Driving to Emmett from my side of the Treasure Valley is simply a pleasure. There’s just something about that drive through the foothills in that beautiful agricultural and wild country, and the drop into a classic Idaho small town that makes you happy for the place you live. It suddenly occurred to me recently, though, as I packed my camera and other gear for the trip down Hwy 16, that I had never actually been to the rodeo there. For all the good I had heard about it, this would be the first time I would actually pull into the fairgrounds to see the Gem Boise County Rodeo, and my only expectations were those reports from others. One stop at the coffee drive-through on Can-Ada, though, and I was off to see for myself if those rumors were true.

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One thing I had heard was about the friendliness of the people at the Emmett rodeo. This wouldn’t surprise me too much – most rodeos I attend are staffed by people who love what they are doing, and that tends to show. Still, I have to say that I was a bit surprised how many committee members and volunteers saw me hanging around with camera and lanyard and greeted me with the most welcoming attitudes. It sure makes it easier to do your job well when you feel like you’re in the right place!

There were rumors that weren’t true, though: for instance, I had heard from some that the rodeo tended to go late into the night. This year the rodeo committee decided to take the bulk of the youth events that had previously taken place during the main performance, and moved them to a special Thursday evening youth rodeo. This both gave the kids a chance to shine on their own and kept the main event running along crisply. The staples of mutton busting and steer riding stayed in the main show and gave everyone a good look at the future of our sport, making for a nicely-rounded event. I’m glad committees around the area are putting on performances entirely geared toward youth, helping them to get the experience and recognition they need and deserve, along with  buckle or two for those who excel!

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Once again, the Slash/T Rodeo brought a dominant pen of stock, primed for action. The broncs in all three bucking events proved to be most worthy adversaries for some of the Gem State’s highest ranked riders, only allowing a few rides all weekend. The bulls proved superior to the cowboys, allowing zero qualifying rides in the pro segments, and just three in the novice. Stock in the Treasure Valley just keeps improving, and it’s getting harder and harder for cowboys to keep up! On the other hand, steer wrestling and team roping both turned in good times and the breakaway was won by Homedale’s Jamie Marts with a stellar 2.7!

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The stands were full of people both Thursday and Friday nights, cheering loudly, and completely absorbed in the action from start to finish. The fair was just outside, but the carnival rides could wait, the crowd was in the palm of the cowboys and cowgirls who were putting it right back out there for them. The environment was nothing short of five-stars.

All told, there was only one thing I was wondering about when I left Emmett. What took me so long to get to the Gem Boise Rodeo? It was too long. I won’t let that happen again.

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All images are photographed and owned by Thomas Duncan of Through These Two Eyes.