By: Kendra Santos
Angie Meadors spent her first 40 years setting the rodeo world on fire as a world-class barrel racer, barrel-horse trainer and model. She and her two-time World Champion Heeler husband, Kollin VonAhn, were living what they thought was their best fairytale life—rolling and winning—on the rodeo road. Then life happened.
“We loved our life and lifestyle,” Angie said, right before final warmups at this week’s Stampede at the E at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma. “I didn’t plan on having kids. It just didn’t really fit into all I’d ever known as important. I loved my friends’ kids, but I was such a career-driven person. I didn’t think I had time to do one more thing. I also didn’t think I was willing to give up what I was doing.
“Then I got pregnant at 40. I was so scared. Suddenly, I was sitting at my first baby shower—my own baby shower—the same week I turned 40. I was like, ‘What in the world is happening to my life?’”
Kollin teases Angie about watching her run barrels on TV when he was a kid, and saying to himself, “I’m going to marry that girl someday.” He got that done on a beautiful beach in The Bahamas, along with accomplishing his rodeo goals, which included gold heeling buckles in both 2009 and 2015. Then baby girl Steele showed up four years ago, and turned Rodeo Ken and Barbie’s world upside down—for the better.
“Becoming a mom changed everything for the best,” beamed Angie, who qualified for her first of seven Wrangler National Finals Rodeos in 1990, when she was just 14 years old. “Steele was an unexpected blessing from God. I guess I thought I had purpose all those years with rodeo and horses needing me. I never thought anything would be more important to me than my horses and my dogs. But Steele is my first priority now. I love being a wife and mom more than anything.”
The World Champions Rodeo Alliance has been a godsend for the couple’s current set of circumstances and priorities.
“The WCRA is perfect for our family,” said Angie, who actually ran barrels at the NFR in three different decades. “I don’t get to—and don’t want to—be on the road as much as I used to be now that I’m a mom. But I still ride three or four of my own horses, and two or three outside horses. To get to run against this level of competition for big money is pretty great, and this event is basically in our backyard.”
Angie and Kollin—who’s also competing here this week—make their home in Blanchard, Oklahoma, just 45 minutes from the Lazy E.
“Kollin roped at the BFI here in June, and this is my second barrel race here this summer,” said Angie, who’s riding Kerry Hays’ 7-year-old mare Checking Ta Fame here this week. “The Lazy E is a great facility, and we kind of consider it our hometown arena.”
Angie and Kollin have 12 NFR back numbers between them, but have not hated the slowed pace dictated by coronavirus rodeo cancellations.
“We’ve gotten to go to the lake and do normal, fun family stuff, like cooking out for dinner this summer,” Angie said. “And thanks to the WCRA and the Lazy E, we get to rodeo together, too. The WCRA fits our family perfectly. I can be a wife, a mom and a barrel racer, and we don’t have to live on the road. All I knew before motherhood was rodeoing hard, training horses and modeling to make a living.
“Getting to be a mom is my greatest blessing. But I miss everything about rodeo except all the traveling and being on the road non-stop. I missed the competition and getting to run against the best girls, but I couldn’t keep up with the demanding regular rodeo schedule. The WCRA makes it possible for me to do it all and have it all. The WCRA gives me my rodeo fix.”