CollegeMontana State Bobcats


Montana State rodeo surprises Paige Rasmussen with retired vest

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Posted at 4:41 PM, Apr 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-12 19:48:24-04

BOZEMAN — Thursday’s first performance at the Montana State Spring Rodeo was a celebration of the sport with a near sellout crowd packed into the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.

But it was also a celebration of the Bobcat rodeo team, and in particular one very successful alum.

Before horses started bucking, MSU recognized the 2023 College National Finals qualifiers and point-earners, a group that included Tayla Moeykens, Cate Hepper, Bode Spring, Trav Johnson, Mike Nannini and Jaden Whitman.

But when the spotlight came to Paige Rasmussen, there was a unexpected surprise. The MSU rodeo coaches, along with her sister Shelby Rasmussen, presented Paige with a plaque featuring her retired vest.

Paige is among the most accomplished cowgirls in the history of the MSU program. She claimed a CNFR all-around title in 2021 and helped the women's team win a championship. In 2023, she capped off her career with a goat tying national title.

Rasmussen rarely cries but said she was moved to tears.

"So much nostalgia walking out on that dirt,” she said. “And then to see my vest in a frame, it just felt surreal because it feels like just last week I was holding on and working towards titles. And just to have my sister up there and my coaches was just so amazing."

Rasmussen graduated MSU with a degree in psychology. She has since moved to Boston where she works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"So I am doing great neuroscience research at MIT,” Rasmussen said. “I’m working in a laboratory where we do MRIs, we look at people's brains and we look at different brain disorders and see what we can do now to help people in the future with better treatments."

It’s rewarding work, but Boston is a world away from where she grew up in Choteau and graduated high school in Belgrade. And while she’s left Montana, her Treasure State values and roots will never leave her.

"It's a way different lifestyle, way different pace of life,” Rasmussen said. “But all the things I learned, you know, growing up in Montana as a cowgirl, that stuff helps me out there. It makes me gritty and it makes me resilient. And Bobcat rodeo gave me transferable skills I can take anywhere.”