90th Mission Support Group Superintendent & 90th Comptroller Squadron Senior Enlisted Leader
Westland, Michigan & Chugiak, Alaska
F.E. Warren Air Force Base
Have you ever been so passionate about something that you continue to make time for it and pursue it, no matter what else is going on in life? That is what rodeo is for both Air Force Chief Master Sgt. David Teets, superintendent, 90th Mission Support Group, and his wife, Master Sgt. Jenniffer Teets, senior enlisted leader, 90th Comptroller Squadron.
Jenniffer's passion for horses and the sport of rodeo started when she was young. She grew up with nine horses in Chugiak, Alaska, where she was involved in 4-H and competed in halter shows, and barrel racing from age four to nine. However, her parents were both in the Air Force, and her family had to sell their horses during a move, causing her rodeo hobby to be put on pause. David Teets was quite the opposite of his wife. His passion for rodeo came much later in life for he grew up in Westland, Michigan.
Passing Along the Passion
About 15 years ago, Jenniffer and David Teets met while working as military training instructors at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. After they started dating, Jennifer decided she wanted to resume rodeo, her childhood hobby. That is when she asked David to buy her a horse for her birthday. This request jump-started David's own rodeo passion. During their time at Lackland, the Teets bought their first horse, named Star, which launched their rodeo journey together.
"I wanted to get back into barrel racing," said Jenniffer. "After we got Star, David started YouTubing everything horses, and he found roping and was like, 'I want this'!"
Jenniffer and David's passion for the sport passed onto two of their children as well. Their oldest, 24, competes in team roping and their youngest, 9, competes in steer riding, barrel racing and will learn to rope this coming year. They have even won a few awards and buckles of their own while competing.
Finding a Balance
Since the start of their journey in Texas, the Teets have had to find a balance between their passion for the sport, their Air Force careers and their five-children family. Their balance comes from their preparation and organizing schedules during their long days that often start and end when their children are asleep. Jenniffer and David use a divide and conquer effort, where one of them does house chores and the other completes the barn chores. The method they created together has allowed them to allot adequate time to both their careers and their family, both two- and four-legged.
As a part of their decade and a half Air Force journey together, they have been through two deployments and five moves, or PCS's.
"PCS'ing with our kids is much easier than with our rodeo partners," said Jenniffer. "We rely on word of mouth for finding the best care, and most of the time we don't know anyone in the area we are going to, so finding a trustworthy source for feed and veterinary care can be challenging. Then we also have to find safe arenas, determine how and where we can practice, and our animals have to adjust to the new climates and elevation as well. Many things go into considering the safety of our horses."
The Teets' fifth PCS put them back at F.E. Warren Air Force Base for a second time. Here they continue to participate in rodeo activities in the local area and across the country. Since arriving in July, they have competed in two large rodeos, including the 2022 Professional Armed Forces Rodeo Association World Championship Rodeo in Topeka, Kansas.
PAFRA events are geared toward past and current U.S. service members from around the world, and the Teets' service in the Air Force is what allowed them to compete. During the competition, Jenniffer competed in barrel racing and breakaway roping, while David competed in the men's all-around event.
For David, the men's all-around event consisted of calf and team roping, chute dogging and steer wrestling. He performed well in chute dogging, earning sixth place out of 35. He also placed second overall, in steer wrestling. At the end of the three-day rodeo, David was named the PAFRA Steer Wrestling Reserve Champion for 2022.
Jenniffer placed third in barrel racing on the first night of the rodeo, but an injury to her horse kept her out of the finals for that event. She won two rounds of breakaway roping during the competition, which earned her the PAFRA World Champion Breakaway Champion title for 2022. Jenniffer's score in both events earned her the 2022 PAFRA All-Around Cowgirl title as well.
"I love rodeo because it has made me grow in ways I never imagined," said Jenniffer. "In this last PAFRA World Championship finals, I had to dig deep. I had to shut out the crowd and not think about the pressure of catching my third calf that earned me the Breakaway Champion title."
Jenniffer and David Teets will continue their journey in rodeo next year by competing locally near Cheyenne and further regions in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. As of now, they have six large rodeo events planned.