The Duncan Banner

Sports

June 19, 2013

Taking the Bull by the Horns

Empire’s Swanson ready to ride at youth world finals

DUNCAN — Rowdy Swanson takes a deep breath, feet away from his 900-pound ride for the next eight seconds. He closes his eyes, trying to visualize his plan falling into place and whispers to himself “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

What happens next is such an adrenaline rush, such an undeniable thrill, that most people cannot remember it after it happens. Rowdy mounts the steer and is taken on a roller coaster ride, getting thrown up and down by the animal with incredible force.

It’s what Rowdy, a 13-year-old youth bull rider from Empire, loves most. He has competed since he was four years old and has aspirations to become a professional rider in the years to come.

With the way things have transpired in the early part of Swanson’s career, he’s certainly on the right track. Swanson will take on the best riders in the world for the third straight year at the Youth Bull Riding World Finals from August 7-10 in Abilene, Texas.

“I’m just comfortable when I ride them,” Swanson said. “It’s hard but I like the rush when I’m riding. It’s what I want to do when I grow up.”

Starting his career at just four years old, Rowdy Swanson grew up at riding events and rodeos. His father Jarrel rode bulls for the later part of his teen years and was bringing his sons to rodeos as soon as they were old enough to go. It was there that Rowdy told his dad he wanted to start riding, and he hasn’t looked back. He started out riding sheep, moved up to riding calves and steer and will eventually move up to riding bulls when he comes of age.

“I support him in anything he wants to do, it just so happens that this is what he loves most,” Jarrel Swanson said. “It’s not an event you exactly want your kids involved in, but when they love it as much as Rowdy does and they’re that good, you can’t stop them.”

The four day finals event in August will be based on a points system created from the rankings of two judges after competitors ride the stock for eight seconds. Points are given on a scale of 1-25 for the rider and stock, with the top possible score at 100. As of now, Swanson’s top score is an 87. The competition will come from all over, including riders from Australia, Brazil, Mexico and around the United States. About 75-80 riders will make up the field in Swanson’s age group.

Success on the steer is nothing new for Rowdy Swanson, who recently earned a saddle, the award for the top scoring member in each youth bull riding association. By placing in the top two of his riding association this year, Swanson qualified for the event for the first time after being invited the two years before.

His passion for riding is clear in the time he spends working on his craft, as Swanson attends rodeo and riding camps every year.

“We’re always trying to put him around people who know the event best,” Jarrel Swanson said. “We want him to learn as much as he can because of how committed he is.”

The Swansons received a scare that they thought would jeopardize Rowdy’s riding career in May, when a basketball injury led to a fractured hip. The family had initially been told he had bulging discs in his back, something that could have put a hold on Rowdy’s dreams.

But injuries have never stopped Rowdy. When he was younger, Swanson broke his right arm but was back at it the next day, predominantly using his left arm to ride with a cast on his right.

“If you weren’t sure how much he loved doing it, that says it all,” Jarrel Swanson said. “He didn’t fare too well because that’s something he had never done before, but it just showed how much he enjoys riding.”

Rowdy hasn’t been able to compete since suffering the hip injury, making the return to the stadium even more exciting than usual. He can start competing next month at the Texas Youth Bullriders Finals.

“I just want it to be July already,” Rowdy Swanson said.

After not faring as well as he wanted to at last year’s Youth World Finals, the stakes will be raised in 2013.

“I didn’t do great last year because I didn’t have a great steer,” Rowdy Swanson said. “I think I’ll be able to do a lot better this year.”

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Demons take two from Del City

    The Duncan baseball team swept a doubleheader at Del City Tuesday.
    The Demons won the first game 13-0. Dylan Zawicki got his fourth win of the season. Duncan got two-run singles from Mason Hightower, Hunter Phillips and Collin Klingensmith. Scott Cooper and Zawicki each had one RBI.

    April 16, 2014

  • 4-16 Central High 2.jpg Bronchos survive Fletcher

    Coach Jeff Jones realized he made a mistake after Tuesday’s 8-7 win at home versus Fletcher.
    He saw that his freshman pitcher, Dylan Jones, was struggling but he still hoped that the Bronchos could finish off the win with him on the mound. Jones had only given up one run in six full innings. Why shouldn’t the coach stick with him?

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Girls tennis tops at Guthrie

    The Duncan girls tennis team won a tournament hosted by Guthrie in Oklahoma City Tuesday.
    The tournament was moved from Monday because of weather. It didn’t affect the Demons, as they reached the finals in all four divisions and won three.

    April 16, 2014

  • 4-16 duncan soccer photo.jpg Soccer teams do well despite losses to Antlers

    Although the Duncan soccer teams didn’t score a goal against Deer Creek Tuesday at home, the coaches liked how the teams played against a tough opponent.
    The boys particularly made it tough on the Antlers in a 2-0 loss. Duncan kept Deer Creek off balance had plenty of opportunities to scores, but couldn’t finish shots.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Golfers sixth at Fort Sill

    Windy conditions made it difficult on the Duncan boys golf team at the Class 5A state preview tournament at Fort Sill Monday.
    “It was a rough day on everybody,” said Demon coach Lindy Welborn. “I’m betting (the golfers) were concerned more with how they were going to get warm than what the’d get out of their next shot.”

    April 16, 2014

  • 4-16 Obit Glenna Gray.jpg Glenna L. Gray

    Glenna L. Gray, 67 of Oklahoma City a former long time Duncan resident passed away Friday, April 11, 2014, at her home in Oklahoma City.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-15 connor kelly signing photo.jpg Kelly headed to Southeastern

    Duncan senior Connor Kelly signed Monday to play football for Southeastern Oklahoma University.
    Kelly, who played quarterback and defensive back for the Demons, considered several options before joining his father Kevin’s alma mater. Connor Kelly is also a standout wrestler and hurdler for the Demons.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Demon home game becomes road doubleheader

    The Duncan baseball team will head to Del City for a doubleheader Tuesday after its scheduled home Monday game was postponed.
    Demon coach Tim Hightower said Del City had some transportation issues that kept the Eagles from making it to Duncan. Snow in Del City delayed school buses and one would not have been available to bring the players to Duncan until between 4:30 and 5 p.m. That would mean delaying the start time of Monday’s game until later in the evening, when it would have been cold.

    April 15, 2014

  • 4-15 Cooper Phillips Phillips’ pitching gives CHS hope in loss

    In a 4-0 loss Saturday, No. 11 Central High stood toe to toe with No. 4 Sterling in the Jake Leffler Wooden Bat Tournament final.
    Sophomore Cooper Phillips pitched a complete game for the Bronchos (16-7), allowing just one earned run, five hits and no walks. Coach Jeff Jones said with the team’s usual production, the Bronchos could have won the game.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-15 duncan golf kayla witt.jpg Weather makes things tough at state preview

    Cold, windy conditions greeted players at the Class 5A state girls golf preview tournament at Duncan Golf and Tennis Club Monday.
    Duncan girls golf coach Steve Etheridge described the conditions as miserable. The golfers who came to experience the course that will be the site of the Class 5A state tournament didn’t have good scores because of the weather.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
AP Video
Poll

Who do you favor for the U.S. Senate seat that Tom Coburn is giving up?

State Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton
U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Edmond
State Sen. Connie Johnson, D-Oklahoma City
Former State Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso
     View Results