Rodger Dwight discovered Valerie Smith’s art at the Sisters Harvest Faire. Jodi Schneider
Rodger Dwight discovered Valerie Smith’s art at the Sisters Harvest Faire. Jodi Schneider
Sisters Rodeo’s 80th anniversary poster by artist Valerie Smith portrays a rodeo cowboy saddle bronc rider. Smith’s drawing captured the true spirit of the classic rodeo event. The poster also includes a historical representation of the past using six black and white photos from the Sisters Rodeo archives that surround Smith’s artwork.

Smith told The Nugget, “We’ve gone to the Sisters Rodeo quite a few times, and my husband, William, takes a lot of photos. I chose that photo from 2019 to create ‘Buckaroo’ using pastels and colored pencils because it’s the classic pose with heels up and head down.”

Smith, a Crooked River Ranch resident, was “discovered” by Rodger Dwight, a Sisters Rodeo board director, last October during the annual Sisters Harvest Faire where Smith was showcasing her “Crazyhorse Art” paintings.

“I was walking through the event when I saw her paintings and thought that her artwork would be perfect for this year’s rodeo,” Dwight said. “She had other paintings, but that particular one jumped out at me.”

Mostly a self-taught artist, Smith’s mission is to bring out the inner beauty of wild horses through her paintings. She drew her first horse at the age of five and hasn’t stopped since.

Smith said, “I’ll never forget Rodger stopping by my booth last year, complimenting me on my art and taking one of my business cards. But I didn’t give it much thought since a lot of people take my cards and I never hear from them.”

Smith was very surprised when Dwight sent her an email with an expressed interest in one of her images that he wanted to use for the 2020 rodeo poster.

She added, “After several emails, he sent me a draft of the poster and told me the board had approved my image. I have been elated ever since!”

Jeri Buckmann, event coordinator for the Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce, said she feels very connected to this year’s rodeo poster since the artist was chosen from last year’s Sisters Harvest Faire.

“Valerie is an exceptional artist, and the artwork along with the vintage photos made the poster so unique,” she said. “I am very happy for her. Valerie has been a Sisters Harvest Faire vendor for several years, and an opportunity like this is special.”

Smith has won awards in various art shows in California, and more recently won best in show at the Deschutes County Fair. She plans to divide her time between riding her horse and capturing the hearts of Oregon horse-lovers through her artwork.