BLACKFOOT – Alli Rasmussen has a lot on her plate as she trains several horses and competes in the District 4 High School Rodeo week in and week out. She also has talent, the kind that turns into championships ... and she is only 14 and a freshman at American Falls High School.
She is putting in the time and the effort, learning through sweat equity what it takes to be a rodeo cowgirl and a trainer all in one and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
She has been around horses all her life. In fact, her dad, Judd Rasmussen, was a trainer and jockey in his younger days and has earned his share of belt buckles.
Her mom Stephanie has also been a rodeo cowgirl and knows what it takes to become a champion, so Alli comes by her talent naturally and she knows the value of hard work.
It all starts for Alli with the horses, and she has three that she uses when it comes to the rodeo events that she participates in.
First there is is Hank. Hank is who she uses when she chases down a goat in the goat tying event. Good old Hank knows Alli and Alli knows Hank and they take care of each other in a very trying event.
It takes some speed and a willingness to leap off the horse at a good speed and race to the goat who awaits the rider who is going to pick the goat up and throw it to the ground to be tied up.
Alli and Hank work together like a good team should, and they know each other the best. Hank may be a gaited horse, but he is dependable and she knows he is looking out for her each time they line up to make a run at a time during a rodeo.
That brings us to Wild Child, who Alli rides when she is running the poles in the pole bending event. Wild Child is a natural left lead horse and that helps when she runs the poles because of her preferred lead in making a left hand turn. She is quick and nimble and has athletic ability, which in the long run will suit her the best as Alli makes rodeo her career in the near future. Wild Child and Alli are a team made in heaven and they work like they should and are only getting better as the season is going along.
Last but not least is Jet. Good old Jet has speed and comes from Utah where he was broke to be a barrel horse from the start. Alli and Jet get along and they run the cloverleaf pattern of the barrels beginning with the right hand barrel. Jet is getting more and more used to Alli and she to him and they are on the verge of something special. You can almost feel it when she runs.
In her three runs last weekend in Rigby, Alli and Jet broke 20 seconds in the barrels all three times that they ran. They may not have cracked the top 10 in the event, but they weren’t down at the bottom of the standings either. Sometimes you have to stop and remember that she is only 14 and still just a freshman in high school. She seems so much more mature and races like she has a purpose to what she is doing.
Maybe the most amazing thing of all is that she is doing all of her own training and not seeking out help or spending thousands of dollars on lessons about her horses and riding. She simply does it all and she has other horses that she cares for as well.
“I love the training of my horses the most. They are all intelligent animals and they depend on me to take care of them,” Rasmussen said. “That is why I am building such a good bond with them and know that they will take care of me, just like I take care of them as well.”
Alli also has been building a support group around her as both parents support what she is doing and are at all of the rodeos she competes in, cheering her on and taking videos and pictures so she can see how she is progressing as a competitor.
Her favorite event is the goat tying and although it can be the scariest event, she has developed trust between her and her horse Hank.
“I took a fall last week on Saturday, but it could have been a lot worse,” Rasmussen said. “Like a lot of the girls, I got caught up in the soft arena and it just tripped me up a bit. You just have to dust yourself off and continue on and tie the goat or you get no score.”
Alli Rasmussen may not yet be a champion, but she is on her way to becoming one. She also has a dream and in that dream, she can see herself winning a state championship. It may not happen today or even this year, but she is getting closer and she has the determination to make it happen.
Alli Rasmussen is only 14, but she is definitely a champion in the making and with her confidence and talent and hard work, she will make it happen.
Alli Rasmussen and all the other young cowboys and cowgirls in District 4 High School Rodeo will be in action Thursday night at the Eastern Idaho State Fairgrounds when the District 4 Rodeo gets underway at 6 p.m. There will be four performances this week, Thursday and Friday evenings and then again on Saturday with two performances, one at 10 a.m. and the other 30 minutes following the morning show.