Old Glory, Young Cowgirl | TSLN.com

Old Glory, Young Cowgirl

Trick Rider, Payton Routier, is pursuing her dream at the Minot Y’s Men’s Rodeo

Ruth Nicolaus

Minot, N.D. (October 7, 2017) – A little girl is working on her dream at the Minot Y's Men's Rodeo.

Five years ago, when Payton Routier was four years old, she saw a trick rider at the Minot rodeo.

The sequined cowgirl, riding around the arena doing gymnastic-like stunts on horseback at full speed caught the attention of the young cowgirl, and she wanted to learn to trick ride.

So she went back home to Buffalo, S.D., with her parents, Riley and Jessica Routier, and begged and begged till they found her a trick riding saddle.

She attended trick riding clinics put on by Roz Beaton, a Canadian trick rider now living in South Dakota, and the cowgirl that Payton saw at the Minot rodeo in 2012.

And she learned to trick ride.

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Now, the nine year old is doing what her idol, Beaton, did: zooming around arenas on horseback, in colorful, sparkly costumes, standing on the back of a horse.

In Minot, at the Y's Men's Rodeo, she can be found carrying the American flag during the national anthem, as she stands on her horse, galloping around the arena.

It's something she's been obsessed with, her mother Jessica said. "It's something she loves."

It was a struggle to find a saddle five years ago, especially a trick riding saddle made for a four year old. Payton's parents could have had one made, but didn't want to spend that kind of money on something they weren't sure their daughter would continue to pursue.

But friends of friends located one, and Payton got her start. She's also been coached by Madison MacDonald, another Canadian trick rider who has been chosen to entertain on pro rodeo's biggest stage: the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas each December.

It took baby steps for Payton to start trick riding. She and her family live on a ranch in South Dakota's northwest corner, and she's a good horsewoman, her mom said. "People think she's fearless, but she's not," Jessica said. "When she first started, she was only four. She'd sit there and cry, because she saw the real trick riders doing all these tricks and going fast, and she thought she needed to do them fast." A professional trick rider finally convinced her that everyone starts at a standstill, then goes to a walk, and then a gallop.

Payton has trick rode at some regional rodeos and pro rodeos, including Bowman, N.D., and Sturgis and Onida, S.D., and she has big dreams. Someday, she'd like to trick ride at the National Finals Rodeo. "I see myself going on with this (trick riding)," Payton said.

Payton's mother Jessica won the barrel racing at this year's Minot Y's Men's Rodeo.

Payton carried the American flag during the remainder of the Minot Y's Men's Rodeo in Minot, N.D. at the State Fair Center.

–Minot Ys Men's Rodeo

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