story by Ruth Nicolaus Kate Rathjen has set standards and goals for herself. When the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association cowgirl was a little girl, […]
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Meet the Member Natalie Hoffman
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Natalie Hoffmann is a barrel racing and pole bending member of the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association.
The seventeen-year-old cowgirl, who lives in Prosser, Neb., grew up with parents who never rodeoed. But in fourth grade, she fell in love with horses and began riding. After watching local high school girls compete, she got really interested in it, and talked her parents into it.
She rides two horses for her events. Squirt, a twelve year old gelding, is her pole horse and occasional barrel horse. Niles, her eighteen year old sorrel, is her barrel horse when she’s not riding Squirt. Of the two, Squirt, a paint, has a lot of character. “He’s goofy,” Natalie says. “He likes to play with things. He’ll open the tack room door, and if you’re working outside and there’s a coat laying there, he’ll take it and run around with it.” Niles is more intense. “He knows his job, and he wants to do it. He’s more uptight.”
As a senior at Adams Central High School west of Hastings, Natalie’s favorite class is business law, in part because she enjoys the teacher, and in part because she feels it teaches useful things students should know. The teacher, Mr. Mulligan, teaches differently than others. “He brings different things into the classroom. He’s not always repetitive about doing notes, worksheets, quizzes and tests.”
Natalie is involved in several extracurricular activities, including membership in the FBLA, Student Council, and as treasurer of the school’s FFA chapter. She is on her school’s honor roll as well.
She suffered an injury in the summer of 2011 that has prevented her from playing sports. In a four-wheeler accident, she tore the labrum in her left shoulder. Because doctors told her surgery and recovery time would be a year, she has chosen to live with it, because she didn’t want to miss rodeo. When she goes to college, she plans on getting it fixed. It doesn’t bother her too much, it just gets sore from time to time.
Natalie has been accepted into Oklahoma State University’s honors college, where she will major in economics and possibly work towards a pre-law degree. The honors college will provide smaller class sizes and more opportunities for her education. Because the work might be more intense, she’s decided she probably won’t rodeo her freshman year. The studies might be harder, but she’s not worried about it. “I tend to work hard,” she says.
In her spare time, she likes to read biographies. So far, she’s read biographies on Hillary Clinton, North Carolina’s basketball coach Roy Williams, and the former Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt. She loves watching basketball and followed the Oklahoma State team closely.
Natalie has two older siblings: Nicole Jacobsen and Justin Hoffmann. Nicole is married with four daughters, and one of those nieces, McKenna, is horse crazy, like her aunt Natalie.
She qualified for state finals in both her events her sophomore and junior years. She also runs barrels in NBHA, Nebraska 4D and Better Barrel Races.
She is the daughter of Tim and Pam Hoffmann.