By Benjamin Flowers: In October 2020, the rodeo community suffered the loss of Unitedville resident, Kent Smith, a man revered as one of the pioneers of rodeo in Belize. This week, it was revealed that the rodeo area at the Agriculture and Trade Showgrounds has been named in his honour.
Our newsroom spoke with Ramon ‘Munchy’ Galvez, a long-time cattle farmer and chairman of the rodeo committee, who explained that Smith had been passionate about rodeo since the early 1990s, and represented Belize at rodeo events in Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. Galvez said that Smith’s passion for rodeo is well known throughout Belize, and it was a unanimous decision by the committee to rename the arena.
“It was the right thing to do,” Galvez said. “He was a legend, He was a legend for us Belizeans. You would always see Kent lead this parade of riders with his big [Belizean] flag. He was very patriotic.”
Galvez said that the sport of rodeo is still growing in Belize, but that plans are in the works to have some information about Smith and his legacy made available at the arena, so that future generations will be able to appreciate his contributions.
On October 4, 2020, Smith died of COVID-19, after spending three weeks on a ventilator. He was in his late 50s.