Me­gan Swayze

Af­ter de­cid­ing to get fo­cused and get se­ri­ous about win­ning, Swayze took the #1 spot in the Cinch Ladies Stand­ings and is cur­rently in sec­ond place.

Spin to Win Rodeo - - Ropers - By G.R. Schi­avino

Too Much Rop­ing?

Maybe a year and a half ago or two years ago I just de­cided to start re­fo­cus­ing on my team rop­ing. I’ve team roped my whole life, but it just kind of blended in with break­away and a bunch of other things, and now with life and job and all the other things my hus­band, Ryan, and I do, I don’t have time for all of it. So, I guess I’ve re­tired from break­away rop­ing and I’m just fo­cus­ing on the team rop­ing. I de­cided that I am tired of be­ing medi­ocre, so I set some pretty big goals and de­cided I’m go­ing to work on it and, af­ter a cou­ple years, things are fi­nally pulling to­gether and go­ing the way I want them to.

All in the Fam­ily

I grew up team rop­ing—from as long as I can re­mem­ber. My dad roped and my sis­ters and I both ju­nior rodeoed. My hus­band and his fam­ily rodeo, and then we have a farm and ranch and do all that. We spend a lot of time horse­back on the ranch.

Shar­ing the Rodeo Road

My hus­band used to bull­dog a lot in the PRCA and over time and with knee and shoul­der surg­eries, he’s not do­ing that any­more. He ac­tu­ally picks up rodeos for a stock con­trac­tor in the sum­mers, so, this time of year we’re go­ing to get busy with that and we share horses, so my rop­ing will kind of go on a when-I-can kind of ba­sis now. I’m also a full-time phar­ma­cist, and do direct mar­ket­ing when I’m on the road, so there’s that, too.

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It just got to where it was eas­ier. There’s a lot more peo­ple close by that I can team rope with in the evenings with­out try­ing to break­away by my­self and hav­ing to haul calves. It was more than I could han­dle. This way, I can run home, grab horses, meet ev­ery­body at the arena, and have peo­ple to prac­tice with. It’s helped a lot.

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The horses that we’re rop­ing on right now are horses that we raised. They’re out of an old mare that my hus­band used to bull­dog on and are half-brothers. We had to put that mare down about a yearand-a-half ago, so it’s kind of emo­tional. We’ve raised them and trained them and done ev­ery­thing with them, and it’s pretty neat do­ings to know that you’re rid­ing some­thing that you made. They’re 6 and 7, or maybe 7 and 8. My roan horse, the older horse, is the one I’ve won all my money on this year and he’s come a long ways in the last year. The younger one is just a lit­tle be­hind. He’s com­ing, but he needs more time. I went quite a bit on him last year. My roan horse got hurt and that one re­ally wasn’t ready, but he stepped up and went, and I won some money on him ev­ery­where I took him, so that was kind of cool.

Con­sis­tency is Key

I want my horse to be cor­rect and con­sis­tent. It doesn’t al­ways work out that way, but I want them to go and make the same trip ev­ery time. I’d like those same things for my­self, too. If I could just be a solid and con­sis­tent 7 or 8 run ev­ery time—plain old bor­ing—I would take it. I am con­stantly work­ing and lis­ten­ing and watch­ing videos, and do­ing things to help im­prove my­self to be bet­ter. That’s a con­stant process. It ab­so­lutely never stops.

Set­ting Your Sights

This year, my goal was to make the World Se­ries Fi­nale, which I did back in Jan­uary, so I got that ac­com­plished right off the bat. I qual­i­fied in the #9, but, now, I’d re­ally like to get qual­i­fied in a cou­ple other rop­ings to make it more worth the trip. That’s a work in progress, but I’m look­ing for­ward to it.

Tricks of the Trade

I used to be re­ally su­per­sti­tious, and that’s some­thing I worked very hard to get away from be­cause that’s a mind­set. It’s just tricks you play in your head, so I’ve tried to get away from things like that.

The Right Ropes

Up un­til last fall, I had used Cac­tus Mini-Mags for years and years, and I just felt like they weren’t re­ally last­ing long, so I’ve been play­ing around with dif­fer­ent ones. The Fast Back Mach III and Mach III Plusses are what I’ve been us­ing. And still the Mini-Mags and the Mag­nets, just a lit­tle bit.

I al­ways use a 3-strand head rope which is pretty un­usual. Most peo­ple don’t do that, but I just like how they feel a lot bet­ter than the 4- and the 5-strand ropes. Not too many peo­ple feel that way. But a lot of those 4 and 5-strand ropes have what I call a “raggy” feel that I just don’t care for much.

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