story by Ruth Nicolaus Ella Lacey hasn’t been a member of the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association for long, but she loves it. The Weston, […]
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Meet the Member Leif Meidell
story by Ruth Nicolaus
If things go as planned, Leif Meidell will be back to riding bucking horses again this spring.
The Harrison, Neb. cowboy, a saddle bronc rider and team roper in the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association, came off a bucking horse wrong at the Lexington, Neb. rodeo last fall and broke his neck. He was in a neck brace for a while, and at the end of February, was cleared to ride saddle broncs and team rope again, which makes his world much better.
For the team roping, he rides a bay horse who is lot like his rider. Kid, who is a coming seven-year-old, “is pretty much the image of me,” Leif said. “He’s a pain the butt, stubborn, hard-headed, and he likes to buck every now and then to mess with me and keep me honest.”
But the two get along great. “He and I have always clicked,” he said. “I’ve always roped better when I ride him.” Leif heels for Blaise Lange.
A senior at Sioux County High School in Harrison, Leif isn’t crazy about school. The best part of the school day is being in the ag shop, where he loves to build things. He’s built calving sheds, coffee tables, coat racks, dog houses, and branding pots. Sometimes he builds things for his or his family’s use. Sometimes his projects end up being sold at the labor auction, a fundraiser for the FFA.
In high school, he played basketball one year and football three years, missing the 2021 season due to the broken neck. He also wrestled.
For fun, he likes to call coyotes at night with a neighbor, or run around with his friends.
Leif owns a few head of cows that he calves out every year, and works in the summer for neighbors.
The most fun he’s had on a trip was going to a college rodeo in Gillette, Wyo., with his sister in the spring of 2021. With no parents around, it was “all kind of late nights and wild times,” he said.
The best meal his mom makes is chicken fried steak, and the best dessert she makes is a strawberry dessert with a graham cracker crust and strawberries, whipped cream and Jello.
He’s qualified for the state finals each of the last three years and went to the 2021 National High School Finals in the saddle bronc riding, where he didn’t do well, in part because of his draw.
This fall, he will attend college at either Chadron (Neb.) State or Casper (Wyo.) College. He’ll compete collegiately in the saddle bronc riding and possibly the team roping as well, depending on securing a partner. Leif would like to major in wildlife management.
His parents, Eric and Tricia, are proud of their son. “He’s a perfectionist,” Eric said. “He really strives, whether it’s football, wrestling, rodeo or hunting coyotes, to excel at it. He’s always looking to get better and do his best.”
Leif has two older sisters. Abby is 22 and lives in Utah, and Maddie is 21. Both sisters competed in high school rodeo.