Humans of Flagstaff: Rodeo champion Stade Riggs

Stade Riggs with a lasso and cowboy hat in front of a wood fence

Stade Riggs, a junior who studies health science fitness wellness, spends his extra time on the back of a horse. Riggs, who is Navajo, competes in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and recently earned the title of Grand Canyon Region Saddle Bronc Champion, qualifying him for the College National Finals Rodeo in June in Casper, Wyoming. He talked to The NAU Review about his experiences in and out of the classroom. 

How did you get started doing rodeo? 

I got started in rodeo in the event of team roping at the age of 8; I then started the rough stock events in junior high through high school, where I then began riding Saddle Bronc. I was born into it, as everyone says—my dad rode bulls and my mom wasStade Riggs event of Saddle Bronc Riding in one photo at the Las Cruces college rodeo a barrel racer.  

How do you balance doing the rodeo with school, family and other obligations? 

I think that rodeo has helped me to shape my work ethic as well as the values that I was set with at a young age. I do not like to procrastinate, so I will get done the important chores so that I can have time for myself or have time to spend with family. I balance everything by making sure I try to set out a schedule and plan out what needs to be done, that being schoolwork on weekdays and try to set some time during the weekdays to work at my rodeo so I can perform to the best of my ability on the weekends at competitions.  

What is your favorite memory from the rodeo circuit? 

My favorite memory from the rodeo circuit is being able to travel and do what I love as well as helping friends out in their events and eating at Chili’s after the rodeo.  

Stade Riggs with his two horsesTell me about a significant childhood memory and how it has impacted your life today. 

It’s not just one memory but a few of them combinedI remember watching the rough stock events and wanting to be able to ride. I just make sure to say hi to kids behind the chutes because I remember at one time I was in their shoes before. It doesn’t cost anything to make someone’s day by saying hi or asking them how they are doing.  

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Growing up I always wanted to be a pro rodeo athlete, and I want to be a true character that helps people in need as well as my family and tends to livestock. I also wanted to be a doctor, but an athletic trainer is nice too.  

What have you been most proud of this week? 

So far this week, I am most proud of working with my horses during the weekdays and taking the time to shoe horses. 

What is your favorite way to spend a day off? Stade Riggs in his championship rodeo jacket

I enjoy hiking, I do want to travel more and go hiking at some national parks, but most days off I will still be on the ranch working with livestock, no actual days off.  

What are three things on your bucket list?

I want to go to the ocean, go to Yosemite National Park and start a small business.  

What is your philosophy in life?  

My philosophy is just to be thankful with what you have and if you want something, you get up and go get it.  

NAU Communications