Steffes steps to spotlight in 2016 College National Finals Rodeo |

Steffes steps to spotlight in 2016 College National Finals Rodeo

Heather Fryer
for Tri-State Livestock News
Kristi Steffes raised her horse, Captain, and advises anyone wishing to compete on a horse to spend quality time with the animal to form a strong bond, like she's done. with "Cappy." Photo courtesy Kristi Steffes

Steering Captain through a sea of sand, a Vale, S.D. cowgirl sailed around the barrels faster than all the rest. Kristi Steffes and her horse Captain captured the 68th annual 2016 College National Finals Rodeo Association championship during the finals in Casper, Wyo., June 10-18.

The Black Hills State University senior edged out 47 other competitors.

“I told myself no matter what happened, I was going to enjoy every minute there with the friends I’ve made over the past four years. For it to end the way it did was a dream come true,” Steffes said.

Steffes made her fastest run during the final performance, clocking in at 13.85 and turned in a total time of 56.09 after four days.

Her win added the sixth national championship title to BHSU’s rodeo team. Glen Lammers, head coach for the Yellow Jackets and Great Plains Region Coach of the Year, credited Steffes’ humilty and positive attitude for her success in the arena.

Her points helped place the BHSU women’s team in third in the nation and first in the Great Plains Region. For the first time in BHSU history, both the women’s and men’s teams finished in first place in the Great Plains Region in the same season.

Steffes has a special bond with the home-raised horse that carried her to victory. Captain has been with her for fifteen years.

While growing up in Vale, Steffes practiced riding in and outside the arena at her home.

Her mother grew up around horses and her father was a bull rider.

Steffes is studying elementary education and will finish her degree after one more year of classes. Ultimately, she’d like to live near home and teach in the area. She dreams of someday going to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Steffes feels lucky to have had great coaches. Having great coaches has inspired her to think about coaching rodeo someday.

Her sister, Nikki Steffes, a 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo competitor, is her mentor and inspiration.

“My sister has helped me in riding and barrel racing tips,” Steffes said. “She reminds me to have confidence and remember why I’m there (competing).”

Steffes has been invited to compete in the Cinch Rodeo Shootout at Cheyenne Frontier Days next month. She’ll spend her summer traveling the pro circuit rodeos in Casper, Sheridan and Cheyenne to name a few. ❖

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