Ride ‘em, cowboy! Local young man qualifies for Junior World Finals

Success in the saddle ... Colton Steiber, age 12, of Waukon shows his form that has won him numerous saddle bronc riding championships over the past year-and-a-half. His success in the saddle has now qualified him for the Junior Roughstock World Finals Senior Saddle Bronc Riding competition in Las Vegas, NV in early December. Submitted photo.

Displaying the hardware ... Twelve-year-old Colton Steiber of Waukon proudly displays the belt buckle he won in the Senior Saddle Bronc Riding competition at the 2019 Match of the Broncs held in Dayton this past September. Steiber has now qualified to compete in the Junior Roughstock World Finals Senior Saddle Bronc Riding competition in Las Vegas, NV in early December. Photo courtesy of BMW Photography by Brittany Tilleraas.

Colton Steiber to compete in Saddle Bronc Riding championship in Las Vegas

by David M. Johnson

Daydreams are oftentimes the spark that fuels life’s successes. Playing in major college or professional sports, appearing in television dramas or movies, being chosen to play in the symphony orchestra, or being a major player in business or industry are some things attained by the most gifted or hardest-working handful.

For one local student in Waukon Middle School, qualifying for world finals competition on a major stage in saddle bronc riding is one of those life success moments.

Colton Steiber, age 12, the son of Daric and Lacey Steiber of rural Waukon, will be heading out to Las Vegas, NV December 4 to see if he is one of the best of the best at staying in the saddle while a four-legged ball of fire tries to prevent him from doing so. He will be competing in the ages 12-15 bracket in saddle bronc competition to determine a champion in the Junior Roughstock World Finals.

Saddle bronc riding might appear to be something most only see on television or in the movies, but for Colton it’s become another part of his life in rural Waukon. He has been riding horses before he could walk. He grew up helping his dad break horses and on horseback he would help work the family’s cattle herd.

Colton’s father, Daric, age 41, has been riding and competing in rodeo all of his life. Daric has been involved with saddle bronc, bareback and bull riding. Even with some past incidents where there were some broken bones in the hands and legs, he still competes. Colton has been a witness to his dad’s riding and decided he too wanted to give it a try.

About a year-and-a-half ago, in July of 2018, Colton was asked by his dad if he wished to try his hand at it. Colton did not hesitate, immediately beginning to practice for his first competition.  At a youth rodeo in West Union, Colton entered and won the saddle bronc competition.

Continuing a family tradition where both his dad and his uncle, Dexter Steiber, have lived the rodeo life, Colton has continued to work his way into that lifestyle as well. In the winter of 2018 the younger Steiber won the Junior Saddle Bronc title in the Tuff-N-Nuff winter series rodeo in Fort Dodge. Daric wishes that organizations like Tuff-N-Nuff had existed when he first started competing as he began going up against adults when he was competing at Colton’s age.

“It was tough and sometimes brutal,” observed Daric as he looked back at his younger days of competition.

In the summer of 2019, Colton rode the summer series for the Tuff-N-Nuff Rodeo Association, traveling from site to site for contests found in the Midwest. His appearances in the many rodeos held in the more local region qualified Colton for the National Finals in Mason City in September of this year. There he won the Senior Champion Saddle Bronc Rider title and was also the average winner for the finals.

In September, Colton also qualified for and competed in the National Cattle Congress Rodeo in Waterloo. He had qualified by competing in the Match of the Bronc Series for the Midwest Mini Buckers at a rodeo in the Iowa town of Dayton, winning the Senior Saddle Bronc competition to propel himself to the Cattle Congress event.

This young Waukon cowboy finished second at the Cattle Congress, which qualified him for the Junior Roughstock World Finals (JRNFR). The Finals will be held in Las Vegas December 5-14 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Competition numbers have not been finalized yet, but in Colton’s ages 12-15 bracket there could be as many as 20 to 30 competitors.

Colton is among the youngest riders in his age bracket, but with his past successes there is a very real possibility he might be in the mix for a world championship. Iowa is sending six cowboys to the Las Vegas event, the highest number ever to come from Iowa.

When Colton begins competition, he will be assigned a horse and will start in the short round of competition. If he does well, he will advance to the title round to decide placings for the world title. There are two judges and both rider and horse will be judged on a 50-point system. When Colton is settled on his mount, he will begin by raising his spurs above the horse’s shoulders for the first jump. The points will be awarded on control and how many times a rider can spur the horse. The total accumulation of points will determine if Colton is in the finals.

Like others who have dipped their toe into the waters of state and national competitions, Colton and his family have experienced sacrifice along the way. Colton goes through a physical regimen just like other athletes, working out seven days a week.  He concentrates on a grueling physical workout, stretching, push-ups and sit-ups, coupled with a mental preparation to hone his concentrating skills so he can block out any possible interference during competition.

About 10 times a month he will use practice animals to prepare for the many rodeos. One of his practice animals has also been chosen to go to Las Vegas to be used in the competition, so there is the possibility that Colton and one of his practice horses might be paired in the arena, depending upon the luck of the draw.

Along with riding the rodeo circuit and the hardships that it entails, there are financial concerns that go with a deep involvement in this type of endeavor. The Steibers have lined up a number of sponsors who have assisted greatly in making Colton’s dream become a reality.  Daric and family always welcome any addition to that sponsor list to ensure that his son is able to chase his dreams. Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor is invited to reach out to the family.

No matter what the outcome in Las Vegas might be, Colton will continue to ride and after high school plans to join the professional circuit. He owns some of his own practice horses, which he hauls to Rogue Rodeo events and to Clint, Wendy and Cody Burkholder’s practice events.

When asked if there was anyone else, besides his dad, that has been an inspiration to his success in the saddle, Colton replied, “Wade Sundell, who is the world’s best saddle bronc rider.”

One of Colton’s favorite rodeo moments was being able to ride this past October in World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider Wade Sundell’s benefit rodeo held in Dayton. Last August in a rodeo in California, Sundell was injured when his horse reared up backwards in the chute, lacerating Sundell’s liver.  Before that incident, he was one of the fastest rising stars, eventually leading to his world championship in saddle bronc competition. The small town of Dayton, located here in Iowa, used to host one of the world’s largest rodeo events.

Using both his dad and Sundell as role models, Colton is anxious to begin his own road to fame and stardom, plus what could turn out to be a very lucrative occupation that entails something Colton loves to do, saddle bronc riding. Should that road continue to lead him to the kind of recent success he’s experienced, one can bet that Colton Steiber will be riding tall in the saddle in more ways than one.

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