POCATELLO – Shelley cowboy Wyatt Remington, the District 4 bull riding champion, opened the 2019 Idaho State High School Rodeo with a smashing performance on Monday night.

He rode a tough, twisting bugger to a fine score of 76 in a sport where a score of 80 is considered excellent, a score of 90 almost unheard of, and he did it with a very heavy heart.

One of Remington’s closest friends and the leader of his Priest’s Quorum in his LDS Ward, in Shelley, Dallin Jolley, passed away of an unexpected heart attack earlier in the evening. The news came just as Remington was getting prepared to get on the back of his scheduled ride for the night.

To say that he rode with a heavy heart was probably the understatement of the century.

“I pretty much dedicated that ride on Monday night to Dallin’s memory,” Remington said. “He had told me for weeks that he was going to come out and watch me ride. His friendship and mentorship meant so much to me, words just can’t say how I felt at the time.”

A “gofundme” account has been set up on Facebook to help out Jolley’s family at this time of need.

What really made the ride special was that Remington was on the last bull of the night and if he posted a score, he would be the only rider in the first performance to do so.

It hasn’t been an easy trek to the finals of the Idaho State Rodeo for Remington, who hadn’t ridden a bull in some time in competition for a few years before the bug got him this spring. He started prepping for the event in the winter, riding in a covered arena in St. Anthony, hoping to follow in the footsteps of his Dad Ramey and his Uncle Garrett, both of whom won District Bull Riding titles. He really wanted to be the third straight generation of champions in the Remington family.

Just a few short weeks before the District 4 series of 12 rodeos was to begin, Wyatt broke his collarbone and it seemed that his dreams of winning that belt buckle might be out of his reach.

He missed the first couple of rodeos in the series before he just couldn’t stand waiting any longer. He had to get on the back of a bull and since practice was out of the question, he received medical clearance to get on a bull’s back and ride one in competition.

Remington was already behind close friend Rawley Johnson in the standings and with the way that bull riding goes, you don’t get many chances to ride one and the scoring in the district was already putting Wyatt behind the eight ball as far as making the state finals.

Going into the final weekend of the District 4 rodeo performances, there were three riders who had each scored a win in the series, all tied with 10 points. It was down to these three to see who was going to lead District 4 into state, carrying the banner of District 4 high into competition.

There is a lot of pride in District 4 in bull riding. Coby Johnson won the state title a couple of years ago and was the favorite to win again last year. Tristen Hutchings was also a state champion bull rider from District 4 in bull riding, so there was a lot on the line if to do nothing else but represent the district in a strong manner.

Remington not only won the Friday night performance, he came back to win on Saturday as well, wrapping up the district title and winning the belt buckle symbolic of that win.

Remington comes by his bull riding naturally as evidenced by there now being three Remingtons who have won District 4 titles in the event.

The untold part of the story is that his grandpa is also involved in the sport and has been instrumental in getting all three of the Remington men their titles.

“Grandpa has helped all of us along, in fact something he told be before I won the first of the three performances in District 4 propelled me to the win,” Wyatt said. “He told me that I wasn’t having any fun and if I wasn’t going to start riding like I wanted to and have some fun while doing it, he wasn’t going to come and watch me any more. He was going to abandon me and force me to do it on my own.”

That turned the whole season around for Remington and he has been on a roll ever since. If his score holds up through the Tuesday night performance, he will be the one to catch and the one to beat in an event that is so very tough to win.

In years past, if you won a go-round in bull riding, you were almost guaranteed a spot in the short-go on Saturday morning. If you were lucky enough to win a go-round and get a qualified ride in a second go-round, you were almost guaranteed a spot in the group who was selected to go to the national finals. That is how tough the event has been over the year.

As of now, there are only two rider to complete rides on bulls at the 2019 state rodeo — Remington with his 76 point ride on Monday night and Carson Simper who posted a 64 on Tuesday morning. That doesn’t guarantee anything, and there were some fine riders in the Tuesday night performance.

Included in that group was Rawley Johnson, another cowboy from District 4 and of course the always tough rough stock performer in Bruin Bradshaw, but Wyatt Remington likes where he is sitting right now.

“I wouldn’t trade places with anyone in the world right now,” Remington said. “I am confident, I am riding well, and they all have to catch me as of right now. There is a lot to like about that.”

The first go-round wrapped up on Tuesday night and the second go-round will begin this morning. By the time the second go-round is completed after Thursday morning’s performance, a lot more will be set in stone, but the smart money is on Wyatt Remington to be one of the cowboys talked about as the field heads towards Saturday’s short-go where the group heading to Rock Springs is determined and Idaho contingent is named.