ProRodeo selects horse of the year awards for the Badlands Circuit
MINOT, N.D. – The 2020 Badlands Circuit PRCA and WPRA Horses of the Year have been selected for their exceptional ability in rodeo.
The steer wrestling horse of the year was won by Cameron Morman, Glen Ullin, N.D.; the hazing horse of the year also went to Morman. The tie-down horse of the year is a repeat winner, won by Trey Young, Dupree, S.D., and the team roping head horse of the year went to Cooper White, Hershey, Neb. The team roping heel horse of the year was awarded to Jade Nelson, Midland, S.D.
For the women’s events, the Women’s Pro Rodeo Association Badlands barrel horse of the year went to Jessica Routier, Buffalo, S.D., and the WPRA Badlands Rising Star horse of the year went to Molly Otto, Grand Forks, N.D.
It’s the first time for Jade Nelson’s horse Ray to win the heeling award.
The ten-year-old sorrel, with a flaxen mane and tail, has just come into his own, Nelson said.
“He’s a really big motored horse, who is kind of wild. It took him longer to get good. He wasn’t really good till he was eight.”
Ray is great to be around, Nelson said, but has a quirk that is unusual for rodeo animals: he’s scared of livestock, when they’re facing him. When the steer or sheep is looking away from him, he’s fine, Nelson said, “but if they’re looking at him, he’s plumb crazy.” Nelson rides him for cattle drives, but Ray doesn’t work well for sorting cattle.
Ray does an excellent job for Nelson. “He’s a bigger horse, and he can move better than any horse I’ve ever rode before. He can do things that most horses can’t, and that makes my job a little easier.” Nelson purchased him as a four-year-old, and knew he had potential even then. “He’s been phenomenal since he was four.” Nelson roped with Jade Schmidt at this year’s Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo.
A Nebraska horse is another first-time winner.
Cooper White rides Razor, a nine-year-old bay roan, for the heading.
Razor, owned by Andy Miller of Wellfleet, Neb., is a threat in the scoring: how fast the cowboy can be, after he gives the steer a head start. No matter the size of the arena, Razor delivers the goods. “Any set up, scoring isn’t a problem. You can go from a little building like Minot (N.D., where the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo was held), to the long score in Cheyenne,” for Frontier Days.
Razor is also speedy. “His next biggest threat is how fast he is,” White said. “He’s crazy fast. It makes it easier for me to not reach so much. Sometimes I can use my horsepower instead of me trying to do it all with my rope.”
White roped on him nearly all year, and Razor responded well to the travel. “He took a lot of runs,” he said. “He travels good. He’s an easy keeper.” White and his brother, Tucker, make sure Razor gets the care he needs. “We take pretty good care of him,” Cooper said. “Tucker does, too. He knows he’s the way he makes money, too.”
Miller roped on the horse for several years, but as his rodeo career slowed, he offered the horse to White to ride. White never made a practice run on Razor, never even got on him, till a rodeo in Nelson, Neb. “He felt like nothing I’d ever been on before,” he said. “He’s a lot of fun, that’s for sure.”
The brothers finished the 2020 rodeo season as the Badlands Circuit team roping year-end champions.
Morman’s horse Rio won the steer wrestling horse of the year for the fourth consecutive year; the fifteen-year-old buckskin, previously owned by Jake Rinehart, had three riders at the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo.
Morman’s horse Bull, the hazing horse of the year, is also a repeat award winner; he tied for the award last year.
Young’s horse Fozzy is also a repeat winner, having won tie-down horse of the year in 2017 and ’18. The horse is owned in partnership by Young and his father Doug.
In the barrel racing, Routier’s horse Missy, a nine-year-old palomino owned by Gary Westergren of Lincoln, Neb., won the barrel horse of the year award for the fourth consecutive time.
The 2020 Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo took place in Minot October 9-11, where champions were crowned. More information can be found at www.prorodeo.com.