jade is more than ready to take over as head coach,” Reinland said.  “Jade brings experience and familiarity to our Rodeo Program, and we have every confidence that, under his leadership, our Rodeo Program will continue to achieve success both in and out of the Rodeo arena.”