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Hastings rodeo wraps up

“Kool” finish for Hastings rodeo champs

by Ruth Nicolaus
for The Oregon Trail Rodeo

HASTINGS, NEB. — Two Hastings traditions teamed up for a weekend of fun at the Adams County Fairgrounds.

Kool-Aid Man, as part of Kool-Aid Days, looked on as Oregon Trail Rodeo action took place Aug. 20-22.

Four South Dakotans came out on top in their respective events, along with a New Mexican, a Kansan, an Iowa-Missouri duo in the team roping, and a Nebraskan in the steer wrestling.



Kris Rasmussen, Riverdale, Neb., turned in a time of 3.8 seconds to win the steer wrestling.

As is common in the steer wrestling, the 25-year-old cowboy borrowed a fellow steer wrestler’s horse to ride.



Rasmussen was aboard Dru Melvin’s horse, Nitro. Melvin, a multiple-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier who lives in Hebron, Neb., and is a veteran of the sport, served as Rasmussen’s hazer, the cowboy who rides alongside the steer to keep the steer running straight.

There’s a reason Rasmussen borrowed Melvin’s horse. “He’s outstanding,” Rasmussen said. “He’s a big, stout gray horse who gives you the same go every time. I’m just pretty lucky to ride him.”

A 2017 graduate of Mid-Plains Community College in McCook, Rasmussen owns a liquid feed business which allows for a more flexible schedule, giving him time to compete more. This was his second time to compete at the Hastings rodeo.

He also competes in regional rodeos and is currently ranked in first place in both the Nebraska State Rodeo Association and the Mid-States Rodeo Association.

BARREL RACING

In the barrel racing, a Nebraska horse carried a South Dakota cowgirl to the finish line.

Jessica Routier, Buffalo, S.D., turned the cloverleaf pattern in 15.83 seconds to win a Hastings rodeo title for a second consecutive year; in 2020, she shared the title with Tamara Reinhardt, Canadian, Texas.

Routier, who is ranked fifth in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association standings, is aboard a palomino mare owned by Gary Westergren, Lincoln, Neb.

Jessica Routier, on the left, is the repeat barrel racing champion at the Oregon Trail Rodeo in Hastings, Neb. She split the 2020 title. She stands next to her horse Missy, owned by Gary Westergren, Lincoln, Neb., and her oldest daughter, Payton, who served as a trick rider at the Hastings rodeo. Courtesy photo

Fiery Miss West, “Missy,” is a 10-year-old mare who came to live at the Routier Ranch in Buffalo, S.D., as a 2-year-old. Routier and Westergren have worked together the past 10 years; he raises barrel horses and she trains and rides them at futurities and rodeos.

When she got Missy, she knew she had something special. As a 4-year-old, the horse did very well at futurities, and the following year, did well at circuit rodeos.

The next year, 2018, Routier qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, finishing the year as reserve world champion aboard Missy.

She made it the next two years as well, and will qualify this year, too.

The horse is “great to be around,” Routier said. “She’s very sweet with people and she loves my kids.”

She means business when she gets in an arena, however. “She just likes to win. She tries super hard every time. There’s just no nonsense with her.”

Routier and her husband Riley have five children: son Braden, a high school sophomore and daughters Payton, in the eighth grade, twin girls Rose and Rayna, in kindergarten, and 5-year-old Charlie.

The older two kids participate in youth rodeo and school sports, and with Jessica’s rodeo schedule, it keeps the family busy.

“We don’t get much sleep around our house,” she joked. But the Routiers have an army of helpers. “There’s really a whole village of people that help us, between our family and friends in the community and at the rodeos we go to. It’s definitely a group effort.”

Daughter Payton, a trick rider, served as the specialty act for this year’s Hastings rodeo. The 13-year-old has trick rode since she was 5 and has performed at rodeos for the past couple of years.

That puts Jessica in a different role besides contestant at rodeos at which Payton works.

“It’s been fun to take Payton and be on the other end of the arena,” she said.

“Until this year, I’d never been at the Hastings rodeo more than four hours at a time (as a contestant). You don’t get to know the committee people. It’s nice to see things from the production side and it gives you a big appreciation for everything that goes into putting the rodeo on.”

MORE WINNERS

Other champions at the 30th annual rodeo include bareback rider Jamie Howlett, Wasta, S.D. (84 points); tie-down roper Cole Wilson, Osage City, Kan. (9.6 seconds); breakaway roper Rickie Engesser, Spearfish, S.D. (2.2 seconds); saddle bronc rider Shorty Garrett, Eagle Butte, S.D. (84 points); team ropers Adam Rose, Willard, Mo. and J.W. Beck, Moville, Iowa (4.8 seconds); and bull rider Lon Danley, Tularosa, N.M. (86 points).

The 2021 Miss Oregon Trail Rodeo queen was crowned during the Sunday performance.

Brylee Thompson, Hershey, Neb., won the title. She is a senior at Hershey Public School and is student council president, a member of FBLA and the National Honor Society. She is the daughter of Lucas Anderson and Hanna McConnell. She will represent the Oregon Trail Rodeo at rodeos and other events throughout the year.

Next year’s Oregon Trail Rodeo is set for Aug. 19-21, 2022. For more information, visit the fairgrounds website at AdamsCountyFairgrounds.com. For complete results, visit ProRodeo.com.

Results, August 20-22, 2021- Oregon Trail Rodeo, Hastings, Neb.

All-around champion: Austin Madison, Onawa, Iowa

Bareback riding champion: Jamie Howlett, Wasta, S.D.

1. Jamie Howlett, Wasta, S.D. 84 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Yeasty Beasty; 2. Lane McGehee, Victoria, Texas 81.5; 3. Ty Blessing, De Soto, Kan. 77; 4. Tim Murphy, Cleveland, Texas 76; 5. Zachariah Phillips, Rozet, Wyo. 67.

Tie-down roping champion: Cole Wilson, Osage City, Kan.

1. Cole Wilson, Osage City, Kan. 9.6 seconds; 2. Austin Madison, Onawa, Iowa 10.1; 3. Luke Madsen, Marshalltown, Iowa 11.2; 4. Lee Sivertsen, Spearfish, S.D. 12.1; 5. Darnell Johnson, Fowler, Colo. 12.2; 6. Kyle Whitaker, Chambers, Neb. 12.4.

Saddle bronc riding champion: Shorty Garrett, Eagle Butte, S.D.

1. Shorty Garrett, Eagle Butte, S.D. 84 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Ole One Eye; 2. Isaac Diaz, Desdemona, Texas 83.5; 3. Taygen Schuelke, Newell, S.D. 82; 4. Sam Martin, Goodwell, Okla. 81; 5. Dawson Dahm, Tomahawk, Alb. 78; 6. (tie) Jack Skavdahl, Casper, Wyo. and Triston Eklund, Valentine, Neb. 76 each.

Steer wrestling champion: Kris Rasmussen, Riverdale, Neb.

1. Kris Rasmussen, Riverdale, Neb. 3.8 seconds; 2. Tyler Ravenscroft, Valentine, Neb. 3.9; 3. Denell Henderson, Damascus, Ark. 4.1; 4. (tie) Adam Musil, Crescent, Okla. and Gus Franzen, Kearney, Neb. 4.9 each; 6. Jarek Van Petten, Cimarron, Kan. 5.0.

Team roping champions: Adam Rose, Willard, Mo. and J.W. Beck, Moville, Iowa

1. Adam Rose, Willard, Mo./JW Beck, Moville, Iowa 4.8 seconds; 2. Cooper White, Hershey, Neb./Tucker White, Hershey, Neb. 5.3; 3. Jeff Johnston, Thedford, Neb./Jett Hillman, McAlester, Okla. 5.6; 4. Brett Christensen, Alva, Okla./Shannon Frascht, Alva, Okla. 5.9; 5. Nick Becker, Garden City, Kan./Kingston Chang, Dodge City, Kan. 6.3; 6. Kyle Winslow, Alva, Okla./Levi Walter, Alva, Okla. 6.4.

Breakaway roping champion: Rickie Engesser, Spearfish, S.D.

1. Rickie Engesser, Spearfish, S.D. 2.2 seconds; 2. Winter Williams, Copan, Okla. 2.4; 3. Whitney Thurmond, Iola, Texas 2.6; 4. (tie) Lynn Smith, Elfrida, Ariz. and Taylor Munsell, Alva, Okla. 2.9 each; 6. Emma Charleston, Reeds, Mo. 3.2; 7. Kayla Olson, Chadron, Neb. 3.3; 8. Jennifer Belkham, Blunt, S.D. 4.2.

Barrel racing champion: Jessica Routier, Buffalo, S.D.

1. Jessica Routier, Buffalo, S.D. 15.83 seconds; 2. Tamara Reinhardt, Canadian, Texas 15.85; 3. Taylor Johnson, Bucyrus, Kan. 15.89; 4. Leslie Smalygo, Skiatook, Okla. 15.99; 5. (tie) Emily Miller-Beisel, Weatherford, Okla. and Lacinda Rose, Willard, Mo. 16.04 each; 7. Gayle White, Dickens, Neb. 16.15; 8. Deb Cox, Mullen, Neb. 16.16; 9. Jordan Swan, York, Neb. 16.18; 10. Jamie Chaffin, Burwell, Neb. 16.19.

Bull riding champion: Lon Danley, Tularosa, N.M.

1. Lon Danley, Tularosa, N.M. 86 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Twisted T; 2. Logan Hunter, Woodward, Okla. 77; 3. Clayton Savage, Banner, Wyo. 69; no other qualified rides.

All results unofficial.


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