HELENA — Tuesday, Governor Gianforte hosted the Montana State University women’s rodeo team to celebrate their 2021 national championship
MSU has now won their third national championship, their first since 2011. The women’s rodeo team finished the June 2021 College National Finals Rodeo with 590 team points to top Southwestern Oklahoma State.
Paige Rasmussen, a junior on the team, is proud of how the team worked together to win.
“As a team to win on, like, the biggest possible stage, it feels amazing. You know, we really are a family. I think in rodeo your team is more than just going practice together, practicing plays, we spend all our time together in the harsh conditions, doing something that is really difficult. Rodeo is so hard. And so to be able to win together doing our individual events, but come together as a team. It feels like all of our hard work is finally paying off.”
Paige Rasmussen also won best all-around cowgirl.
“Sometimes I still don't believe it. I've always had a goal to win a national title in college. This year, my goal was to win an individual title in the goat tying and that didn't go my way. Some things went wrong in the championship round and I ended up winning all around. And I didn't know prior to the award ceremony, and I just felt like it was a dream and a dream in the best way because I do feel like all my hard work paid off. And so it's really rewarding. And it motivates me in the future to try harder and put in more work,” she said.
The team won under coach Andy Bolich, who stepped down after the season. Rasmussen said that Bolich was like a father figure, someone the team could turn to.
“We found out before the spring season that he was stepping down and I think that pushed us even harder to give him this gift as he was stepping down, for a national title,” Rasmussen said.
But Rasmussen is excited to continue her MSU rodeo career under new head coach, Kyle Whitaker.
“We had a great fall season. And I'm really excited to see what we all do in the spring season. And it's exciting, having new changes on our team.”
She says there are some major differences between her new and old coach.
“Andy, he was definitely more quiet and reserved and Kyle's more intense and really likes high energy- both are good. It's different, but I think the changes have really pushed different sides of all of us.”