“I’m pretty talkative and used to edit a magazine, so it just made sense to write a book,” said Roy Lilley, the 90 year old […]
On The Trail with The Steiners
Written by: Siri Stevens< Back to Articles
“I don’t know many people do what we do – all for one.” Bobby Steiner
Bobby Steiner won his gold buckle when becoming the World Champion Bull Rider in 1973. “It was really something being born into a rodeo family that owned a rodeo company,” said Bobby. “The bull riders were my heroes from the time I was a kid. I dreamed of being in the Gold Buckle Club. I wasn’t just thrilled for me when I won it. I was happy for my wife, Joleen, my mom and dad, and all the people that had so much to do with my accomplishment. Everybody put so much into it.” Bobby was 22 when he won the world. He quit competing to help his dad, Tommy, with the Steiner Rodeo Company. “I had accomplished what I dreamed about,” he said.
The legacy of Steiner Rodeo Company began with Buck Steiner, an early day entrepreneur in many areas, including saddle making and rodeo. Buck helped Tommy run the Rodeo Company. “My dad, Tommy, was a great showman in the rodeo business,” said Bobby. “I can remember he had big entertainers at our rodeos, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans . . the crew from Gunsmoke and Bonanza television programs, and so many more big stars. As a kid I didn’t know how special that was.”
Tommy and Bobby ran the Rodeo Company together for the next nine years. Joleen also helped time and secretary when rodeos overlapped. She had seen success in barrel racing, qualifying for the NFR in 1970 and 1971. When they sold the Rodeo Company in 1982, Bobby and Joleen spent their time raising their sons, Sid and Shane, and ranching.
“When we sold the Rodeo Company, the boys were 6 and 7 years old. I never wore my gold buckle, and never talked about rodeo. About a year later the boys asked me if they could ride the calves that were in the pens,” he recalled. “I agreed to let them ride. I’d put on rodeo schools before – but I had no equipment for them to use. It was going to be like the farm boys getting on. They rode to the back of the arena, got off, and never talked about it again. I did coach baseball and football,” Bobby recalled.
Sid doesn’t remember much about the Rodeo Company. He remembers growing up playing football and baseball. He and his brother are 14 months apart. “When we grew up on the ranch we were all we had, we played together and fought together. But we took different paths – we’ve both had success, and it was really a neat time. Rodeo wasn’t talked about — and there were no rodeo photos in the house.” Then Sid went to Ranger College, in Ranger, Texas, to play football. “That was the first time I’d been away from home, in Austin, and I wasn’t happy so I came home and worked on the ranch. A long-time friend and I started team roping in 1994. We would go to the arena and I’d borrow a horse. I didn’t really know how to saddle a horse, but we decided to team rope. I don’t think I even told my dad that I was roping, at first,” said Sid.
“A guy that was hauling cattle for us was a bulldogger and asked me to his house in 1995 to throw some steers down. I went and just kept working at it and getting better, but rodeo was the furthest from my mind. Joe Morris had some practice steers — I practiced with him for a month. Then I bought my permit and started going to pro rodeos. My mom entered me in Greeley in 1995 and I was off! Two months later I filled my PRCA permit.” Sid finished 18th in the PRCA Steer Wrestling in 1997 and that was a heart-breaker for him. “It took me three more years to get to the NFR,” recalled Sid. “My daughter, Steely, was born in 2001, and I decided not to rodeo any more.” Sid came home and watched the NFR from home. “That lit the fire under me again. I came out fresh in 2002 and knew exactly what I wanted out of it. I think everyone’s goal when they rodeo is to win the big title – that’s what we work for. I like to think I ‘outworked’ everybody. I was focused on what I wanted – I practiced hard, lifted a lot of weight and really tried. Sid won the gold buckle in steer wrestling in 2002. Like his father, that was it when he won, and he quit competing.
Sid met his wife, Jamie, at a rodeo in Caldwell, Idaho. Jamie grew up on the race track where her father was a jockey. “They didn’t want me to be a jockey so I ran barrels instead,” Jamie said. Sid and Jamie got engaged in December, 1999. She made the NFR the same year as Sid, in 2000. They got married in April of 2001. Steely, their daughter, was 11 months old at the 2002 National Finals when Sid won the world. “I’ve always been a stay-at-home mom,” Jamie explained. “Sid does real estate, buying places, fixing them up and selling them — I think we’ve moved seven times so far.”
“Every time we’ve moved it’s been exciting,” said Sid. “I like to buy places and improve them, then I find something else I want to go do. Our place here near Weatherford works really well for us – everybody is happy here. I’m fortunate to spend most of my days with my wife and kids. Steely rides horses, everybody’s got the things they like to do here, and we’re always trying to get better every day.”
While the kids were young, they lived near Lake Austin and the family spent many hours on the lake, waterskiing. “Rocker started wakeboarding when he was three,” said Sid. “Steely wasn’t in to the water — horses were her way. She still wakeboards, but prefers her horses.”
“I’ve been riding since I was way little,” said 18 year-old Steely. “I got my first pony when I was three and rode it around like a banshee.” Steely just graduated from Brock High School. Her goal for this year was to fill her WPRA barrel racing permit. “The plan was to go out and rodeo a little bit, but there’s nothing to go to,” she said, “So I’ll wait until next season to go.” She’s spending her time riding and practicing. “I have a few young horses and it’s fun to bring them along.” She is hoping to start down the rodeo road next year and then consider an online college to study business and accounting to help the family. She was Reserve Champion at the Junior American in 2018 in barrel racing, as well as the short round at the International Finals Youth rodeo. “I’m grateful for my family – we want to win and we work real hard and always put in the effort. We are there for each other,” stated Steely.
Her younger brother, Rocker, has lived up to his name. “He’s been a rock star from the time he was able to walk,” said granddad Bobby. “He thinks different – he was 8 when he tried a flip on the wakeboard and landed it. Rocker had competed all over the nation in wakeboarding. Rocker wasn’t raised in a family that was actively rodeoing but he decided he wanted to try rodeo. We put him on some bareback horses and he loved it. We’ve gotten him some broncs to practice on. He has a lot of body balance – Ty Murray has worked with him from the start and has even lent him the spurs Larry Mahan gave Ty, both great champions had ridden in them. You can never blame your ride on spurs,”
Bobby admitted, “I disliked being away from home when I was rodeoing. But I appreciate the rodeo world for what it is. I had forgotten the traveling road-show family and I’d forgotten how special that time was with my family.”
“Wakeboarding is something fun to do with friends,” said Rocker. “But being four feet off the ground on a wild animal is an ginormous adrenalin kick. Bareback riding has an adrenalin rush. You can’t even know if you’re going to make it out of the arena alive.” Rocker got on his first bareback horse August 29, 2016 – almost four years ago. “I was pretty certain I was the worst bareback rider ever. I didn’t do very good and I was scared to death,” he admitted. He got on ten horses a week, five at each practice, rode spur board and bucking machine daily. “My grandfather helped me every day. I had to make a deal with myself that I wasn’t going to be scared and the more I got on, the less I was scared,” he discovered.
Like his grandfather and dad, Rocker has set his goals high. “My main goal is make the Finals my rookie year, and I want that to be when I’m 18, and see if we can’t come home with a gold buckle – or something. I’m going to work every day to get there.”
With very few PRCA rodeos to go to these days, he’s had a couple of PRCA bareback riders staying at his home near Weatherford, Texas. “We (Leighton Berry and Cole Reiner) work out and try to get better every day – been doing that for the last couple of months since they’ve been here,” Rocker reported. They go to a little gym at Tesky’s in Weatherford. Cole is winning rookie this year, and both Leighton and Cole are on the road to the National Finals. “Seeing my buddies go and hit the road is going to push me and make me want to be on their level,” Rocker admitted. Rocker has two more years to go. “I’m not planning on doing any rodeos until I’m 18 – and I am going to keep doing this until I get my PRCA card. I want to be a world champion like my grandfather and dad – I wouldn’t be where I’m at without them – I appreciate that more than they’ll ever know.”
“I try to make my kids the best they can be,” said Sid. “We have a ranch outside Weatherford and we raise bucking horses. My wife, Jamie, and daughter, Steely, raise barrel horses. I do whatever I can do to help my family. I’m just real proud of my family – and that’s what I tried to do with rodeo – being proud of your last name and wanting to add something to it. That’s what keeps pushing us. We only got one shot at this deal, we might as well get after it.”
“I think if you look at the history of the Steiners, we’ve never talked about anything but great – we expect it,” concluded Bobby. “It’s way better watching your kids and grandkids have achievements – it’s a euphoric feeling.”