Montana State's Paige Rasmussen looks up at her time after her goat-tying run during the College National Finals Rodeo on Monday at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper.

CASPER, Wyo. — Paige Rasmussen won the Big Sky region goat tying championship riding Eminem. So naturally the Montana State sophomore from Bozeman decided to switch horses before making her first run in the event Monday at the College National Finals Rodeo at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper.

“He’s 22 and he’s kind of a big horse,” Rasmussen said of Eminem. “So I decided to use my barrel horse, Felix, because he’s fast inside.”

The switch worked as Rasmussen, the first of 49 goat tyers to compete, won the first go-round with a 6.0-second run.

“I feel great because this is the first big event we’ve competed in,” Rasmussen said. “I knew I had to be smooth and it all worked out.”

Making a change is nothing new for Rasmussen, who is left-handed. That’s how she first started tying goats in seventh grade before realizing her approach wasn’t working.

“It was just too difficult so I had to switch to doing it right-handed,” she said. “Sometimes it’s tough because I’m not as strong with my right hand, but I’m getting better.”

MSU teammate Lindsey Pulsipher tied for sixth with a time of 6.4.

Rasmussen wasn't the only Bobcat to lead after the first go-round.

Freshman Tayla Moeykens of Three Forks completed a flawless trip around the cloverleaf in barrel racing Sunday, finishing with a time of 14.24 seconds.

Moeykens said she had a lot of time during last year’s pandemic to work on her craft. More specifically, sge had time to practice on Blue, the barrel racing horse she started riding two years ago.

“We ran a lot of slacks,” Moeykens said, “but she was ready for that first-performance atmosphere.”

Southwestern Oklahoma State’s Sadie Wolaver was second with a 14.27, followed by South Dakota State’s Allison Pauley with a 14.29.

“I just had to stay calm and focus on my run,” Moeykens said. “We’ve competed on some big stages and Blue gives me a lot of confidence every time we run because he’s so solid and consistent.”

Also for MSU in the first go-round, Caleb Berquist was third in tie-down roping in 8.7. He trailed Macon Murphy of Panola College (8.1) and Ty Kirby of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (8.5).

In steer wrestling, Montana Western's Bryce Harrison was seventh in 6.5 seconds. 

The CNFR continues all week in Casper. 

Follow sports editor Jack Nowlin on Twitter @CASJackN

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