For the first time since 2013, both boys and girls Idaho High School State Finals Rodeo all-around titles went to District 7.
Giving east Idaho its 10th consecutive state all-around cowboy title was Victor’s Cooper Cooke, while Rexburg’s Breanna Jenkins claimed all-around cowgirl, the first District 7 cowgirl to do so since South Fremont’s Makayla Boots won her second consecutive all-around title in 2013.
Cooke, who recently completed his sophomore year at Teton, had a busy week at the state finals at the Bannock County Event Center in Pocatello, competing in bareback, steer wrestling, saddle bronc, team roping and bull riding.
A National High School Finals Rodeo qualifier in bareback riding and saddle bronc, he described the all-around title as awesome.
“The first round kind of offset me a little bit, got kinda worried... wasn’t really sure,” Cooke said. “Second round, I came back and I did pretty good in some of my events. The timed events never really did work out in my favor this week, but I felt like I just kept stepping up my game in the rough stock.”
He faced familiar competition in the rough stock events. Fellow eastern Idaho cowboys, Rowdy Piva and Kade Bruno of District 1 and Kelby Schneiter of District 7, claimed state titles in bull riding, saddle bronc and bareback, respectively. He said the saddle bronc and bareback state title races were particularly close with the eventual winners. The east Idaho depth in rough stock events was evident by the third go-round: Bruno, Piva, District 1’s Miles Johnson and Cooke had the top four scores in bull riding, Bruno and Cooke went 1-2 in saddle bronc and Schneiter and Cooke went 1-2 in bareback.
“Some of the goals were, I definitely wanted to walk away winning in the bareback and saddle bronc, but I knew it’d be super tough because all my good buddies ride good,” Cooke said.
Cooke said he will likely be at a rodeo every weekend until the National High School Finals Rodeo, which begins July 14 in Rock Springs, Wyo.
The all-around championship saddle and buckle provided a bookend to a productive week for Jenkins, who claimed the reined cow horse state title on Monday with 59 points to qualify for the NHSFR. Like Cooke, she had a busy state finals, competing in cow cutting, pole bending, team roping and goat tying. She helped her cause for the all-around title upon winning the third go-round of pole bending with a time of 20.405 and placing third in the second go-round of goat tying with a time of 7.790.
She said she is looking forward to her first trip to the NHSFR and will work with her horse, Lena, to prepare before leaving for Wyoming. Lena belongs to Payson and Melanie Munns and was originally a roping horse before being trained for reined cow horse. The National High School Rodeo Association added reined cow horse as an event in 2014 and has been an event at the IHSFR since 2015.
Schneiter, who just finished his sophomore year at Madison, won the bareback state title after receiving a score of 75 in Saturday’s short go round. He entered Saturday tied for first place with Tyler Smith, who took two re-rides, and there was a longer wait for the two cowboys before Schneiter was deemed the event champion.
“It was not too bad,” Schneiter said of the wait. “I would’ve been happy if he would’ve won just the same as I am now.”
Bruno, a recent Challis graduate entered Saturday having received first place scores of 80 and 68 in bull riding and saddle bronc, respectively, in the third go-round. Fellow recent Challis graduate Piva, who plans to continue his career at the College of Southern Idaho, entered Saturday coming off a second place score of 78 in bull riding from the third go-round. No cowboy received a score in Saturday’s bull riding short go, and he claimed the title with a total score of 151 through two bulls.
“I did pretty good, not as good as I’d liked to, but my goal at the beginning of the week was to win state and ride all four bulls, but didn’t get the second part done,” Piva said. “Oh, well. I guess you can’t ride them all.”
The complete list of national qualifiers was not posted to the Idaho High School Rodeo Association website by Post Register deadline, nor were the complete final results from Saturday’s short go round.
Madison Guernsey of the Idaho State Journal and Fred Davis of the Bingham County Chronicle contributed to this story.