Ride’m cowboy: Andy Steffen enjoys life on the rodeo circuit

August 2009 Posted in People

By Dixon BledsoeSilverton resident Andy Steffen on the rodeo circuit.

Andy Steffen is a cowboy, a farmer, Silverton High School graduate and a 13-year veteran of the rodeo circuit.

The 22-year-old rodeo rider participates in as many as 40 rodeos annually and 2008 was his best year as a professional with winnings of more than $5,000.

“I hope to beat that this year,” Steffen said last week after participating in the Santiam Canyon Stampede in Sublimity and with another rodeo coming up.

Steffen graduated from Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton last year, a school known as much for its rodeo program as its agriculture degree. He holds an associate degree in crop and agricultural production. The single cowboy is dating, but typical of the strong, silent type the West is famous for, he won’t say much else about that subject unless pressed. After some wrangling, Steffen mentions that his girlfriend, Tayler Blickenstaff, is a barrel racer from Idaho and shows horses on the American Quarter Horse Association circuit. She’s currently in Oklahoma City participating in the World Finals.

Steffen is a nationally recognized tie-down roper. Tie-down roping is an interaction between a horse, a cowboy and a very fast steer. He was second in the Northwest Region for collegiate cowboys and placed ninth in the collegiate rodeo finals out of the 40 who were good enough to make the grade.

“That is probably what I am most proud of. Just getting to the finals was really a great experience, and only 40 of us made it there out of hundreds of riders nation-wide,” he said.

When asked about his favorite experience so far in a career spanning 13 years, despite the fact that he is only 22, Steffen said, “That’s easy. I just really like traveling to all the big rodeos on the Pro – St. Paul is my favorite.”

He began as an amateur but now rides in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit. He hopes to head to Texas next winter, a state known for turning out some of the world’s best cowboys, in order to improve his skills and continue competing. His current plan is to compete for a couple of years.

“I do hope to keep rodeoing, get married and farm or ranch out in Eastern Oregon,” he said.

He blew out a knee last October with a meniscus tear, but says he is doing much better now. It is the only real injury he has experienced in a sport known for its danger.

Steffen has three horses well trained in the event, but his top horse is “Fancy” which was purchased from a family friend, Ricky Canton, a champion cowboy from Texas. Canton has the best time ever recorded in the event (6.3 seconds), although Le Phillips of Saskatchewan recorded a 5.7 second tie-down without leaving the box. The smart money is betting that Ricky’s horses, like Fancy, are going to be fast. Steffen is aiming for the record books, with a best time so far of 9.1 seconds.

The son of Randy and Laurie Steffen, Andy loves the life of being a cowboy and a farmer. “I plan to keep doing it as long as I can, and ranch and farm at the same time. It’s a good life.”

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