The best cowboys and cowgirls in Idaho converge on Pocatello this weekend for the Idaho High School State Finals Rodeo at the Bannock County Event Center.
Multiple reigning state champions and one defending national champion highlight the field. Jerome’s Breck Ward is back after winning a national championship last summer in team roping with departed partner Trae Smith, who won last year’s national all-around title and hails from Georgetown.
Ward is competing in this year’s team roping field with partner Cole Eiguren. Ward is also slated to compete in tie-down roping.
Jessi Jane Portenier returns as the defending all-around state champion cowgirl. Portenier also won last year’s cow cutting championship.
She can earn Idaho’s first repeat all-around title since Makayla Boots won consecutive all-around state championships in 2012 and 13. Portenier is set to compete in this year’s cow cutting, reined cow horse, goat tying and pole bending.
Other returning state champions include Colt Ramsey (boys cow cutting), Cassidee Wood (girls reined cow horse), Makayla Searle (pole bending), Paige Bennett (goat tying), Kaylee Cornia (goat tying), Cassidy Corta (barrel racing) and Payt Goodey (rifle shooting).
The state finals begin Saturday with queen competitions. The rodeo’s first go-round is Monday at 7 p.m.