Clay Jorgenson, a senior on the Dickinson State rodeo team, is headed for the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo.
With a two-ride score of 141, Jorgenson won bareback at the Blue Hawk Stampede at the Stark County Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 4. Finishing second overall in bareback riding in the Great Plains Region with 1,130 points, Jorgenson earned a ticket to the CNFR on June 9-15.
DP: Why did you choose Dickinson State?
CJ: "I'm actually the third generation that came here to rodeo. I went to Bismarck for two years and I didn't get the chance to (participate in) college rodeo and I really wanted to have that opportunity, so I decided to come to Dickinson."
DP: How long have you been competing in rodeo and what do you most enjoy about it?
CJ: "I've been competing in rodeo for seven years. I started bareback riding seven years ago when I was a sophomore in high school. I enjoy that you meet so many people. You get to travel to a lot of places you probably wouldn't if you weren't rodeing. In college rodeo, I know we go from Wisconsin to Nebraska, Iowa, all over. I don't think I'd be going to any of those places if it wasn't for rodeo."
DP: What is your major?
CJ: "I am doing ag studies as my major. I will be done this spring here and go back to Watford, work on the ranch and rodeo."
DP: Do you participate in anything else on campus?
CJ: "I was in range club and we took a trip down to Minneapolis (Minn.) to the big convention this year. That was pretty fun."
DP: What is your key to a successful bareback ride?
CJ: "You just gotta have grit and determination to get through the eight seconds. Half the battle is drawing a good horse, then you got to do your part. You just got to keep trying and keep going at it."
DP: What are your thoughts on heading down to Casper for the College National Finals Rodeo?
CJ: "I've heard really good things about it. I've heard it's a really good experience, a good time. Casper's a pretty cool place and I'm just really excited to try."
DP: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
CJ: "It'd be steak."
DP: If you had to vacation one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?
CJ: "I could spend a lot of time in Yellowstone (National Park.)"
DP: What is the best show or movie you watched?
CJ: "One of my favorite movies is probably The Outlaw Josey Wales."
DP: What is your spirit animal?
CJ: "A tiger."
DP: Who, or what, is your biggest inspiration to succeed?
CJ: "One of my biggest inspirations I think about before every ride is my grandpa. He was a great cowboy. He's in the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. A lot of people look up to him and he's just always been an inspiration. I try to be as tough as him and ride as good as he did."