Running with Fire

by Ruth Nicolaus

South Dakota horse “Fiery Miss West” wins Badlands Circuit Barrel Horse of the Year

Minot, N.D. (October 10, 2017) – A young exceptional horse has won the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Badlands Circuit Horse of the year.

“Missy”, a six year old palomino owned by Gary Westergren of Lincoln, Neb. and ridden by Jessica Routier of Buffalo, S.D. earned the title after carrying her rider to a qualification and the championship at the 2017 Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo in Minot.

Missy, whose registered name is Fiery Miss West, is an “early bloomer,” Routier said. “She didn’t have a lot of barrel racing time put on her in her early years,” as Routier and husband Riley Routier added twin daughters and another daughter to their clan. However, they ranched on the palomino. “I’m a firm believer that that’s what makes a horse great: learning to work hard at a young age. If you ranch on them, the barrel racing should seem easy.”

Last year, Routier took her to futurities, where she did well. This year, she took Missy to pro rodeos, and the team placed almost everywhere they competed, winning first in Plentywood, Mont., Onida and Aberdeen, S.D., Granite Falls, Minn., and second at Rapid City’s summer rodeo and in Deadwood, S.D. They entered the circuit finals in Minot last week in first place, with over $20,000 accumulated from the season. During the season, they knocked over a few barrels, but Routier credited that to Missy’s youth. “They were young and green horse moments where we didn’t have our timing.”

Missy does well with nearly every arena situation, Routier said. “She handles all types of ground, and every arena set up. I was little nervous for the first round (at the circuit finals in Minot) because we’ve never done a blind first barrel before. But she handled it fine.” The way the barrel pattern is set up at the circuit finals, horses are not able to see the first barrel till they are through the alley.

Missy also has a generous personality. “She’s very kind,” Routier said. “She loves all our kids. She’s laid back. The kids can ride around on her.” She does have one small flaw. “Her only vice is she doesn’t like to stand still. But that we can deal with.”

Missy was sired by Firewater Frenchman and out of Frenchmans Bodashus.

Routier, who grew up in Wisconsin, has qualified for the Great Lakes Circuit Finals Rodeo four times and the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo eight times. She was the 2010 year-end Badlands Circuit champion as well as this year’s champion.

The horse also won the Badlands Circuit’s Rising Star award as well.

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