story by Lindsay Humphrey A life on the road is about all Kenna Kaminski has known since she grew up in the backseat of a […]
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Meet the Member Adriene Steffen
story by Lindsay Humphrey
Living in Sisters, Oregon, makes competing in Texas a tough task for Adriene Steffen and her 20-year-old gelding, Bully. However, the pair always makes the three-day drive worth the effort. This year, Adriene was in Texas to compete at the Junior American when she found herself at the Dinero Dash Barrel Race. “There was a pole qualifying event for the Junior World Finals the night after the barrel race, so we stopped by to do a warm-up run,” said the 16-year-old. “It was a really long haul, but I had competed there in December and knew the arena set up really well. Bully had actually gotten kicked in the shoulder the day before, so he was a little off from that and the long haul to Texas.”
For the second year in a row, Adriene and Bully will be competing for their chance at a junior world title in poles. Until December rolls around, the duo has plenty to keep them occupied. At state finals this summer, Adriene took third in the poles with Bully. The excitement of qualifying for nationals was short lived as Bully overreached in their last run at state and hurt his fetlock. “After that I was just focused on getting him healed up and legged back up. I actually took a younger horse that I had just started on poles to nationals. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but we enjoyed the trip anyways.” For high school rodeo, Adriene focuses more of her energy on breakaway roping and goat tying. Bully makes running barrels and poles so easy, that they’re more of a “side gig” for Adriene.
“I really like to rope, so breakaway is my number one event, but I also like to tie goats. I’ve had a lot of injuries in the past that have made that event pretty tough for me.” With more than double the regular number of contestants at the Oregon state finals, Adriene had some tough competition. “I wasn’t really mentally prepared, so I just didn’t compete my very best. I was in the top ten in three of my events, so I went to the short round for those but only made it to nationals in poles.” Adriene, did, however, finish the year in third for the all-around race. “It was a really big year for Oregon rodeo. It was probably the best turn out we’ve had in a long time. I think the number of girls competing doubled.”
This year not only did Adriene have her mom, Lori, on the road with her but her dad, Randy, also tagged along. “Her dad served on the board for the Saint Paul Rodeo held over the fourth of July for a long time, so she grew up at the rodeo. He stepped off the board this year so he could travel with us more.” Although neither of Adriene’s parents rodeoed, that didn’t stop her older siblings – Andy and Jennifer – from competing. Jennifer was Miss Rodeo Oregon the year Adriene was born. Adriene is following in her sibling’s competitor footsteps just as her younger sister – Bridgette, 12 – is doing with her.
Over the years, rodeo has presented Adriene with lots of opportunity for success and growth. “Rodeo has taught me to just roll with the punches. I’ve had to figure out how to not let my emotions or the big things control me.” The day before nationals in eighth grade, Adriene’s mare passed away and now this year her gelding was hurt. “It [rodeo] has taught me to be grateful for what I have while I have it and to enjoy it in the moment. Things are always changing and there will always be something else to look forward to.” In the next few years, Adriene is looking forward to stepping up her game so she can compete at bigger and bigger events. Until then, she’s keeping Bully legged up and ready for their upcoming run in Vegas.