FARMINGTON — For the second straight year, Jacob Spencer is the best high school bull rider in New Mexico.
Spencer, who recently completed his junior year at Bloomfield High, won the New Mexico High School Rodeo Association bull riding state championship on Saturday in Lovington.
"It feels good, and the hard work really pays off," said Spencer, who also won the bull riding title in 2013.
The title is awarded based on a season-long accumulation of points at rodeos in the fall and spring. Points are awarded based on competitors' finishes at each event.
Spencer totalled 110 points for the 2013-2014 season, finishing 38 points ahead of his nearest competitor.
The Blanco native said having a good mindset is the most important part of putting together a consistent season.
"The biggest thing is mental focus. You have to have a good mental focus and keep moving forward," Spencer said. "You don't always have the weekends you want, but you have to come in next week ready to compete."
Spencer's best ride at the state finals came during the short-go, in which he scored a 77 to win the round.
"In the short round, I got a bull I'd been on three times," he said. "It was just a good bull."
After winning the state title a year ago, Spencer went to the national high school finals rodeo, where he finished second competing against the best high school riders in the nation.
This year, Spencer said his goal is to come out with the national championship. He said the key will be to put together three good rides at the rodeo.
"I'm really excited to go to nationals this year. Hopefully, I can just do what I've been doing," he said. "If you can cover three bulls, you've got a chance."
At a large rodeo like the national contest, Spencer said it sometimes comes down to the luck of the draw with the bulls he gets.
"They bring in so many bulls. There are some that are good, and some that aren't as good," he said. "You'd like to stay away from the bad ones, but as long as we can put together good rides, then we'll be fine. You can only control so much. You just want to ride your bull."
On top of his rodeo success, Spencer also played a major role on the Bloomfield wrestling team this past season.
Spencer placed second in the 3A/A 138-pound bracket as he helped the Bobcats win their first team state title since 1984.
He said the two sports work well with his schedule.
"I've wrestled longer than I've done anything else, and there's not a lot of rodeos around here in the winter," Spencer said. "I think wrestling helps, because it keeps me physically active."
Spencer said winning the national bull riding title would be similar to winning the state wrestling title. It would be a great way to cap off the season, he said.
"It's been a good year," he said. "Winning the state bull riding title was a lot like winning district in wrestling. Winning nationals is a lot like state wrestling, since nationals in the biggest rodeo I go to all year, and state is the biggest wrestling meet I have."