NAMPA — Bo Pickett isn’t exactly comfortable in a pair of Wrangler jeans.

“I’ll take shorts any day of the week,” Pickett said while laughing. “But you can’t exactly walk around in them during a rodeo without getting laughed at.”

The jeans didn’t seem to bother the Caldwell tie-down roper much on Thursday night at the 104th Snake River Stampede at the Ford Idaho Center.

Pickett had the second-fastest time of the night at 8.1 seconds. The only person better was three-time world champion Tuf Cooper at 7.6 seconds. Pickett now has the fourth-best time in the second go-around and sits in seventh place in the overall standings. The top 12 advance to Saturday’s finals.

“It’s always fun to do good at your hometown rodeo,” Pickett said. “I felt like I made a good run on a good calf.”

If the name Pickett sounds familiar, it should. Bo Pickett is the nephew of Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer and two-time world champion, Dee Pickett. Dee Pickett won world titles in team roping and all-around in 1984 before being inducted into the Pro Hall of Fame 19 years later.

Bo Pickett is also the cousin of ex-NFL quarterback and current Eagle girls basketball coach Cody Pickett, who team and calf roped back in the day himself. Fellow rodeo professionals Ringo and Rainey Robinson, along with soon-to-be senior Vallivue quarterback Lan Larison, who is currently steer wrestling at the National High School Finals Rodeo, are his cousins as well. Pickett lives right by Larison on the famed Chicken Dinner Road.

“It’s the tradition behind it that’s cool to me,” Bo Pickett said. “When you’re a family that does something at such a high level, there’s always expectations. But I thrive off of it.”

He made them proud Thursday evening.

Right before shooting out of the gate, announcer Boyd Polhamus told the crowd, ‘How many of you remember Dee Pickett?” Bo Pickett then proceeded to remind them all of the family name. He roped his calf in less than two seconds before sprinting over and taking it down on his first try. A few quick wraps around the three legs and it was over at 8.1 seconds. That time combined with the 10.3 he had in slack, put him at 18.4 which should be good enough to get him into Saturday’s finals.

And he’s only really been doing this for six years.

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Pickett unloaded cattle and untied calves for years at the Snake River Stampede as a boy before doing junior rodeo when he was around 9. But Pickett hung up the saddle in favor of football and basketball at Homedale High. He was an All-3A Snake River Valley Conference first-team selection in football his senior year in 2014.

But Pickett realized his true talent and bloodlines lay on the back of a horse with a rope in his hand. He qualified for National High School Finals Rodeo his junior and senior years. Pickett finished 8th in the nation in tie-down roping his junior year.

Pickett rode for Hill College, a junior college in Hillsboro, Texas where he won the second go-round of tie-down roping at the College National Finals Rodeo in 2017. He then purchased his full-time pro card on his 21st birthday.

“That was my birthday present to myself,” Pickett said. “My parents didn’t love the idea of me not going back to school. But they completely understood that rodeo was the first priority for me. It takes a lot of money to go down the road so I really wanted to turn all my focus into rodeo. I’m kind of an all-in type of guy.”

Pickett’s first year has had its ups and downs. He’s won rodeos like the PRCA Circuit Finals in Yakima, Washington in January and earned north of $200,000 to date. But he hasn’t had the best of luck as of late.

After placing at a rodeo in Vernal, Utah Saturday, Pickett arrived home at 7 a.m. the next morning to find his horse of seven years, aptly named Hollywood, “dang near crippled.” An abscess on her foot popped and turned into an infection. So Pickett has had to ride other people’s horses to mixed results.

“That’s the problem with rodeo, it’s so addicting that you could go 20 rodeos and not win something and then it takes one good hit and then you’re right back in it,” Pickett said. “It only takes one check and all of a sudden you’re thinking about what rodeo can get to next.”

That was the case for Pickett. But he didn’t have long to celebrate.

He has to be Spanish Fork, Utah this morning before likely making a return trip to Nampa for Saturday’s short round.

“It’s one of the bucket list rodeos,” Pickett said. “It would be cooler than heck because I know Saturday if I make the short round, there’s going to be a lot of people that know my name.”

Brandon Walton covers Ada County and College of Idaho sports for the Idaho Press.

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