BELGRADE — Belgrade’s Paige Rasmussen is heading to Montana State in the fall to rodeo, but competing in the sport hadn’t always been on her radar.
“I’ve been around (rodeo) my whole life because my mom was a professional barrel racer and she trained horses, and my sister started when she could walk,” Rasmussen said. “But I never really had an interest.”
The youngest in the family, Rasmussen was essentially born into rodeo. Some would say she was made for the sport, but for a while rodeo was the last thing on Rasmussen’s mind.
“Going into my sixth-grade year, I went to my sister’s state finals in junior high and I started riding around and I thought, ‘I kind of like this, I want to try this,'” she recalled.
But being the daughter of a professional barrel racer and one of the most famous rodeo clowns in history, Flint Rasmussen, it was no surprise that once Paige tried rodeo, she’d fall in love.
“Being around the horses and the ability to perform with a living animal, just to have that feeling that you are accomplishing something with those animals is great,” she said. “So, my junior year I started working really hard at it, and it paid off. It took time, but it paid off.”
But rodeo isn’t the only thing she’s talented in. Paige is a self-taught musician, having taken up instruments like the piano, violin, and guitar.
“I went to a little country school starting in second grade. There were only 19 kids in the whole school,” she said. “They taught us to play violin, so it started at a young age, then I kind of knew that music was always going to be apart of my life.”
Music and horses, two things that are known to be therapeutic. The duo helped Paige heal through hard times, as well.
“The summer before my junior year we moved from Choteau to Bozeman, and it was hard with my family. My parents divorced and my mom has Lyme disease, so there were just so many things building up,” she said. “Music was always there for me. When I was able to get my frustrations out in a better way than getting mad, then my mental game was a lot stronger going into the arena.”
Music will always be her forever love.
“When I think of music I just feel peace, I feel like I belong there. Every emotion that I feel, I can get it out by writing a song or slamming on the piano or just doing something to get it out, and it works because music is my happy place,” she said.