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Meet the Member Kassie Adams
story by Lily Weinacht
Kassie Adams gave up all sports several years ago to pursue her ultimate sport of rodeo, and the 17-year-old from Meriden, Kansas, has never regretted her decision. “I didn’t have enough time to practice and then mentally change my brain practice rodeo,” she explains. “I quit everything and committed my full self to rodeo. Knowing this is my one commitment, I’m going to stick with it, otherwise I don’t have anything to fall back on.”
She competes in the KHSRA in goat tying, pole bending, and breakaway roping, and qualified for the NHSFR in 2017 and 2018 in the light rifle shooting. Goat tying is easily Kassie’s favorite, in spite of two knee surgeries in the last two and a half years from goat tying, and taking a break from the event on and off for the last three seasons. “I’m glad I took the time to recover because I feel like I’m stronger than I was before. I like the adrenaline rush because I’m always thinking about the next steps. If I run barrels, I get too much time to think about the run, but in goats you’re always doing something different.” Kassie’s cousin Montana Heller also competes in goat tying in the KJHSRA, and the cousins spend many evenings practicing together well after dark. Kassie’s parents, Stacie and Brian Adams, also join her in the practice pen and help run chutes or hold goats.
“Jackie VanPetten has helped me a lot with getting my confidence built back up in the pole bending. I just got a new horse because the one I had before I could not click with even though we worked really hard and I ran the best season ever on him last fall,” says Kassie. “My sister, Shanie, went to Garden City Community College on a full-ride scholarship to rodeo, and I think that’s really cool, so I’m working toward that so I can college rodeo. She still does the URA and IRA rodeos on weekends, and there are some open amateur rodeos we can enter together. It’s just friendly competition. Our grandpa is David McNorton, but everybody called him Squirt. Everything my sister and I did, he was always in the cheering section, and he cheered for everybody. This January, he passed away, and I’ve been riding for Squirt wherever I go.”
Kassie pulled her 23-year-old rope horse, Mayday, out of retirement this year so Shanie could ride Kassie’s rope horse in college. “I breakaway and goat tie on her, and she’s as good as new. I run poles on a mare named Chica, and I show pigs and raise show goats as well. That’s my other favorite hobby.” Kassie started showing in 4-H when she was 7, and enjoys showing pigs through the winter when she’s not rodeoing. “It’s so cool getting to build bonds with them, and I put a lot of trust in them. I can show that to someone like the judge, and when you get acknowledged for it and do well, it pays off.”
A senior at Jefferson West High School, Kassie’s favorite class is college biology, and she’s doing her research project on blood transfusion. “The anatomy section and learning how the muscles work together intrigues me as well. I plan to get my doctor’s degree in chiropractics, and my plan is to work on humans and animals.” Kassie is also the student advisor in her student body and a member of FFA and the National Honor Society. She takes part in Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, where some of the high school students spend an hour with an elementary student once a week.
“I want to make it to the College National Finals—that’s one of my big goals,” Kassie finishes. “And hopefully I’ll win the state title this year for my senior year in the KHSRA.”