story by Ruth Nicolaus After her first semester of Nebraska Junior High School Rodeo, Charli Coats is loving it. The Juniata, Neb. cowgirl just started […]
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Meet the Member Sam McDaniel
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Sam McDaniel and his horse Tank have a lot in common.
They both love to be active, they both give 100 percent at whatever they do, and they both try their hardest.
Tank is the Appaloosa mount belonging to Sam, a Nebraska Junior High School Rodeo Association member who lives near Sargent.
Sam rides Tank for the breakaway roping, and also competes in the chute dogging, saddle bronc riding, and bull riding. Of his events, bull riding is his favorite because of the “big adrenaline rush,” he said. “It’s crazy how much adrenaline you get from riding bulls.”
He is an eighth grade student at Sargent School which, “honestly,” he said, “is pretty boring, but I do my best.” He likes his ag and science classes; in science, students are studying space and the planets, which he enjoys. His least favorite class is English, because of the reading. He is not a big fan of books.
Sam plays football and wrestles and looks forward to being an FFA member next year in high school.
The best dish his mom makes is his great-grandma Jenny Hagstrand’s coffee cake. The entire family: Sam and his parents, Amber and Lex, love it, and whoever gets up earliest in the morning makes it. It includes cinnamon and walnuts and Sam loves it so much that sometimes he eats the entire pan.
He likes to help with meals made on the grill, like deer steaks and t-bone steaks, and likes to bake as well.
He enjoys hunting deer, turkeys, coyotes and raccoons and has harvested three deer since he started hunting. His first deer was a 3×3 with big antlers and is mounted on his wall. His second deer was a 4×4 with small antlers, but he doesn’t mind the size of the rack. What counts is the size of the deer, he says. “I put deer meat in the freezer, which is what I wanted. You don’t eat the antlers,” although he concedes that they do look nice on the wall.
Sam loves to work on getting old vehicles running. Right now, he and his dad are working on a 1997 Ford 7.3 liter Power Stroke, adding more horse power. It’s going well, although he’s at a standstill till he can make more money to buy parts. When Sam has questions about rebuilding vehicles, he asks his uncle Eric McDaniel, a former mechanic.
To earn money to buy vehicle parts and other necessities, he works for a neighbor, driving grain cart in the harvest field. He also works for his parents on their ranch. He does “pretty much anything they tell me,” he said, which, in the summer, includes the hayfield. This summer they’ll put up 450 acres of alfalfa, with Sam running the swather and the rake. In the winter, he helps feed cows.
He has a couple of dream vehicles he’d like to own when he turns sixteen. One is a 2011 Dodge 350 flatbed with a short box crew cab. He’d also like a first generation Cummins, probably in an 1970s or 1980s Dodge, which are hard to find. “They’re either rusted out or expensive,” he said. If he’s going for good fuel mileage, he’ll consider a Mustang.
The most fun he’s ever had on a trip was going to Florida last summer. He learned how to surf, skate boarded a lot, caught some big ten-pound fish, and ate a lot of seafood.
When he grows up, he’d like to be a PBR bull rider or a PRCA saddle bronc rider.
His dad, Lex, loves that his son is a hard worker. “You don’t have to follow up on him to make sure he did the work,” Lex said. “He does a good job at being responsible.”
Sam has three sisters: Shelby Horn, Hannah McDaniel, and Bailey, who is in heaven. He also has a brother, Hadley McDaniel, who is the person who influenced his bull riding.