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, 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.
For the women’s events, the Women’s Pro Rodeo Association Badlands barrel horse of the year went to Jessica Routier, Buffalo, 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 10-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, but has a quirk that is unusual for rodeo animals,” Nelson said. “He’s scared of livestock, when they’re facing him. When the steer or sheep is looking away from him, he’s fine, but if they’re looking at him, he’s plumb crazy.”
Nelson said he 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 said.
Nelson purchased him as a four-year-old, and knew he had potential even then.
“He’s been phenomenal since he was four,” he said.
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 9-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,” White said.
Razor is also speedy.
“His next biggest threat is how fast he is,” said White. “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.
Miller roped on the horse for several years,
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