story by Lindsay Humphrey “I high school rodeo more for the memories; have some good times with buddies and get out of town for a […]
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Meet the Member Konner Bickerstaff
story by Lindsay Humphrey
Life for 17-year-old Konner Bickerstaff has been consumed by two things: soccer and rodeo. Rodeo came first, but she’s been competing in both for almost her entire life. “Rodeo is a family thing. As soon as I could walk, I was put on a horse,” said the Ada High School junior. “I’ve done rodeo for as long as I can remember and so has my sister, Kennadee (15).” Unfortunately, Konner’s junior rodeo and soccer season came to a screeching halt this spring when she tore her right ACL during a game. “It was a crazy, freak accident where I took a bad step and that was it. This is the second time I’ve torn my ACL. The first time was freshman year in my left leg.” After surgery this spring, Konner expects to be back in the saddle by August, so she’ll be read for her senior year.
Before getting sidelined, Konner was sitting well in both of her events – poles and breakaway roping. “I have a super sweet pole horse who knows how to do his job and can take care of business when I get out of his way.” It was only about two years ago when Konner started roping calves seriously. She’s still trying to get the hang of it, but she enjoys how quickly the event happens. “I like rodeo in general because of the lifestyle. Not many people get the opportunity to experience that.” One of Konner’s fondest memories growing up that helps illustrate this unique lifestyle comes from late nights at gymkhana events. “When I was about 5, dad entered us in playdays, and those things would last until 2 in the morning. I remember that being every Friday night when I was little, and I loved it.”
Although she loves rodeo and soccer almost equally, Konner thinks she’ll pursue soccer in college over rodeo. It’s still early though and she could end up choosing rodeo after all. “I love the game [soccer] and the team aspect of it. With rodeo you’re doing your own thing with your horse but in soccer it’s you with 10 other girls.” More than just the bonding experience of soccer, Konner also likes the physicality of the sport. “I like the physical contact and the running. And then there’s that feeling you get when you do something good. It’s similar to making a good run in rodeo.” Konner is lucky in several different aspects of life, but one of them is that she gets to share both rodeo and soccer with her younger sister.
“Now that Kennadee is a freshman, we’re on the same soccer team and competing against each other in high school rodeo.” Most people ask if Konner and her sister get on each other’s nerves, but the opposite is true most of the time. “We really hype each other up. I want her to do her best and she wants the same for me. Now that we’re older, we understand each other and have a better bond because of it. That makes it more enjoyable.” Without the full support of their parents – Kevin and Lou – Konner and her sister wouldn’t be where they are today in either sport. “My dad has taught us to be really hard workers and if we’re going to do something that we might as well do our best at it.” If dad is the pusher, then mom is the encourager. “She keeps our spirits up and tries to put us all in a better mood. But they’re both our biggest fans.”
Both Konner and her sister transferred to Ada High School a few years ago so they could pursue their dreams of playing soccer. “We only played a few games together before I got hurt but I enjoyed it a lot. I think rodeo has helped a lot with soccer just because of how we’ve been raised to work hard and not give up. I think it shows on the soccer field in both of us.” As the social butterfly of the family, Konner loves people. Some of her favorites are in the OHSRA. “Everyone knows each other, and we love each other like family. We all live the same lifestyle. If it wasn’t for the people, I wouldn’t enjoy it near as much as I do.”