Gabbi Steele, 17, works after school as a barista at Mudd Shack Drive-Thru Espresso at Centennial Mall. Steele’s family is heavily involved in rodeo and even has an indoor training facility to use in the winter.

Photo by Scott Schlaufman

Gabbi Steele, 17, works after school as a barista at Mudd Shack Drive-Thru Espresso at Centennial Mall. Steele’s family is heavily involved in rodeo and even has an indoor training facility to use in the winter.

My Life, My Words: Gabbi Steele

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Name:

Gabbi Steele

Age:

17

Occupation: Student/ barista at Mudd Shack Drive-Thru Espresso

“I pretty much do everything (in rodeo.) I rope, do barrels, poles, goat tying and trail course.

“I like that we get to do it with our family and stuff. My whole family does it and, actually, all my cousins and everything (do too). We get to go see friends that we don’t see here.

“All my aunts and uncles have rodeoed, so it’s family tradition.

“I started when I was eight.

“When I was about 10, we were out gathering cows on horses because my grandpa owns a ranch. My horse spooked, I had a pretty bad wreck, and I never wanted to ride again.

“I broke all the sinuses in my face, I broke bones. It was pretty bad. I got dragged off my horse and dragged through a barbed-wire fence. … I never wanted to ride again, but that didn’t happen.

“I wanted to actually buy the horse back. We sold it and I wanted to buy it back but my mom said no.

“(I got back in rodeo) when a friend of my stepsisters was selling one of her older horses and we bought him. I fell in love with him and we still have him. He’s like 26 and can barely move.

“We’ve gone as far as Utah before and we go to the national finals in Pueblo, Colo. I do Little Britches Rodeo and high school rodeo.

“I have two little sisters — one is six and the other one is nine. My 9-year-old sister is a world champion barrel racer. It’s pretty cool. My mom and dad are just my supporters.

“In 2006, I was (Little Britches) reserve world champion in (pole bending). My whole family’s always been good at poles. My stepsister was a state champion pole bender. It’s just my dad’s (thing). We’re good at it.

“We have the finals down in Pueblo. We have to qualify, I think it’s three times, you have to place in the top seven of each event to qualify. You compete in two rounds and they take the top 15 back to the short round, which is like the championship round. The winner of that is the world champion.

“I think there’s about 800 contestants, so it’s a lot (of people).”

“There’s people from Canada and I think we’ve had some people from Australia, but it’s mostly the United States.

“I (was reserve world champion in) pole bending in 2006, and I did it this last year in the trail course. It’s not first, I always want that, but it’s still pretty cool.

“I think (rodeo) helps keep everybody out of trouble because when you’re at home you never really have any spare time. You’re either practicing or doing the chores on the ranch or gone at a rodeo.”

— Interview by Scott Schlaufman

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