Competing for the Ute Mountain High School rodeo team last season, Cortez native Jake Cruzan won state titles in the team roping and cutting events.
Cruzan continued working hard and after moving to Arizona for the winter, finished first in cutting at the state high school rodeo.
By virtue of his top finish in the state, Cruzan again qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo, which will be held in Rock Springs, Wyo., on July 13-19.
“My horse that I have, his name is Wild Thing, and he has the ability to win a national title,” said Cruzan. “I just have to keep him on track, and I should be fine.”
Competition promises to be stiff at this year’s National High School Finals Rodeo as more than 1,500 contestants from 42 states will attend.
More than $200,000 in prize money will be handed out, and $350,000 worth of scholarship money will be given away.
Using the scholarship money that he has won during his high school career, Cruzan will attend community college next year in Scottsdale, where he plans to study equine science.
“I think that my ability to keep my horses ready and tuned up has been a big key (to my success),” Cruzan told The Cortez Journal last year. “My horses are my best friends, and I’m not lying about that.”
Cruzan’s quest to win a National High School Rodeo Finals championship can be followed at www.NHSRA.org.