Three Sanpete cowboys qualify for high school rodeo nationals

(Left): Sanpete’s local cowboys qualify for the National High School Finals. They are (from left to right) Riley Oberg, Jake Tree and Cade Denton. (Right): State champion cow cutting contestant Jake Tree, worked hard to earn the top spot in the state and nail down his spot on the national stage.

HEBER—When going up against the best high school rodeo athletes in Utah, preparation and sometimes a little bit of luck is necessary to come out on the top.

And three Sanpete cowboys had the luck and the skills to excel at their events at the 2021 Utah High School State Rodeo Finals at the Wasatch County Event Complex in Heber last weekend.

With their high finishes, the three cowboys qualified for nationals and will move on to represent Utah at the National High School Finals in Lincoln Nebraska July 18-24.

The boys have been competing at rodeos throughout the state this year.

Manti High sophomore Jake Tree, son of Todd Tree of Mt. Pleasant and Alex and Tiffany Alder-Bown of Ephraim, is the 2020-2021 Utah Boys Cutting State Champion.

Becoming the state champion not only comes with bragging rights, but quite the collection of hardware. Jake brought home buckles from each round, along with the state champion buckle and saddle for becoming the overall champion.

“This weekend was way nerve wracking waiting to see where my friends and I all finished in the standings,” said Tree. “It was really exciting when we knew we had qualified for nationals.”

Tree is no stranger to the national spotlight. Last year as a freshman he qualified for and finished in the top 25 at high school nationals.

Tree’s teammate Cade Denton, son of Kyle and Ashley Denton from Sterling, placed second overall. Denton is happy with his national qualification as this is his final year to participate because he recently graduated from Manti High.

Along with these two in the cutting event, Riley Oberg, son of Ky and Jaymie Oberg of Ephraim, placed third overall in the team roping event.