Strathmore Rodeo School hosts fourth annual workshop

·3 min read

Strathmore’s annual rodeo school returned last week for its fourth year of operation, with administrators excited to see another year of success.

The rodeo school saw athletes coming out to the Strathmore rodeo grounds for four days of instruction from industry professionals to help better their game and pique interest in a variety of rodeo sports.

Scott Schiffner, former professional bull rider, was asked to assist in coaching the Strathmore Rodeo School since its inception.

“I’ve worked with the Johansen brothers for years actually, they got me started in rodeo with one of their schools way back in the steer riding days and as I progressed over time, they kind of slowly asked me to help them with their schools,” said Schiffner. “I’ve been helping them now for just about 15 years, so just seemed like a good fit, right at home for all of us originally from Strathmore. It’s nice to do something like this in your hometown.”

The rodeo school originally started with bull riding only in its first year and has been adding events to its roster in the years following.

Now, students can come out to experience and practice bareback, bronc riding, barrel racing and breakaway roping. The lattermost of which is a new addition to the school this year.

Each of the events, Schiffner said, is instructed by different industry professionals with appropriate experience in the events.

“It’s really important to me. Over the years, rodeo … (has) given me pretty much everything I have in life, so it’s nice to give back to it,” said Schiffner. “We really take it upon ourselves to try to get the kids off on the right foot and put them on the right stock, and then help them the best we can. The more it grows, the more it helps the sport and the longer the sport can live. Hopefully, over time, some of these kids can go on to make a very successful living as being bull riders.”

Schiffner did clarify the goal of the school is not necessarily to train the next world class athletes, but to introduce youth to the sport and give them a good experience to take away from.

Though each of the students who come out are different and have varying levels of comfort in the ring, he added a highlight of being able to put on the school is simply to see the growth experienced by the kids who come out in such a short period of time.

“I think the biggest thing is just seeing the growth in the kids and seeing them overcome their barriers. We have kids who show up here who have never been on (a bull) and by the end of the day … they’ve now been on maybe six bulls and their confidence is really improving in that,” said Schiffner. “Some of the more advanced kids that show up too, we help them with little things, tweak little things and all of a sudden, it’s like the light bulb goes on. For me, it’s just seeing them grow and just seeing, what they realize they can do and what they can accomplish.”

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times