High School Rodeo at halfway mark

Cooper Cooke gets off to a good day in saddle bronc riding.

BLACKFOOT – With Wednesday morning’s performance, the Idaho State High School Rodeo Finals reached the midway point of the 2020 run to a State Championship for hundreds of young cowboys and cowgirls.

The events have been anything, if not ultra-competitive with super-fast times good scores in the dozen or so events being conducted.

Every single event is up for grabs at the midway point and only the performances left on Wednesday evening and both performances on Thursday will go a long way, not only in determining the Friday Short Go Finalists, but also the ultimate Idaho State Champion in each and every event.

Kicking off with the bareback riding, Darien Johnson was pegged in the third performance of the First Go Round and he responded with the highest scoring ride of the rodeo thus far, posting a 74 to grab the top spot as the event heads into the Second Go Round. Cooper Cooke also posted a nice score in Wednesday morning’s performance with a 70 to hold second, while Kelby Schneiter used a 69 on Tuesday night to claim the third spot in the standings as ten of the twelve riders all posted qualifying scores to make this a very tough event in this year’s Rodeo.

In pole bending, it is Sugar City’s Macey Fillmore who leads the pack and earned the 10 points in the standings with a good run of 21.632 earned on Tuesday evening as she leads the top 10 girls in the event. McKinsey Torres of District 4 showed that she will be a force to be reckoned with as the last contestant to make a run at the poles posted the second-fastest time of the event on Wednesday in a very wet arena. Her time was 21.808 was posted to the delight of the District 4 fans. In third was Taylor Williams who got her time in the first performance on Tuesday morning, so the three came from three different performances and the judges had to like that aspect of the event, the talent was definitely spread out.

In steer wrestling, it was the fast time of Lan Larison in the second performance that vaulted him to the top. The young man who is headed to college on a football scholarship, had no trouble in posting a 5.66 time to show that he may well be the one to beat in this tough event. In second is Riggin Smith with a time of 5.72 seconds and third is Dustin Thompson who posted a 5.9 second run. The second Go Round was scheduled for later Wednesday night.

Goat tying is proving to be no different than any other year. Holding down the top spot after the first Go Round is Kendall Williams who posted a time of 8.59 in the second performance, but with the times all very fast, it will only take a slight mistake to close the gap with the other performers. In second is Tymber Burkey with a 9.07 and in third is Shada Edwards with a time of 9.11 seconds. Defending champion Laynee Gregersen is in the hunt with a time of 9.91.

Saddle bronc brought out the best as only four of the 11 riders have been able to post qualifying scores, led by Riggin Smith, Carson Bingham and Cooper Cooke have all posted 67 for a score and a three-way tie. In fourth is Wyatt Lloyd with a 49, so it truly will be anyone’s guess as to who will come out on top.

In breakaway roping, the appropriately named Raegan Steed stormed to the top with a third performance run of 2.36 seconds, as six spots were claimed at the top with times of less than three seconds. In second is Lili Bell with a time of 2.58 seconds and third is Millie Greenwood with a time of 2.59 seconds.

Tie-down roping is always a tough event to call and this year will be no different. Waid Dalton leads the way with a 9.85 second time while Riggin Smith posted a time of 12.22 seconds and Tom Simpson of Malad posted a time of 13.70 to hold down third.

In barrel racing, Abby Nordstrom flew around the course in 17.708 seconds to claim the top spot, while Isabel Hyde was in second with a time of 17.723, and third was Shae Risch with a time of 17.724.

One of the more popular events in recent years has been team roping. Leading the way is the team of Ally and Devon McDaniel who posted a time of 7.74 seconds to lead this tough event. In second is the team of Sylais York and Spencer Gordon with a time of 7.800 seconds and in third is the team of Ruger Hewitt and Logan Corta who posted a time of 7.96 seconds.

Leading the way in bull riding with a score of 70 are Vernon Adams and Riley Barg while third is Riley Barber with a score of 69.5. The second Go Round should be plenty exciting as the riders try and get into the Short Go on Friday morning. A total of five riders have posted qualifying scores thus far and there will be at least five more that give it their all trying to get to Friday’s round which ultimately always determines the State Champion.

The second Go round will comprise of Wednesday night’s performance and the two performances scheduled for Thursday. Things wrap up for the 2020 Idaho State High School Rodeo Finals beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday.