Meet Keith Asmussen, an iMPA with a Fascinating Pastime
Keith Asmussen is a third-year MPA student and also a jockey. Let’s hear more about his experiences as a UT student, both undergrad and graduate, and as a professional horse rider. He also shares some insight for those interested in attending UT!
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE UT?
I am a first-generation college student so there was no outside pressure on my decision from my family. As a high school senior, I loved the idea of being a college student in Austin and was infatuated with McCombs’ reputation after touring campus.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY DOING OVER THE SUMMER?
I am currently competing as a professional jockey at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. Once classes went remote in March, I gave my notice at my part time job in Austin and began working for my father at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. There, I began galloping horses every morning before class.
I usually only get to work during the summers, but getting to work all spring and into the summer has allowed me to get fit enough to ride races. I rode my first race on June 15th and have only ridden fifteen races since.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE UT MEMORY?
Going to the 2018 Red River Showdown and Sugar Bowl! That, or making it through my BA324 TED Talk without passing out.
WHAT DREW YOU TOWARDS HORSE RACING? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DOING IT?
My father was a jockey and is now a Hall of Fame trainer. My grandfather and uncle were jockeys as well. Being born into a horse racing family, some of my earliest memories are of horses. What I admire most about horses is their variety of personalities and response to being treated with class and respect. In addition to the love of being around horses, I am most drawn towards the constant competition in horse racing. Before riding, I had spent all of my summers “hotwalking” (walking horses after they exercise) or grooming. I started galloping horses on the racetrack when I was 16 and have ever since.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE HORSE RACING MEMORY?
Riding two races at Keeneland, a historic racetrack in Lexington, Kentucky.
ASIDE FROM HORSE RACING, WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU ENJOY DOING?
My favorite things to do in Austin are:
- Goofing around with friends in C-league intramural softball and basketball
- Trying new places to eat and go out / Ranking my favorite food trucks
- Playing pick-up games at zilker or the intramural fields
- Eating a Jendy’s 4 for $4 at 3 a.m. after studying at the PCL
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS/ADVICE FOR ANYONE LOOKING TO COME TO UT?
The Chrome Extension – “UT Registration Plus” is a game changer.
If you get the opportunity, study abroad. I was lucky enough to study at the University of Edinburgh through a McCombs study abroad program Summer 2019. Sounds cliché, but it was a life-changing experience that I will always cherish.
Get involved on campus and introduce yourself to your classmates; making new connections is the best part of college.