Graduation may be a big deal, but Strassman’s passion is rodeo.
“I told them I had to rope at Sisters,” said Strassman. “That’s pretty much my number one priority -- rodeo.”
A friend told him what he needed to know for the ceremony and he picked up his diploma with the rest of his classmates Thursday. The next day the teenager was on the road to
“He just has a passion,” said John Strassman, his father. “The kid wants to be on the back of a horse all the time.”
The 18-year-old Redmond High graduate is in second place in the state steer wrestling standings going into the High School State Finals rodeo this week. He also qualified in 10th place in the team roping with his partner Jordan Crossley of Hermiston. Crossley leads the girls all-around standings.
Strassman got his start with horses when his family moved to a 20-acre spread between
“It really made him a good rider,” said John Strassman. “He has good balance and skill and I think that contributed to his success.”
Skylar started participating in peewee rodeo in 7th-grade roping and chute dogging, an event where the contestant comes out of the chute hanging on to the animal. He jumped his first steer as a freshman.
“Probably my junior year I was getting the hang of it,” he said. “It just takes run after run to get the hang of it.”
At 5-10, 174 pounds, Strassman isn’t big for a steer wrestler, so skill is paramount. The thrill of accomplishing the complex athletic feat of throwing a big animal keeps him coming back for more.
“It’s just how you can throw a 400-pound steer on its side so quick. There’s a lot to it,” he said. “Especially being small you get a good run on (and) it makes you feel pretty good.”
Strassman is quick to credit Terrebonne cowboy Sam Willis and
“I think he’s kind of a town kid, but he has a passion for it,” said Willis, who likes Strassman’s athletic ability and willingness to try. “I think he can go as far as he wants to go.”
John Strassman credits Willis with steering his son toward college. Willis went to college in
“I just cracked the door for him,” said Willis. “And he took care of it after that.”
“There are a lot more places to go bulldog down there,” said Willis. “They just do it every day.”
Strassman trails his good friend Ryan Bothum of Hermiston by five points going into the state finals rodeo. They plan to attend Connors State College, a community college in
But first comes the state finals rodeo. Last year Strassman qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo in the steer wrestling and he hopes to repeat with a trip to the NHSFR at the state fairgrounds in
With two goes and a short round, athletes can put up a lot of points at the state finals.
“There’s so many points, the whole year basically comes down to the state finals,” he said.