BLACKFOOT — One of the fastest growing and most popular events in high school rodeo is becoming goat tying. For the young ladies, nothing has the speed, strength and ability requirements of goat tying, which requires a fast horse, athleticism on behalf of the athletes, and speed because it is a timed event.

Nothing has caught the imagination of the fans like goat tying, and nothing in the list of events has brought the competition to a high level like goat tying has done over the past several years.

A good example of this is the fact that in District 4, the top three finishers in the event — Breyer Newman, Laynee Gregersen, and Harley Beasley — finished one point apart after 12 performances.

Newman had 68 points and both Gregersen and Beasley finished with 67 points, which would make it one of the tightest finishes in any event around.

In last year’s state finals, these three finished third, fifth and 14th and two of them advanced on to the national finals in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

In the second performance of the national finals, Gregersen posted a time of 9.03 seconds. It wasn’t what she was used to, but it was good enough for 10th place and showed her that she belonged.

She came back in Performance 11 with a time of 7.65, which placed her third in the performance and she knew that she had arrived and was in her element in the goat tying. She belonged with the best and she was proving in on the national stage.

In performance 13, Gregersen came back with a time of 8.18, good enough for an 11th-place position but more importantly, she would add another pair of times, 9.03 and 8.28. She would end up with an average or total time of 24.98, which was good enough for 13th place among the 155 competitors in the event.

Some of the other districts will have athletes and competitors, and they could be some of the following.

District 1 will be sending Austyn Erickson and Halee Angel to the state finals after accumulating 99 and 89 points, respectively. Now with more rodeos than District 4 runs, those point totals will be a little out of whack, but they still distanced themselves from the rest of their field, so they must be considered.

District 2 will send Jada June Totten, an experienced cowgirl who won the event in the district and with her experience, she could make a run at a state title.

Josey Jones will represent District 3 and in only 10 rodeos, she accumulated 97 points, which means she was far ahead of the rest of the competition. Whether she is as well mounted as the other competitors or not remains to be seen, but she has to be considered.

District 5 will be sending Aspen Stinemates, who also won the all-around cowgirl award so she will be tough enough to challenge in here, but she also had only 80 points in 12 rodeos, so there may not have been as much competition in the district, or District 4 may be in trouble.

District 6 conducts 16 rodeos each year, so their numbers are always the highest in the state. Leading the way in District 6 were Taylor Seaward and Jetta Botts with 125 and 102 points, respectively.

District 7 and the Rexburg area has always been known for fast horses and good cowboys and cowgirls and this year doesn’t look any different. There were no less than five cowgirls who scored more than 90 points in the district standings in this event. That could mean a very competitive group of cowgirls, it could mean a lot of very fast horses and fast tying cowgirls, or it could mean that this group simply took turns in winning each of the rodeos sponsored by the district.

District 8 was led by Taylar Smith and Oakley Crane, who finished first and second with 94.5 and 86 points, respectively, but that isn’t any guarantee of competitiveness at the state finals rodeo. They held at least 11 rodeos in this district and the distance between second and third was considerable, so the guess here is that the top two finishers were a ways ahead of the field for the entire season and that makes a big difference.

District 9 held the most rodeos of any district so it is hard to compare the points between districts. The most active district is also the newest district in the area and with a lot of Utah cowboys and cowgirls some feel this is the most competitive and toughest to earn berths at the state finals. That will remain to be seen.

Hailey Jo Gibbs, Brylee Smith, and Kendall Williams finished in the top three places and they are all good seasoned cowgirls. They could be among the handful set to upset the apple cart in the state finals and Brylee Smith has state and national experience, so you have to consider the possibility at least of an upset from this crew.

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