Jeff Newgard is president and CEO of $409 million-asset Bank of Idaho in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He’s also the treasurer and Shoshone-Bannock Tribes liaison of the War Bonnet Roundup, the state’s oldest rodeo.
I was born and raised on a reservation. My great-grandfather homesteaded on an open reservation, the Confederated Salish Kootenai in Montana, which opened parts to non-Native Americans for homesteading. This is what I knew growing up. I cherish my background in having been raised in a very integrated, very diverse place, right alongside Native Americans.
The traditions may not be in my blood, but they’re certainly in my heart. I grew up going to powwows, dancing and drumming, so even the spiritual side of this culture impacted me growing up. I have been invited on multiple occasions to join the Shoshone-Bannock singers, Medicine Thunder, around the ceremonial drum. There are very few non-Native Americans who are invited to join in this sacred tradition. I am honored to have been one of them.
I have a passion for rodeo and the agricultural community. Being on the board of the War Bonnet Roundup is my way to give [back] in that area. I’m treasurer, but the biggest part of my role is [as liaison to] the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
This year will mark the War Bonnet rodeo’s 109th year. It’s an integral part of our history and our beginnings. I ride every night into the arena and draw for the different prizes. One of my favorite things to do with our agricultural clients [and] our ranchers in the fall is to get on horseback and help them bring cattle down.
—Kathryn Jackson Fallon