Swaffield slays 2019/20 season

The 2019-20 Alberta High School Rodeo season was anything but normal, but in the end, Brooke Swaffield ended a season the way she had two times before — as provincial barrel racing champion. Swaffield won the 2020 Alberta barrel racing title at the Alberta High School Rodeo Finals in Stettler, June 18 to 21.

Swaffield previously won the B.C. provincial junior barrel racing title and the B.C. Barrel Racing championship her first year in senior rodeo during the 2017-18 season, before switching to Alberta for her final two high school rodeo years.

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In addition to her strong race times, Swaffield was also the reserve Alberta reserve pole bending champion, the Alberta Reserve All Around Cowgirl, and finished fourth in goat tying. Not bad at all, considering the rodeo almost didn’t take place.

“It was really fun, and I’m just glad I was able to finish my year off,” Swaffield said. “Everyone had to sign a waver to compete, and they held one event in the morning and one event in the evening for four days. Every time an event finished you had to leave the grounds, and they did a pretty good job."

High school rodeo was unable to return in B.C., but the Dawson Creek resident benefited from being a part of the Albertan association. Swaffield is looking to take the momentum from her success this year across the border, when she moves to Levelland, Texas. She will be attending South Plains College on a full-ride rodeo scholarship for the 2020-21 season.

Swaffield said she will be allowed to cross the Canadian-American border with her student visa and can bring one guardian with her. She plans to leave August 13. Swaffield is confident there will still be a rodeo season, as Texas has been holding high school and professional rodeos the last month or so, but acknowledges it may be a different season than normal.

New Mexico colleges also compete in the same conference as the Texas ones, but have not allowed for rodeos to take place right now, and it remains to be seen how that will affect things at South Plains College.

“Competing in college rodeo has been a dream of mine, going to experience and compete against different people, meet new people, and be in a whole other country. I’m excited to be able to practice every day and have good weather,” Swaffield said.

She said she’ll have her trusty horse Smarty with her, and will be competing in barrel racing, goat tying, and breakaway roping. She will be studying business administration, going for her bachelors degree.

Due to her strong Alberta finals showing, Swaffield qualified for both the 2020 National High School Finals Rodeo in Guthrie, Oklahoma, and the 2021 Cowboy Channel NFR Jr. in Fort Worth, Texas. The turn around to compete in Oklahoma will be too tight, but Swaffield plans to compete at the NFR Jr., March 2 to 6.

“I’m just excited to meet new people, to have a change, and there are new opportunities there for what I’ve been doing my whole life.”

Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca.

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