Meet the Member Chelsie McDade

by Rodeo News

story by Lily Weinacht

“I know there’s so much that goes into rodeo, and life would be a lot simpler without the animals, but I know I could never actually be happy without horses and rodeo in my life.” Chelsie McDade, a member of the APRA for six years and counting, found her passion in grade school, taking riding lessons from a family friend. That rapidly expanded into rodeoing, first in youth rodeo associations, followed by high school rodeoing for Pennsylvania and then college rodeoing for Northeastern Oklahoma A&M University and the University of Tennessee at Martin. Her junior and senior year of college, Chelsie punched her ticket to the CNFR in breakaway roping and goat tying.
“I was the first one in my family to rodeo. I have a younger sister, Alainie McDade, who competes as well, and we picked it up pretty quick,” says Chelsie, 28. “We made a lot of friends, and they were more than willing to help us out. Bill and Wendy Wenrich helped tremendously with roping and using their horses, and so did Dale Smith.” While she also competed in barrel racing in high school, Chelsie’s first love in rodeo has always been breakaway roping. “I like the difficulty and challenge of it, and that you have to count on something more than just your horse or your skill.”
Chelsie qualified for AFR 39 in the breakaway roping, which was her first qualification to the finals. She’s long appreciated that the APRA sanctions breakaway roping, one of the reasons she joined the association in 2012. “There’s a decent amount of their rodeos around my area, and especially in the past, it was a struggle to find rodeos that had breakaway roping. It’s becoming more popular now, thankfully. I like Benton because it’s close to home, but I also enjoy Attica. Two years ago they started holding the multiple rounds up there, so instead of everyone competing and then going home, everyone camped out and had a good time, kind of like we did in high school or college.”
Chelsie bought her main rope horse, Fancy, while she was going to school in Tennessee, and finished and hauled her. “She’s definitely a quirky mare, but I wouldn’t have her any other way. When we’re walking into the box, I let her do her own thing. My parents bought me another horse, Jiggs, when I was a junior in high school, and I used her all through college and breakaway roped and tied goats off her. I just had a baby out of her, Jewel, who turned a year old at the beginning of June. I’m working with her and training her now.”
When she’s not hauling to the next rodeo with her sister, or fellow breakaway roper Paige Pursel, Chelsie works for an electric company as their accountant. She took the job six years ago when she was living in Tennessee, and was able to set up an office to work in from home when she moved back to Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, several years ago. “I fly back down there two to three times a year. I’m so very blessed to have come across such a wonderful family-owned business, and I enjoy working with numbers,” says Chelsie. She’s also planning her wedding, which is set for November of 2019. She and her fiancé, Justin, met through a mutual friend, and they enjoy kayaking and tubing in the summer. Chelsie has introduced Justin to the rodeo world, while he’s cultivated her interest in football, particularly watching Pennsylvania State University play. “Justin doesn’t ride, but he’s very supportive of what I do. My main goal is to continue to compete and get better, and make the AFR. I’m planning on training Jewel completely on my own, so my goal is to have her as a finished breakaway horse eventually.”

                © Rodeo Life Media Corporation | All Rights Reserved • Laramie, Wyoming • 307.761.9053

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