photo by Jim Cornelius
photo by Jim Cornelius
Adrienne Steffan will head to Huron, South Dakota, later this month to compete in the National Junior High Finals Rodeo. It is the third year that the Sisters eighth-grader has qualified for nationals, and she will compete in multiple events: Goat-tying; Breakaway Roping; Team Roping; and Ribbon Roping.

She’s going as Oregon’s reserve all-around champion and as champion in Breakaway Roping.

“I definitely have added events,” Steffan told The Nugget.

Youth rodeo is an intense round of competitions that tax the logistical capacities and endurance of the families involved, since it requires a lot of travel and hours and hours of practice. But it’s all worth it, Steffan says.

“It’s just something that keeps you coming back for more,” she told The Nugget.

The finals, which run June 23-27, up the intensity level.

“It is (intense) but it is so much fun,” Steffan said. “You get to know the kids so much better; they get to be like family.”

Steffan is taking two of her three horses to finals. Nineteen-year-old quarter horse Fancy used to be her brother’s college rodeo horse.

“I kind of stole her off him,” Steffan admitted. “I’ve taken her all three years to nationals.”

For the past two years, she’s also taken Summer, a 17-year-old palomino mare.

“I do two or three events off of her,” Steffan said.

This rodeo season posed some challenges for the young rider. The late and intense winter storms that hit at the end of February and beginning of March delayed her training.

“I had maybe a week this year,” she said. “I was panicking. After the first rodeo, I felt much better.”

She’s got somewhat limited training time to prepare for the national rodeo, too, because Sisters gets out of school so late in the year.

“Everybody I rodeo with is not in school and I’ve got to wait all the way through June 17!” she said.

But there’s no question that Adrienne Steffan will cowgirl up and get the job done in her third trip to the big show.