CROOKSTON, Minn. - Where the wind blows on the rolling plains of her family farm and ranch in Aberdeen, S.D. is where you will find the friendly, outgoing, and even more established, Adrianne Schaunaman, recently crowned Miss Rodeo South Dakota 2022. She is the 22-year-old daughter of Chad and Mysty Schaunaman, to whom Adrienne credits numerous times throughout our interview for getting her involved in equestrian at a very young age. Although, it didn’t take her long to find a deep passion for the sport soon after. Adrianne, now 22 years old, is a 2020 graduate of Colby Community College in Colby, Kan. There she studied equine science, equine production and management, and art as an honor student. However, she couldn’t seem to stay away as she was also a part of the collegiate rodeo and equestrian team and involved in livestock judging in her remaining time.
After three years at Colby, she was unfortunately sent home due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But that didn’t stop her from achieving a goal she set in her final year at Colby, to earn her bachelor's degree. And she did just that at the University of Minnesota Crookston. “I wanted to for sure get a bachelor's degree and if I could ride horses along the way, well I was down for that” Schaunaman recalls after her visit to the Minnesota Crookston Campus.
Schaunaman found her perfect fit at UMN Crookston. When she was not in the classroom you could find her in the arena riding for UMN Crookston’s Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team and National Intercollegiate Athletic Association team. During her career as a Golden Eagle, her favorite discipline to ride was reining due to the fast pace and high energy during the show. "Adrianne joined the Golden Eagle Equestrian family with a wealth of experience," said Head Coach Kayla Hanson. "Transferring from Colby Community College, she successfully competed on their IHSA Western squad representing in both the Open Reining and Open Horsemanship. Adrianne is a fierce competitor that radiates both skill and confidence in and out of the arena." In May of 2021, she graduated from the University of Minnesota Crookston with a Bachelor of Science degree in equine science and equine business management.
These experiences are a driving factor towards her future ambitions of becoming a collegiate equestrian coach. Adrianne’s platform is entitled “Mentoring Matters.” She says it represents what she wants to do in life and where she is at right now. “It was my mentors that made me who I am, that provided me with opportunities and a place to find shelter in.” Shaunaman believes that there is a responsibility to mentor and educate not only youth, but all on agricultural practices and the sport of rodeo. Schaunaman made a great point in our interview “Imagine how good reigning, showing cattle, or anything could be if everyone who did it took someone under their wing and opened up the doors to being the best they can be.” Growing up she was very active showing cattle, hogs, and horses in 4-H at the county, state, and national level. So what better way to keep it alive than to mentor people of all ages and communities in the culture of equine science and horsemanship?
Schaunaman enjoys meeting new people, traveling, and sharing her passion for the western lifestyle through the promotion of rodeo and agriculture. After many in-depth, articulate answers, I had to ask what Schaunaman’s favorite part about riding. A loaded question, Schaunaman’s response was “There's so much to love because it is in my blood. When people ask ‘What do you do?’ I tell them the same thing every time. For fun, I ride horses, for work, I ride horses, in my free time, I ride horses. The people and the adventures that are encountered along the way are influential in my life and the equine industry.”
Schaunaman was recently crowned Miss Rodeo South Dakota for 2022. The pageant to select the 2022 Miss Rodeo South Dakota and Teen Miss Rodeo South Dakota was held Nov. 4-6, 2021 in conjunction with the First Chance Bonanza PRCA Rodeo in Brookings, S.D. I asked her what her experience has been like representing the state of South Dakota, she responded “I want there to be a reason, there’s an adventure associated with carrying a state title. You're traveling the United States representing one of South Dakota's number one industries. So you're representing people's livelihoods and that is something I wanted to do well” says Shaunaman.
Back in Aberdeen, S.D., Schaunaman says she is happy to return and reunite with the very dedicated community of horsemen. “They’re diehards! The reining group, the barrel racers, and it kinda spreads out from Aberdeen. It is not a large demographic, but we are a very passionate one” Schaunaman described. She is enjoying life back in her hometown working as a bed assistant at a veterinarian clinic in town. Schaunaman is still focused on becoming a collegiate equestrian coach one day, but she will continue to focus on her life’s passion of working with animals and being around horses in any way possible. It will be fun to see where Schaunaman’s path continues to take her.