Buckles and Spurs


Kelsi Eastman competed in her first rodeo at age three, and she’s been in the saddle ever since


Photos | Alisha Jucevic

Kelsi Eastman competed in her first rodeo at age three, and she’s been in the saddle ever since. “I always ride horses with my mom. She would just carry me or put me in a backpack, and off we went,” Eastman says.

Now a senior at McNary High School in Keizer, Oregon, Eastman remains dedicated to her horses and to rodeo. Though she balances school with a part-time job that helps pay for horse supplies, her priorities have not changed. She cuts down on outside activities to free up her time, and even missed her senior prom to compete in a rodeo.

“My goal is always to be the best at rodeo I can be and just get better every year, so you just kind of forget about everything else,” says Eastman. “I’ve just grown up with it my whole life.”

She has competed in some sort of rodeo association every year since she was a child: the Northwest Junior Rodeo, the Junior High School Rodeo, and the Oregon High School Rodeo. “I’ll have horses forever, and I hope when I am older I can train horses,” she says.

Next year, Eastman will most likely attend Chemeketa Community College and compete as an independent rider in college rodeo. She hopes to transfer to a four-year college rodeo team, and compete in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association and the National Finals Rodeo.