Jake Van, Glenwood, has been hired as Salina City’s Blackhawk Manager. An avid rodeo man, he and his family have been involved in barrel racing and other related activities at the arena and he is now ready to take it to the next level.
“The Blackhawk has consistently been known as having the best grounds in Utah,” he said. “This place is great, and they’ve been doing a tremendous job, but you can never not do better. Years from now I want everyone around here to be able to bring their grandkids in and tell them about all the fun, amazing things they did at the Blackhawk twenty years ago.”
Though he’s been volunteering with the arena for several months, he officially began work and was “baptized by fire” Father’s Day weekend this year when Burns began their two-week long X-treme Million barrel races and Salina City was hosting the annual Eyes to the Sky Balloon Festival.
“Burns did an amazing job and things ran smoothly, and now we’re off to the races getting ready for the next big thing,” he said. “The Ruby, coming up the end of July, will be overwhelming, and the payout is tremendous. Should be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to it. I welcome the challenge and I’m looking forward to taking care of business.”
His part-time assistant, Rylan Crane, was a tremendous asset that weekend, as he is every day- the hardest working kid he knows, said Van, and the Sevier County inmates come in several times each week to help with the chores.
Van anticipates this year will be just as busy as last year, if not more, and hopes to book events throughout the winter as well- keep it busy.
“I’d like to see us get enough events here that we can afford to allow the local citizens and club members to get in here a little cheaper,” he said. “I love the family atmosphere of it and we need to keep that up.”
Things he is looking to improve would be the addition of more stalls, as you can never have too many, and he’s looking into funding for power sources and will work on the landscaping to make the outside more appealing. The city is also working on internet connection which will allow for live feeds. In addition, the short rain fall last week presented three leaks in the roof, so that will need to be taken care of as soon as possible too.
“I’m not worried about putting events on,” he said. “We’ve got that down. Now I want to make it so they can’t not come back, and we can do that by getting more stalls, which we’re working on- we’ve got 60 more on order for the Ruby, and hospitality- getting the local hotels and restaurants involved. The locals are always complimented on how well our visitors are received, so I’m grateful for that.”
He said there’s a lot to do, so many moving parts but he is “tickled to be a part of it.”