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home : sports & recreation : sports & recreation September 23, 2017

6/13/2017 12:10:00 PM
Sisters youth is a rodeo star
Adriene Steffen is headed to Tennessee for national competition in junior rodeo. photo by Jim Cornelius
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Adriene Steffen is headed to Tennessee for national competition in junior rodeo. photo by Jim Cornelius

By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

Sisters saw a whole lot of top cowboys and cowgirls come through town for the Sisters Rodeo last weekend. Later this month, Sisters' own rodeo star, Adriene Steffen, will leave town for Lebanon, Tennessee, where she will compete in the NJHFR (National Junior High Finals Rodeo) in barrel racing and breakaway roping.

Steffen, a sixth-grader at Sisters Middle School, qualified for national competition as the top barrel racer in Oregon in junior high school rodeo. She was also the Oregon Jr. High School Division Rodeo Association Rookie of the Year.

Rodeo is a family sport. Her dad, Randy, a director for the St. Paul Rodeo, and her brother competed through high school and college. She's been going to the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) in Las Vegas, Nevada, for 10 years.

"I grew up around it, but I've only done it four years," she told The Nugget.

She rides three horses in barrel racing, breakaway roping, pole bending and goat-tying. She's taking two to Tennessee - her barrels horse, Koa, who "loves attention," and her breakaway horse, Fancy.

The rodeo features roughly 1,000 contestants from 43 states, and Steffen admits she's "excited and kinda nervous" about facing all that top competition. But Steffen enjoys everything about rodeo, and notes that it's not just about winning.

"You get to be competitive, but you also get to make friends," she said.

In rodeo, Randy notes, your closest competitor might be the one cheering you on the loudest in your event.

Adriene is also a volleyball player, so she splits her time in training. Outside of volleyball season, though, she trains almost every day in her events. She's also taken clinics with legendary barrel racer and frequent Sisters Rodeo competitor Charmayne James.

"I've met her multiple times," Adriene noted.

It remains to be seen how far the young rider will go down the rodeo road.

"I kind of want to go professional," she mused. "But I don't know how that'll turn out."

In any case, she'll have a significant event under her belt this summer, competing for over $80,000 in prizes and $200,000 in scholarships with the best young rodeo athletes in the world.

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