by Chris Dize
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When Daylon Swearingen was planning his return to bull riding after two surgeries, he was hoping to return in time for the West of the Pecos Rodeo in Pecos, Texas.

“I really like Pecos,” Swearingen said. “It’s a cool, old-school rodeo and the people are all very nice.”

The West of the Pecos is billed as the World’s First Rodeo and has been contested every year since 1883. The rodeo now carries a very modern purse and is a stop on the ProRodeo Tour, making it a must stop for cowboys and cowgirls including Swearingen.

Swearingen has won here before and earned a second victory after posting 90-point ride aboard Macza Pro Rodeo’s Ugly Wish to split with Gavin Michel.

Swearingen didn’t know much about his draw prior to arriving in Texas but relied upon information from his hauling partner.

“I’ve been traveling with Riley Gagnon, who’s Canadian and knew him because he’s a Canadian bull,” Swearingen said. “He said he was really good. I was thankful to get a good bull drawn there.”

“He really left out of there and I was a bit behind, but I got caught up,” Swearingen said. “Then he was just around to the left.”

Swearingen earned $3,656, his first check of the 2021 season which only began a couple weeks ago for the transplanted Texan who grew up on the East Coast. Swearingen underwent surgery on his right shoulder in November and then on his right hip in February.

“I tore my rotator cuff, the labrum and some tendons,” Swearingen said of the shoulder injury. He finished the 2020 season ranked 21st after making his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2019. “Dr. Tandy (Freeman) fixed that and then I went, and they scoped the hip.”

Extensive rehab followed and Swearingen got on a few practice bulls before returning to ProRodeo competition in Cleburne, Texas in early June.

“I’m feeling pretty good but I kind of pulled my groin there at Pecos,” Swearingen said.

He competed in Springdale, Ark., the night before Pecos and noted that the long drive had him a bit sore from the hours in the car.

“I’m a little sore right now so I turned out for a few days,” Swearingen said, noting he is considering resting up instead of hitting a busy Fourth of July schedule in preparation for Calgary.

The Calgary Stampede begins July 9 and will be another stop on the ProRodeo Tour. For Swearingen, the huge potential payday at Calgary could go a long way to help him catch up from missing half the season.

The talented Swearingen has also competed in bareback and saddle bronc riding in the past and is considering a return to bareback riding after he’s healed up.

“I enjoy bareback riding and I think it helps me moving my feet, so I’d like to eventually get back into it,” Swearingen said.

But for now, staying healthy is the priority.

“Everything is connected to the hip surgery in February,” he said. “So, I don’t want to push too much and mess that up.”

Several arena records fell during the 2021 West of the Pecos Rodeo including in the saddle bronc riding where Brody Cress’ 89 points aboard Macza Pro Rodeo’s OLS Tubs Get Smart was half a point better than the previous record held by Tegan Smith at 88.5 points.

Team ropers Lane Ivy and Kirby Blankenship broke the arena record in the second go round with a 5.0 second run. The previous record was 5.4 seconnds set by David Key/Martin Lucero in 2015.

The average record also fell in the team roping. Previously set at 12.7 seconds. it was bested in 2021 by the co-champions Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp and Clint Summers/Ross Ashford. The old mark was set by Jared Standridge/Jory Levy in 2005.

Cole Patterson’s 34.4 second average time on three head in the steer roping also set a new mark, besting the previous record of 35.7 seconds set by the legend, Guy Allen in 1998.

Other winners at the $220,139 rodeo were all-around cowboy Taylor Santos ($4,996 in tie down and steer roping); bareback rider Kaycee Feild (91.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket); steer wrestler Tanner Milan (8.7 seconds on two head); team ropers Clint Summers and Ross Ashford and Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp (12.4 seconds on two head); saddle bronc rider Brody Cress (89 points on Macza Pro Rodeo’s OLS Tubs Get Smart); tie-down ropers Charlie Gibson and Rhen Richard (18.0 seconds on two head each); barrel racer Nellie Miller (17.38 seconds); steer roper Cole Patterson (34.3 seconds on three head); and bull riders Swearingen and Gavin Michel (90 points on Macza Pro Rodeo’s Ugly Wish and Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Curley Bill, respectively).

Article Courtesy of PRCA 

Photo by: Robby Freeman

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