Haughton running back Dexter Smith scores also saddle bronc riding at rodeos

Jimmy Watson
Shreveport Times

Haughton running back Dexter Smith gets run over, stepped on, kicked, and had a couple of his favorite associates fall backward onto him with a resounding thud – and that’s before he even gets to practice with the football team.

Forget George Strait, Tim McGraw and George Jones, Smith is the definition of true country according to coach Jason Brotherton.

“If Dexter isn’t playing football, he’s somewhere riding a horse,” Brotherton said.

Or training a horse, or riding a saddle bronc in a rodeo, which is what the junior speedster loves to do.

“I’ve been at it for about a year now,” Smith said. “What I like about it is that it brings out doing the true person I am and what I do.”

Smith, who has lived in Haughton most of his life, enjoys feeding off his love of horses and football on a daily basis. He continues making an impact for the Buccaneers, scoring twice last Friday in a 40-0 victory over BTW. Now, he’s got his sights set on Friday’s annual grudge match with Byrd. 

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Haughton running back Dexter Smith enjoys working with horses.

“We have been waiting on this game because it would be our 20th win at home,” Smith said. “And we are all focused up and expecting to keep our streak going.”

Smith began competing in rodeos about a year ago and the saddle bronc competition is an off-shoot of his part-time work as a trainer. Some horses require a little extra effort and twice they've broken his wrist. 

“When I would get horses that needed a full training regimen, they would buck and kick and everything else, so I took those horses and got practice while working." said Smith. "Saddle bronc is just the same as ranch-riding, so that’s why I chose it.”

Smith has yet to win a rodeo competition, although he recently scored an 85 on a bronc in Jena. All he received from that effort was “a good job” and an offer to compete at an ensuing rodeo in Benton. 

The Airline defense tries to stop Haughton's Dexter Smith during the 2021 Bossier Lions Club jamboree.

While rodeo and high school football appear dissimilar on the surface, Smith sees them as feeding off each other.

“When I train horses, I put in hard work and dedication to make them the best they can possibly be,” he said. “And it’s the same thing with football. When I go out and practice every day, I try to get better and better. When the game time comes, I play like I practice.” 

The fun part of football for a running back is breaking through the line and seeing nothing but open spaces in front of you. The fun part of working with a bucking horse is making the 8-count.

“With training horses, it’s a challenge that you’re taking on without knowing anything about it,” Smith said. “The fun part is the bucking - you’ve gotta love that part.”

While his future may lie exclusively with being a horse whisperer, Smith is making the most of his time as a high school athlete without waffling about whether breaking down a horse’s attitude or crossing the goal line is more fun.

“At the end of the day, that horse has no choice but to smooth out. And the O-line will make a hole for me,” Smith said. “But overall, I’d say football with that open hole and scoring the game winning touchdown.”

Jimmy Watson covers Shreveport-Bossier area sports. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @JimmyWatson6.