Paige Rasmussen noted that there were plenty of factors in the decision-making process, including family and proximity, and that’s why she chose Montana State University.
The Belgrade senior signed a letter of intent on Tuesday to compete for the Bobcats. She’ll join older sister Shelby as a member of the team.
“The school is a really good school. They have what I want to study and the coaches are really nice. They’re like family,” Rasmussen said. “And the team is really accommodating too.”
Rasmussen’s mother, Katie, is a former Bobcat rodeo member, while her father, Flint, is one of most famous rodeo barrelman (rodeo clown) in the sport of bull riding. Flint is contracted by Professional Bull Riders and provides entertainment at their events.
“Kind of a family thing,” said Rasmussen.
Staying close to home was another reason Rasmussen opted to join the Bobcats’ program.
“It’s easier on my horses to be able to stay at home and to be out in the pasture. They wouldn’t have be locked in small pens,” Rasmussen said. “And also my vet lives here and my mom is here to help me with everything I need.”
Rasmussen is a highly accomplish cowgirl having competed in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, break-away roping and team roping during her high school career. Break- away roping and goat tying are her top two events, and she won 13 of the 14 rodeos in goat tying this past season in addition to winning the Best of the Best Timed Event Rodeo in Gallup, N.M. over the summer.
“I didn’t used to be really dedicated to rodeo, but in the past couple years I really put more work into it and more determination. It’s kind of become my whole life,” Rasmussen, who is ranked No. 2 in the state in break-away roping, said. “There’s been some ups and downs, but overall it’s just made me a better competitor and a better person too.”
Rasmussen plans to focus on barrel racing, break-away roping and goat tying at Montana State. In the classroom, the 17-year-old plans to study English and medical lab science.
Johnson shined in rodeo, football at Manhattan
Clay Johnson is staying home. The two-sport Manhattan senior made it official Wednesday, signing with Montana State University to compete in rodeo.
Johnson has shined in both rodeo and football during his prep career, and is excited about the opportunity compete for the Bobcats in rodeo.
“I really wanted to go somewhere where I could boost my performance up as a rodeo athlete,” Johnson said. “I feel like MSU is such a great rodeo team that I’ll develop my talent there.”
Montana State is consistently among the top teams in the Big Sky Conference and Johnson noted that high level of success, as well as the opportunity to stay within the Gallatin Valley, swayed his decision.
“I just kind of wanted to do rodeo in college and go to a school where I could get a good education. Seemed like a really good fit,” he said. “Definitely (wanted to) stay close to home and save a little bit of money living at home and find a pretty good job. So stay here and learn and work.”
Johnson competes in tie-down roping, team roping and steer wrestling and will tackled those same events for the Bobcats. He’s gained plenty of experience over the past several years.
“My sophomore year I was second in the year-end and made it to nationals,” Johnson noted. “Just been everywhere really. Won some amateur rodeos.”
As a member of the football team, the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Johnson helped Manhattan reach the state Class B quarterfinals in each of the past two years. This past season, during a 6-4 campaign, he earned All-State honors at running back and was an academic All-State honoree.
Johnson plans to study business management at Montana State.
“I want to do the best that I can do in the Big Sky region in rodeo,” said Johnson. “And come out of college with a good degree and a good idea of what I want to do for the rest of my life.”