POCATELLO — It was a banner day for a fine group of fourth district rodeo stars as ten different National Finals Rodeo spots were awarded to fourth district cowboys including a pair of state champions as Skylerr Valentine and Cooper Clemens each claimed state titles by days end.
Valentine got the party started in the bareback event as he took to the short go with 208 points after notching scores in each of the first three goes. Riding last, Valentine came out of the shoots in great shape but the mount that he had drawn fell to the arena floor just seconds into the ride. As the steed regained its feet the crowd roared its approval as Valentine remained on the back of the bronc, finishing his ride as the judges awarded him a re-ride for his efforts. Valentine took the re-ride, and promptly rode his fifth mount of the week long finals for a score of 57 and the state championship.
"I just wanted to go out and have some fun and stay relaxed," Valentine said. "Now I just need to go to Nationals and do the same thing. Ride aggressive and have some fun."
The state championship places Valentine in rare company as he is one of the handful of high school student athletes who have been fortunate enough to capture multiple individual state titles this season. Valentine successfully defended his state wrestling championship in March ahead of this title at the state high school finals.
"I would have to say that this bareback championship felt the best I guess because it was the first time I've accomplished this," Valentine said. "Wrestling definitely helped me though. Wrestling helps with my balance, strength and conditioning. If you look around the rodeo you see a lot of wrestlers who are also good at rodeo."
Valentine beat out a fellow wrestler as Firth's Cooper Clemens finished second in the bareback despite Clemons winning the short go with a ride of 68.
Clemens was able to add a championship of his own however in the big boy sport of steer wrestling.
Entering the short go Clemens sat in fourth place after three head. Running in reverse order Clemens watched patiently as 16 other steer wrestlers had their turn before Clemens entered the arena.
It didn't take Clemens long as the took his steer down in 4.04 seconds, pumped his fist in the air after looking at the clock and took the first place points for winning the short go. That run also gave Clemens second place points for the average and with those he was crowned the state champion steer wrestler.
Clemens also qualified for nationals in the tie down roping as he took fourth place in that event.
Valentine, Clemens and the rest of the fourth district cowboys and cowgirls will now head to Rock Springs Wyoming for the National High School Finals Rodeo which will be begin on July 16.
National Qualifiers by event.
Girls cow cutting: 1-Sadie Smith, 2-Regie Priscott, 3-Bailey Stinson, 4-Hailee Taylor.
Boys cow cutting: 1-Wilder Jones, 2-Garrett Smith, 3-Colby Giannini, 4-Wyatt Murozi.
Bareback Riding: 1-Skylerr Valentine, 2-Cooper Clemens, 3-Cade Cook, 4-Jesse Nelson.
Pole Bending: 1-Kassidy Duffin, 2-Makayla Boots, 3-Cassidy Quinn, 4-Kimberlyn Fehringer.
Steer Wrestling: 1-Cooper Clemens, 2-Kade Eiguren, 3-Brant Reynolds, 4-Chase Hansen.
Goat Tying: 1-Bailey Bartlome, 2-Makayla Boots, 3-Quincy Pendergrass, 4-Brittany Baty.
Saddle Bronc Riding: 1-Garrett Smith, 2-Tyler Friend, 3-Dalton Jim, 4-Chris Cowger.
Breakaway Roping: 1-Bailey Bartlome, 2-Dalli Bean, 3-Megan Gunter, 4-Karlee Worthen.
Team Roping: 1-Cheyanne Sherwood/Cole Sherwood, 2-Garrett Smith/Makayla Boots, 3-Pake-os Palmer/Cole Lickley, 4-Megan Gunter/Baker Ward.
Tie Down Roping: T1-Tanner Nielson, T1-Coy Surrett, 3-Chase Hansen, 4-Cooper Clemens.
Barrel Racing: 1-Darby Fox, 2-Lyndsie Ekstrom, 3-Rodie King, 4-Ciarra Driscoll.
Bull Riding: 1-Garrett Smith, 2-Shawn Butner, 3-Brady Portenier, 4-Tyler Madsen.