(Editor’s note: PRCA release)
DARBY, Mont. – It’s only taken a few months for rookie Rocker Steiner to etch his name into the record books.
Steiner turned 18 in December 2021 and now, just five months into his professional career, he has claimed his first title at a Riggin’ Rally stop and he did so in world record fashion with a 95-point ride aboard renowned bucking horse Virgil from C5 Rodeo.
“I’m so mind blown right now,” Steiner said. “That was one of the most special moments of my life. I’ve been dreaming of getting that horse for about four years now, ever since I started riding.”
Turns out, Steiner had a premonition of the world record moment weeks ago.
“The craziest thing is I texted one of my buddies about two weeks ago and I said, ‘bro, what if I set the world record on Virgil?'” Steiner laughed, adding that his dad, 2002 PRCA World Champion Steer Wrestler Sid dreamed that he won the event on the famous gray horse.
The Riggin’ Rally features a unique format. The 30 contestants, comprised of the top 24 in the PRCA | RAM World standings alongside six riders who advanced from a qualifier held the day prior to the Riggin Rally, were drawn into three sections. The top three from each section move on to the nine-man finals.
On Sunday night, the competitors were able to draft their livestock for the long round. With the fourth pick in his section, Steiner chose Brookman Rodeo’s Boozy Beaver. Three-time PRCA World Champ Tim O’Connell set the bar at 88 points for the section win, while Steiner tied for second with Canadian cowboy Ty Fast Taypotat, who advanced to compete through Saturday’s qualifier. The matching 83-point rides squeaked into the sudden-death finals.
Then came the finals, a sudden death competition known to produce marquee matchups and high scores.
“We were sitting behind the chutes and Will O’Connell was calling out who’s matched up against what horse and he said, ‘Rocker Steiner, Virgil,'” Steiner recalled. “Right there, my stomach dropped, I was scared. I was so ready. I knew something great was going to happen, and it did.”
As he made final preparations for his ride, Steiner admitted to a war between his ears.
“Honestly, I strapped my glove on and took a deep breath and I was thinking, ‘why am I doing this to myself?'” he said with another laugh.
When the gates blew open, Steiner matched moves with the two-time PRCA and two-time Canadian champion horse and hit the ground to a huge celebration.
“It was everything I dreamed of,” he said. “I just kept telling myself to set the brakes because he was going to want me out the front.
“I couldn’t believe that I made the whistle, and I knew I was going to make the whistle,” he joked.
Steiner’s 95-point ride broke up a logjam of six 94-point rides that formerly held the world record, originally set in 2002.
“I couldn’t draw it up any better than that,” Steiner said. Both his dad and granddad were on hand to share the moment. “That’s been my favorite horse for four years now. I always dreamed of getting on that horse and setting a world record on him and I did today.”
Steiner earned $10,000 for the win. He came to Montana 15th in the PRCA | RAM World Standings and will move up the ladder as he aims to make his Wrangler National Finals Rodeo debut in 2022.
But Steiner wasn’t thinking of the money or the standings on Sunday night.
“Setting the world record at 18 years old lasts forever,” he said. “Nobody is going to remember how much money I made. Everyone is going to remember I set the world record at 18 years old on one of the best bucking horses to ever be on this Earth.
“That’s what mattered to me. It wasn’t about the money or the fans. It was about me and Virgil.”
As for the record, Steiner says not to expect it to take another 20 years to break this one.
“My record is going to be broken but it’s going to be by me,” he said.