FARMINGTON — San Juan County cowboys brought home a pair of state championships at the state high school rodeo finals.
Jesse Rogers, of Bloomfield, captured the team roping title, while Jacob Spencer, also of Bloomfield, won the bull riding championship last weekend in Lovington.
Rogers, along with his partner Wasey Carviso from Fort Wingate, finished atop the team roping standings after the 2012-2013 rodeo season.
Rogers and Carviso's partnership is different than most because the two live 145 miles apart, limiting their practice time during the season.
"It's definitely unique," Rogers said. "On our free weekends, Wasey will come here, and we'll rope all day."
Rogers, who graduated from Bloomfield High this year, said the distance hasn't affected the partnership, and the team has continued to improve throughout the year.
"He lives about two and half hours away, but we've roped together long enough and known each other long enough that we're thinking the same thing," Rogers said.
The teamwork between the two is the key to their success, Rogers said.
"We always have a plan going into the rodeo, and we formulate a game plan for every steer we draw," he said.
Spencer joined Rogers in bringing home a state title.
"It was really cool. I was excited after finishing sixth last year, but a lot seniors left last year and gave me a chance," said Spencer, who just finished his sophomore year at Bloomfield High.
Spencer topped the season-long point standings in the bull riding event after the 20 rodeo campaign.
He led the standings throughout the year but struggled late in the fall, and he was worried he might not be able to keep his lead over the other riders.
"At the end of fall series, I hit a rough patch and got bucked off five in a row, and they were kind of catching me," Spencer said. "I was just able to stay focused and finish the season strong."
With their wins, Rogers and Spencer qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyo.
Along with his team roping duties, Rogers will try to defend his national title in the trap shooting competition, which he won at the event last year.
This will be the first time he's competed in both events at the rodeo.
"In previous years, I just went to shoot, so there was a lot of free time," Rogers said. "This time, it will be more like a normal practice schedule where I'll shoot on certain days and rope on certain days."
The National High School Finals Rodeo runs July 14 to 20.
Joshua Perry covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.