A youngster from Piffard, New York, turned heads during his debut at the First Frontier Circuit Finals over the weekend in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Eighteen-year-old Daylon Swearingen rode out of the finals with titles in bull riding and the all-around, as well as a spot in his first RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo (RNCFR) this spring.
Although the finals itself was a new experience, Swearingen started off the first round with a familiar draw in the bareback.
“I was pretty excited, I had a good horse,” said Swearingen of the Rawhide Rodeo Company horse. “My dad is actually a stock contractor and I had a young horse of his, 'Tea Time 144.' It’s a horse that I won the first day of the Coy Lutz Memorial on . . . it’s a 4- or 5-year-old now so it’s a pretty young horse but it was always my favorite.”
The title in the bareback went to high-money earner Tim Kent, who won the most combined money between the regular season and finals, and the average went to James Carter with 237 points on three head. While Swearingen didn’t win either of these titles, he placed in all three rounds and won second in the average for a total of $4,980.
But he wasn’t done yet.
Shifting gears from the first event of the rodeo to the last, Swearingen saw success in the bull riding early on when he jumped out and won the first round with a score of 86 points on Painted Pony Championship Rodeo’s "Parker." He also split third and fourth in the second round and won second in the average behind Mike Adams, earning enough money to win the bull riding title for the circuit.
The success in two events earned the cowboy over $10,000 over the weekend and meant Swearingen’s name went next to one of the most coveted titles in rodeo: the all-around title.
This much success is a huge feat for anyone competing in their first year at a circuit finals, and now he’s planning his preparation for an even larger battle as he goes up against the best competitors from each of the twelve circuits at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo.
“I’m going to the IFR this weekend and then we’re just going to hit some circuit rodeos and keep getting on and staying healthy,” said Swearingen, who qualified in both of his events for the International Finals Rodeo.
“I work out quite a bit, so I’ll just keep working out and do a bit of yoga, stuff like that. I do a lot of mental preparation, as we travel we listen to 'Psycho-Cybernetics' and I also have 'The Secret' and stuff off of YouTube as well.”
The average winners of each of the 12 circuit finals, plus the year-end winners from each circuit, earn a berth to the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Florida, this spring.
Here are some other competitors who have now earned their ticket to the RNCFR:
- Barrel racer Christina Mulford — who earned the maximum amount a single-event competitor could earn by winning all three rounds and the average with her time on three of 44.24 seconds — took home a check for $9,045. Mulford also took home the year-end title for the most money won in the barrel racing during the regular-season and finals.
- Joe Brown won the steer wrestling year-end title and the average with a time of 16.5 seconds on three head. Brown won the first round, placed second in round two, and split second in the third round to take home a total of $7,788.00 to combine with his regular-season earnings.
- Joe Farren took home the average title as the only saddle bronc rider to ride all three of his broncs. With a combined score on three head of 230 points he won the average, second in rounds one and two, and first place in round three for a total of $7,739. Ray Hostetler was the year-end champion for the event.
In the team roping Rob Toth and Shawn Quinn took home the year-end title while Eric Fabian and Jake Edwards — who were 18.2 seconds on three head — won the average. Tie-down roper Carmine Nastri was 34.2 seconds on three head to win the average and $6,281 over the weekend, but it was JR Myers who was the top earner between the season and finals to win the year-end title.
The First Frontier Circuit includes rodeos in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Find full results from the First Frontier Circuit Finals on prorodeo.com