story by Siri Stevens photos by Jake Hodnett/Jake Brakes Pics Jake Hodnett started taking rodeo pictures after his dad, Jim Hodnett, asked for help at […]
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Meet the Member Robbie Stearns
story by Michele Toberer
For the Stearns family, rodeo has literally been a part of their lives since the day they met; and they are happy to have the Kansas Professional Rodeo Association as a focus for their family now. After competing in the KPRA for over 9 years, Robbie Stearns, the 2017 KPRA Champion Breakaway Roper, was just named the 2018 KPRA All-Around Champion Cowgirl after a successful season in breakaway roping and barrel racing. In addition to Robbie’s success, her husband, Colt Stearns, recently won the 2018 KPRA Champion Steer Wrestler title.
Originally from Nebraska, Robbie and Colt met while they were competing in the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association. After graduating from Arthur County High School in 2005, the two went on to compete on the same college rodeo team, for Northwestern Oklahoma State University. The couple made the college national finals in 2009; Colt in steer wrestling, and Robbie in goat tying and breakaway roping. Robbie was also the 2009 NIRA Central Plains Region Champion Breakaway Roper. Enjoying the warmer climate, the couple decided to set their roots down in Oklahoma after college, and currently live in Freedom, Oklahoma with their two daughters, Paige, 7, and Paislynn, 3. Colt works for the state of Oklahoma agriculture department, and Robbie helps to manage their ranch where besides raising their daughters, they raise meat goats and beef cattle. “We’ve also started getting into show goats, and I have several young barrel prospects I’m working with.”
Robbie is a third-generation cowgirl that grew up on the back of a horse, “My dad Kelly Wilson roped calves and my granddad rodeoed also. On the ranch I grew up on we used horses every day for work, so I started young colts and anything involving horse-work, I was there! But the fence-work, I jumped out of those types of chores.” Robbie’s dad taught her breakaways roping skills, and while she was in high school, she would ride with her neighbor, Virgiline McCaslin, who was a barrel racing trainer.
Raising and training barrel horses has been a love of Robbie’s for many years, and she is currently riding an 8-year-old sorrel mare named Raisinet Goldseeker, that she purchased as a two-year-old with only 15 days of riding on her. Robbie is proud of the success she’s had on a horse trained primarily by her. Reba, registered as Little Sadies Potion, is Robbie’s 15-year-old sorrel breakaway mare, “I call her Reba because she’s a red-headed Okie. I’ve had her since she was two and have done all the training on her also.” Robbie’s horses are a big part of her goals for the upcoming year as she’d like to get back to competing in barrel racing futurities, “I have some really nice young barrel horses coming up, one of them is out of my mare Reba, and I’m excited about what we can do in the future.”
The Stearns’ oldest daughter, Paige has just embarked on her own rodeo career as a fourth-generation cowgirl, and is competing in barrel racing, pole bending, goat untying and dummy roping at junior rodeos. She is riding a 7-year-old white mare named Snow White that Robbie trained after buying her as a yearling. “I wouldn’t normally think of putting a young kid on a young horse, but this combination is just really working. Snow White really likes kids and is very gentle, so Paige is really doing well on her.”
A true family affair, Robbie’s brother Chip Wilson is often at the same rodeos as Colt and Robbie, as he’s a KPRA competitor also. With a busy work and family schedule, KPRA offers the Stearns family the opportunity to remain competitive in a sport they love while balancing the rest of their time-commitments. “With most of the rodeos being fairly close for us, KPRA makes it possible to run our place and still go out and rodeo because we don’t have to be gone so long. Every once in awhile I think our life is going to slow down, but it never does.”