Forrie Smith knew he was going to be a stunt man from the age of six after falling off of a horse in front of his parents. He did exactly that with his career and now nearly six decades later his work in the movie industry earned him a spot on the acclaimed television show “Yellowstone” on the Paramount Network.
The series, which is now in its third season, revolves around land conflicts on a fictional ranch set in Montana. The show boasts names like Kevin Costner, Cole Hauser, Wes Bentley, Kelly Reilly and Danny Huston.
While his success on the show has paid dividends for Smith, whose cinematic credits also include 1994’s “Tombstone” and 2016’s “Hell or High Water”, the seasoned rodeo and movie professional is using his status to bring a message to Socorro County: go register to vote.
“I had guys out here working on my fences and building me some sheds,” Smith said. “There were four of them and none of them voted. None of them were registered to vote.”
Smith, currently a San Acacia resident said he also visited the local truck stop and learned that nine of the restaurant’s 10 servers were also not registered to vote.
“These are the people that are the backbone of our country. The ones that are keeping the wheels turning; building things, feeding the truckers that are hauling everything to everybody and they don’t vote,” he said. “These are the people that need to be voting. I decided that would be my contribution to the election year was trying to get people out to vote and get people registered.”
According to the New Mexico Secretary of State website just 42 percent of eligible voters turned out for the June 4 primary. Beginning last Saturday, Smith began a series of meet-and-greets intended to not only allow the community to get to know the TV personality but encourage it to show up, get registered and hopefully change that number.
Cherrill’s Western Wear played host to last week’s event and this Saturday Roxanne Scott’s Forget Me Not thrift store will play host.
Smith said the idea kind of came about by accident.
“I had some furniture I wanted to donate, and hauled it down for the disabled veterans,” he said. “I was talking to Roxy about it and she said ‘I’ve got a parking lot, let’s do it.’ I said okay. Let’s do it.”
Saturday’s meet-and-greet, happening from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. will give Socorroans a chance to meet Smith and register to vote, but it will also give them an opportunity to check out Scott’s thrift store. The Air Force veteran donates her net proceeds from the shop to the Socorro chapter of Disabled American Veterans.
After being in business just more than a month Scott has already been able to donate $3,000 to the DAV.
“It’ll give new people an opportunity who haven’t even been into the thrift store to check it out. I’m hoping to be able to give them (The DAV) another $3,000 check,” Scott said. “It looks like if I have a good week this week, I’ll be able to do just that. It’s just to make everyone aware that we have a thrift store that donates to the DAV, a place where they can make donations. They can see it is quality merchandise at a fair price.”
While remaining a humble and affable man, Smith knows that his newfound status allows him an opportunity to use that status and do some good things. He said jokingly that nobody listened to him while he was in the rodeo business, but after being on the show people tend to listen a bit more to what he has to say.
“I don’t understand it myself,” he said. “It’s one of the benefits, beside money and being able to excel at my craft, this is one of the benefits is maybe I can make the world a better place. Maybe I can help somehow.”
He agreed it’s nice to be able to get out and have salt-of-the-earth conversations with local members of the community.
“I’ve met some really cool people and it’s an honor and a thrill to me to see the excitement it brings to somebody when they get to have a picture with me and they get to meet me. It’s kind of silly sometimes,” he said. “I’m just now getting used to it and where I can deal with it. At first I was kind taken aback by it, but now I’m just thrilled by it and I thank God that I’m a blessed man and I can do that for other people. I’m no better than anybody else. I put my pants on one leg at a time. But I’ve been working in this business for over 30 years and I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and it just happened. Not everybody is that fortunate and they struggle all their lives. I got blessed and I’m in this position now.”
While Smith said not too many people attended last week’s event at Cherrill’s Western Wear he nonetheless witnessed what considers great about the United States.
“What was really cool is there were a couple families that came in there and got their kids registered. One father brought his daughter down and she had just turned 18 three months ago,” Smith said. “He helped her get signed up and I was like yes. This is what America is about. This is why I’m doing this. I’ve got some young kids, 18, just out of high school that are going to come register at Roxy’s this weekend and that’s just thrilling for me.”
Forget Me Not thrift store is located at 104 Neel St. next to the Socorro County Annex. Smith will hold a third and final meet-and-greet at Southwest Feed at 408 N. California St. July 11.