Jeff and Laney Robinson (left) and Paige, Flint and Shelby Rasmussen (right).
By: Justin Felisko
- Jeff Robinson's daughter, Laney, won the National Junior High School Finals Rodeo barrel racing national title in June.
- Flint Rasmussen's daughter, Shelby, was named the president of the National High School Rodeo Association.
- Both fathers are proud of the values their daughters live by.
IN THIS ARTICLE
PUEBLO, Colo. – Normally four-time PBR Stock Contractor of the Year Jeff Robinson and the PBR’s exclusive entertainer Flint Rasmussen can be found somewhere inside a packed arena on the Built Ford Tough Series.
Yet with the BFTS on summer break, the two men reunited in Des Moines, Iowa, this past June during the National Junior High Finals Rodeo where their daughters (Laney Robinson and Paige Rasmussen) were competing.
The two sat together in the stands at the Iowa State Fairgrounds cheering their two daughters on.
Laney Robinson (46.407 seconds) wound up winning the barrel racing national title, while Paige caught a tough break in two events after finishing the first go-round in a position to win a national title in either barrel racing or pole bending.
“We wanted to them ride against each other in the short round and it was a heartbreaker,” Flint Rasmussen said. “Jeff came and said it is too bad because when you win you want to beat the best ones. We were there and supporting each other. Jeff and I had a ball at that place.”
Robinson added, “For those kids to make it to the Finals, it is unbelievable and to be able to come out as a champion is surreal. I have never been any more nervous with anything on the line than for her, and I think Flint was thinking the same thing.”
Laney laughed and said she thought her dad was more nervous than she or her horse, Perk.
“He was really excited, probably more than I was,” Laney said. “I was third in the average going into the short go. Then I was winning and I had to wait until it was over. I was really nervous, I was freaking out.”
Both fathers agreed the best part of the NJHFR and the National High School Finals Rodeo – where Flint’s oldest daughter Shelby competed last weekend – is that their daughters are continuing to learn Western life values and how to live the cowboy and cowgirl lifestyle.
Today – Saturday July 25 – is the 11th annual National Day of the Cowboy, which takes place every year on the fourth Saturday of July.
There will be celebrations throughout the country today honoring the heritage of the American West. More information can be found by logging on to nationaldayofthecowboy.com.
Rasmussen said that when his daughters go to compete at nationals that they have to not only try the hardest inside the arena, but they also have to take responsibility away from it.
“The big thing is it just not them,” he said. “It is them and an animal. They have to take care of them. When they go to the National High School or Junior High Finals, it is a week of making sure your horse feels good, making sure they are healthy, making sure their stalls are better and comfortable. It is so much work. They have to learn work ethic.”
Jeff Robinson agreed, “Bull riding, contracting or rodeo is not a great living, but it is a great way of life. She has learned hard work. Like me and my bulls, she has learned she has to take care and exercise her horse to make him as good as he can be. The kids involved in rodeo have lots of responsibilities that you may not see in general sports –Not that I am not saying they are any more dedicated."
Laney has been competing in barrel racings since she was 5 years old and says she has learned so many life lessons. The 15-year-old also credits her dad, who began his stock contracting business in 1999, with teaching her how to work hard like a cowboy should.
“He taught me to always never have a bad attitude, never doubt yourself and to just believe in yourself because you can do it if you have a good attitude about it,” Laney said.
The soon-to-be freshman hopes that next year she can win a high school state championship and qualify for the NHSFR and potentially win the rookie all-around belt buckle.
Shelby Rasmussen was named the president of the National High School Rodeo Association last week in Rock Springs, Wyoming, during the NHSFR. Shelby had to campaign all throughout the week and had to give speeches to various groups before earning enough votes from her high school peers.
She explained that she wanted to become president to help try and give back to a sport and culture that has taught and provided her so much.
“I’ve learned so much from rodeo,” Shelby said. “I learned how to be a good person and to treat people well and to have responsibility and take care of animals. Learn to deal with ups and downs in life and learn to do deal with your lows and your highs. Learning how to handle money, saving and paying for fuel.”
Shelby added that being a part of the cowboy lifestyle is one she wouldn’t trade for anything else.
“I wouldn’t trade this way of life for anything,” Shelby said. “I couldn’t even imagine not being one. The best part is the cowboy family. Everyone is very close and everybody is always there for each other in rodeo. It doesn’t even seem like you are competing against everybody. Everybody is supportive and everybody is always rooting for each other.”
Some of her goals as president are to get the PBR involved with the NHSFR, as well as organizing a Rising Stars night for the high school national champions during the National Finals Rodeo.
The 16-year-old also aspires to qualify for five events at the NHSFR next year and win the all-around title.
Her dad couldn’t be prouder.
“My reward is in that,” Flint said. “I still love my job, but as you get older you discover the rewards turn into your kids and how they do in stuff and how hard they work.”