LINCOLN, Neb. – For the next eight to 10 days or so, the world of rodeo will have all eyes on the National High School Finals Rodeo in Lincoln, Neb.
There will the annual Queen’s Contest that will occupy a ton of time, beginning on Thursday and Friday, July 15-16, and will wrap up on Saturday and Sunday, although the crowning of the queen won’t take place until Saturday, July 24.
Beginning on Sunday night, the first of 13 performances of the rodeo itself will take place. Each contestant will compete in two of those performances, with the final performance being the short go-round which will ultimately decide the national champions.
Today, we will take a look at performances four through six and the Idaho cowboys and cowgirls who will be competing and what their overall chances would appear to be.
We have some tough kids competing and a lot of them, if they get a little bit of luck, could do very well.
Each contestant from Idaho will have a segment on them and their chances and the first three performances have been covered already, the following segment will cover the two performances on Tuesday and the first performance on Wednesday, before the kids get to move on to their second runs as they try and qualify for the short go which will be held on Saturday.
Following is the scheduled performances for Idaho cowboys and cowgirls, their events and how their overall chances are at a top finish at the NHSFR for 2021.
Tuesday morning performance, 9 a.m., Fourth Performance
Macardi Anderson won the second go-round of the Idaho state finals, but floundered a bit in the short go and still qualified in the top four. Anderson has the horse and the skills to do well in this event, but she must be firing on all cylinders from start to finish without any lapses. If she can do that, she definitely could crack the top 10.
Harley Beasley is as good a cowgirl as Idaho has this year. She has been to the nationals a number of times and is very capable of winning it all. She is very accomplished in both breakaway roping and goat tying and could be a double winner if things fall her way. Never count out Harley Beasley when the money is on the line.
Jetta Bott finished with a rush in this event and must not have that kind of a lapse at nationals. She didn’t score any points in the first two rounds at state, but still made the four-person team to represent Idaho. That says a lot for her ability to put things behind her and concentrate on the business at hand. She must be focused from the start to have a chance here.
Saddle Bronc Riding
Cooper Cooke is as good a rough stock cowboy as there is in Idaho. He is also nationally ranked, on a scholarship for rodeo this fall and is a threat in all three events that he qualified for. He is part of a strong contingent of rough stock cowboys that are representing Idaho this year and one of the favorites to take the title in this event.
Jesse Lindsay and Cooper Walker: Team roping is such a tough event and so popular that more and more you see two very good tie down ropers who are teaming up to compete in this event. Lindsay and Walker finished second in this event at state, but what it will boil down to is the team that can put three really fast times together will be the winner at nationals. I would think that it could be anyone who gets really hot at the right time.
Tennessee Owens: It must be tough to be the fourth man in a four-man team that is headed by Cooper Cooke and Rawley Johnson, two of the top riders in the country. Tennessee failed to score a point in the opening round at state and again in the short go-round and he cannot have that lapse and have any chance of placing anywhere. The big key is get those first two rides completed and earn a judges score so you have a chance at the short go-round and ultimately the average.
Brylee Smith chased Teely Bott who had a great state finals in this event. She was a clear second place and stands above the other qualifiers from Idaho. She needs to do what all of the barrel racers need to do and that is to have two clean and fast runs to make the short go-round where anything can and probably will happen.
Reined Cow Horse
Sierra Telford and her sister Shawney were so very dominant in this event at state that you have to feel they have a big chance at nationals as well. This is a judged event, so you have to go in with an idea of what the judges are looking for and have the patterns down pat. Sierra is well mounted, is a good horsewoman and has a chance if she has good performances in here.
Tuesday evening performance, 7 p.m., Fifth Performance
Tie Down Roping
Luke Dalton had a great state run after finishing fourth in his district. He won a go-round at state and let that carry him into the fourth place finish, good enough to get to nationals, where anything can happen.
Taylor Eiguren is another cowgirl who closed well at state to grab the fourth and final spot on the Idaho team in this event. She will definitely need to step it up to get a top 10 finish.
Ava Manning went second, second and first in the three go-rounds at state before she slipped a bit in the short go-round and lost valuable points in the average. She was a ways behind the top two finishers and must have clean round at nationals to make a difference.
Ryn Severe barely made the team in this event and based upon what he had done in the past, we all know he is a more accomplished cowboy than what he showed at state this year. He will need to be super clean in here and on top of his game to make an impact.
Ethan Smith is a rough and tough cowboy, no doubt about it. He finished second to Hunter Roche, who was the Reserve Champion All Around Cowboy and won two events himself. Like everyone else in this event, he must draw well and not make any mistakes. He will need a pair of runs lower than 10 seconds to get into the short go-round where anything can happen.
Reined Cow Horse
Shawney Telford and her sister Sierra led this event from the opening round and were easily the two best in here. She will need to tweak her riding just a bit and work better with her horse and she could make some noise in this event on the national level.
Cooper Pavkov and Connor Ward were the fourth team in from Idaho. Like everyone else, they will need two clean and fast runs to make the short go-round and if they do, anything might just happen for them.
Wednesday morning performanc, 9 a.m., Sixth Performance (Conclusion of First Go-Round)
Teely Bott swept to the state title in this event and did it with consistency, speed and no mistakes. She has confidence in her horse and vice versa and they both looked like they were having fun and enjoying what they did. More of the same and Teely could make noise at the national rodeo as well.
Cooper Cooke has been the measuring stick in this event for several years. This year he made a ride in the short go to edge out Rawley Johnson and the two of them are a great team and support one another. Cooke got a tough draw in here as he has to ride Wednesday morning and then again on Wednesday night and that has to be tough on the body with bull riding. A definite threat to win it all.
Tie Down Roping
Lucas Cruz finished in third place, but was only five points out of first. With the format of this event on the national level, he will have to be fast and consistent to have a chance in an event where very small fractions of a second can mean the difference between first and 10th.
Dixon Fehlman has his work cut out for him, but this is another event where the first objective will be getting two rides in and just making the short go-round will be a victory.
Wyatt Lyman won this event on the state Level by winning two go-rounds and the average. He failed to score in the other two rounds. He needs more consistency and good scores to have an impact on this field of riders.
Hailey Jo Gibbs: The state champion really showed them how to win with her finish in this event. She won the final go-round, then the short go-round and then took the average to post the win. She will need to start faster to have a chance in here, but stranger things have happened at nationals.
Clayton Lund is another cowboy who qualified fourth in Idaho and would appear to have his work cut out for him. He is already chasing one of the best riders in Cooper Cooke and there are another dozen like Cooke out there waiting for their chance to take Idaho down a notch.
Hunter Roche showed just how good an athlete he is. A three-sport letterman at Marsh Valley High School, Hunter really showed them in this event and like everyone else, he will have to be fast out of the box, get a quick roll on the steer and post some fast times to have an impact on this field. This is a tough event and wide open for the national championships.
Claire Sterling was right there all the way to the end of the state finals. She just missed winning it all and has the horse and ability to make an impact. She just needs a bit more consistency to make it all happen.