REXBURG – The Short Go of the Idaho State High School Rodeo Finals was moved from Blackfoot to Rexburg Friday morning due to muddy conditions at the Eastern Idaho State Fairgrounds, but the event didn't miss a beat as state champions were crowned and the team was assembled for the National High School Finals which will take place in Guthrie, Oklahoma later this summer.
Here's a recap of the action.
Cooper Cooke of Teton defended his All-Around title on the strength of his bareback riding performance, but Cooke is a rough stock specialist and will represent Idaho in at least two events at Nationals.
Isabella Manning won the barrels in dominating style and will also be representing Idaho in multiple events at the National Finals
Cooper Cooke dominated and won the Short Go with a score of 76. The rough stock specialist used this event, which traditionally starts off the state rodeo as a statement maker and used this event to set himself up for a second straight All-Around Cowboy title.
Finishing second was Kelby Schneiter, third was Wes Shaw and fourth was Darien Johnson to round out the qualifiers for Nationals.
Caylee Bradshaw was the most consistent rider in this event all week long. She may have only finished fourth in the Short Go, but she accumulated enough points to earn her championship. She will lead a team that includes Brinn Bowman (second), third-place finisher Brecken Smith and Macey Fillmore.
Gage Gregersen used his consistency to gain a win in the average for this event and that propelled him to the overall win. Those average points were instrumental in his championship and will lead a strong group heading to Nationals. In second place was Wes Shaw, while Whit Smith was third and Firth's Dawson Davis finished fourth.
The action was fast and furious all week long. Paige Bennett used a fast Short Go performance to propel her to the title, but she was also the average winner and won the Second Go Round as well. She saved her best efforts of the year for the State Finals. In second place was Brylee Smith and last year's state champ, Laynee Gregerson finished up in third. Fourth was Breyanna Miller-Dubray.
SADDLE BRONC RIDING
Riggin Smith saved his best for the Short Go Round as he posted a score of 69 to not only claim the round, but also boost himself into the average win. Those two things got him his state championship and he will lead an Idaho team that includes Bingham Carson who finished second, third place Cooper Clarke and Wyatt Lloyd.
Speed was the theme of this event. There were more than a handful of cowgirls who posted a time under three seconds all week long and it became the norm to expect it in here. Raegan Steed won both the First Go Round and the Second Go Round and had just enough to place in the average to gain the win by a half-point overall. As champion, she will lead the team that includes second-place finisher Halle Burch and a pair of competitors who tied for third in Laynee Gregersen and Dally Mendenhall.
This is an event where the cream rises to the top and that is what happened this week in the State Finals. Waid Dalton saved his best for this week and he claimed the title based on the strength of his overall game. He won the First Go Round and the Second Go Round and did enough in the Short Go to claim the top average which got him his title. Last year's state champ Cooper Duffin won the Short Go to finish second, Blackfoot's Nick Chappell was solid all week to place third and fourth was Malad's Tom Simpson.
This event is typically fast and furious. Isabella Manning proved all week that she was the fastest of the fast, claiming the First Go Round, the Short Go as well, and the average. That combination was good enough to also earn her the All-Around Title. Manning will lead a team that also includes Macey Fillmore who was second, Brylee Smith in third and fourth place finisher Jada Totten.
Jesse Lindsay and Cooper Walker won the event which is gaining in popularity each and every year. A solid week earned them the big points in the average and they also earned their state title because of it. In second was Dawson and Jackson Cummins, with Ally and Devon McDaniel placing third and the team of Boedy Thompson and Wyatt Jensen taking the final National qualifier spot.
Riley Barber of Firth was the only rider to cover both of his rides in the first two Go Rounds and carried a huge advantage into the Short Go. He may not have won the Short Go, but he was the best rider all week to claim the title. In second was Wesley Pearson, with Riley Barg in third and Vernon Adams taking fourth.