Rocker is Rolling to the NFR

It’s difficult to pinpoint the moment Rocker Steiner made an impact in professional rodeo.

Was it when he won titles in Odessa, Texas, or Denver? Was it when he set a new world record with a 95-point ride on C5 Rodeo’s Virgil to win the Riggin Rally in Darby, Montana? Was it when he won the Calgary Stampede?

Or was it when he finished his first ProRodeo regular season fifth in the world standings to earn his first berth to the National Finals Rodeo?

No matter the instance, all of Steiner’s success resulted in winning the bareback riding Resistol Rookie of the Year award, one of the most prestigious honors in the sport.

“It makes me feel good that I got to do this and make the finals,” said Steiner, 18, of Weatherford, Texas. “I was never just going after the Rookie of the Year. It’s a title I definitely wanted, but it wasn’t my only focus.

“I was focused on making the NFR, and I figured that if I could do that, then I’d win the rookie title. It’s a dual accomplishment.”

Most of what he’s done in 2022 has been a major accomplishment. He finished the regular season with $134,328 in earnings, but what isn’t there is money he earned that didn’t count toward the standings: Half of his Calgary earnings were part of that, then there was another $15,000 he collected while still competing on his PRCA permit.

Had that $40,000 been included, he’d be atop the bareback riding money list heading to Las Vegas.

“It’s always a great feeling knowing you can do something you love, hang out with friends and make money doing it,” he said. “You get to come out here and travel across the country while making money doing what you love. It’s always fun.”

He’s having fun, and it’s almost as if he were groomed to be great. He’s the legacy of champions: Grandfather Bobby Steiner won the 1973 bull riding world championship, while dad Sid Steiner earned the 2002 Montana Silversmiths gold buckle in steer wrestling. His mother, Jamie Steiner, qualified for the NFR in barrel racing.

Rocker Steiner didn’t follow in those footsteps initially, focusing on other sports like wakeboarding, football, basketball, baseball, swimming and boxing. He went to his first rodeo when he was about 13 years old and didn’t go to another for a year or two when he was part of the Cheyenne (Wyoming) Frontier Days at 15


“My next rodeo was Des Moines (Iowa), which was my first event in ProRodeo,” he said of the World’s Toughest Rodeo in early January of this year. “I never competed in amateur rodeo, and I never high school rodeoed.”

His focus was on riding bareback horses, and his world championship genetics just made the approach a little easier. He’s had coaching from some of the best bareback riders, men who have made multiple NFRs and have been around the game for a long time. During exhibitions, he proved those lessons were well-taught, and he proved his ability to spur a bucking horse at a young age.

“I asked my grandad when I was probably 10 or 11 if I was built like a bull rider, and he said I was built more like a bareback rider,” Rocker Steiner said. “I didn’t even know what bareback riding was back then. They had the idea of me riding bucking horses. I was a wakeboarder, and I wanted to learn how to compete a little more.

“My grandad said he thought I needed to ride bareback horses, and my dad thought he was crazy.”

It takes a special soul to virtually lock oneself onto a bucking horse, and the younger Steiner has that. He’s been part of the Resistol team for a few years now, but his ties to the hat-maker goes back longer than that.

“I’ve been Resistol since I was 15, but I’ve worn Resistol since I started wearing a cowboy hat,” he said. “It’s all I’ve ever known, and it’s all I’ll ever wear.”