story by Lillian Landreth Thayne Elshere represented South Dakota and his family’s favorite event of saddle bronc riding at the 2022 NHSFR this summer, where […]
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Meet the Member Blasius Steffen
story by Lily Weinacht
Blasius Steffen has won the SDHSRA all-around cowboy title in all of its forms, from rookie of the year in 2016 to reserve all-around, and finally, the year-end all-around in 2018. The 18-year-old cowboy from Gregory, South Dakota, competes in team roping and tie-down roping, and he’s qualified for the NHSFR once in reined cow horse and twice in cutting. His favorite event varies from day to day, and he practices frequently, making the 30-mile drive to his uncle’s ranch almost daily to practice with his uncle Frank Kenzy and his cousin Myles. “They’re basically my coaches. I spend every day at their place riding and roping and helping out on the ranch. They help me with horsemanship, and doing whatever it takes for getting better and staying dedicated,” says Blasius. “My parents (Mike and Sandy Steffen) are big motivators. They’re pretty good about videoing my runs, and if my events are back to back, they get horses saddled and make sure I have whatever I need.”
Blasius’s parents grew up around horses, though they didn’t rodeo, but his uncle Frank put him on a horse one summer and Blasius was rodeoing by the time he turned 9. “Just the atmosphere of the rodeo, and the people we meet, and the competitiveness (drives me),” explains Blasius, who is working toward a third NHSFR qualification and making the short round. “There aren’t too many rodeos that are local, so I end up traveling quite a bit. I like Belle Fourche. It’s cool to be there, and they have great volunteer people that keep the grounds good. One year, it rained and they tore the whole arena up and made it good for the kids—that was cool to see.” Blasius also competes in the SDRA and several team roping associations, while he just purchased his PRCA permit this year. He’s team roping at pro rodeos with his high school partner, Beau Dean, as well as his cousin Myles.
Blasius hauls four horses to high school rodeos. He calls Paint, his 18-year-old cow horse, the coolest horse he’s ever owned, while he heads on Scooter, ropes calves on Roan Dog, and rides a 5-year-old mare, Sugar, in the cutting. “My uncle trained Paint and his daughter showed him for most of his career, and my calf horse I basically trained myself. It’s pretty fun when you do that. I try to practice about every day. We try to work cutting as much as we can, and we have a big barn where we can work the flag.”
Before his summer rodeo season kicked off, Blasius graduated from Gregory High School. He is attending Frank Phillips College in Borger, Texas, this fall on a rodeo scholarship, competing in team roping and tie-down roping. “It was the opportunity to go somewhere different. I’m going there for farm and ranch management—it’s a two-year degree.” In the meantime, he plans to spend the summer rodeoing and enjoying time with his family and friends. “We like hunting and fishing—I like to deer hunt quite a bit, or coyote or pheasant hunting. We have a big variety of things. My dad and sister, Brett, like to hunt too, so sometimes all three of us go.
“My goal is to just have a good year and not let rodeo take over. I want to remember to have fun and take it one step at a time.”