BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico teen is now a world champion. The Belen High School senior won the Junior World Finals in team roping.
Seventeen-year-old Jake Orris says he’s been roping since he was five years old. “My dad and grandpa rodeoed, so it was like a natural thing,” Orris says. Now, he’s a world champion team roping heeler.
“I’m proud he won it and take it back to New Mexico,” says Dakota Johnson. Orris and his roping partner, Dakota Johnson, qualified for the Junior World Finals.
The team competed against 30 teams from around the world in the 17 and under division in Las Vegas earlier this month. “Heeling for him, it’s fun. He gives you a good shot every time,” Johnson says.
The boys say in the weeks leading up to the competition, “We probably roped every day besides one day, and the one day we didn’t rope it was raining and we’d rope from 12:30 to probably 5:30 at night,” Johnson says.
Orris says it was his first time qualifying for the finals, and competing at that level takes a lot of dedication. “Just practice and practice. There’s no other way. You have to practice and have a good horse. That’s really the only way,” Orris says.
And he says coming home with the title made it all worth it. “It was fun, it was a good experience, it feels good,” Orris says.
Another New Mexico teen also came close to winning. Seventeen-year-old Wyatt Terrazas of Rio Arriba County finished second in bull riding. He goes to Escalante High School.