By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – With the postseason on the line on Sunday morning, someone had to step up for Team Boot Barn or Team South Point with the final playoff spot up for grabs at the Monster Energy Team Challenge, presented by U.S. Border Patrol.
Fittingly, it was Team Boot Barn’s captain Daylon Swearingen putting his teammates on his back and carrying them to a 155-0 victory over Team South Point (3-3), clinching the final playoff for Championship Weekend on July 10-12 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
“I knew I had to step up and do what I need to be doing,” Swearingen told PBR.com on Sunday. “I hadn’t been doing that here. I knew I had to ride these bulls and do what I know how to do already and it would all work out.”
Team Boot Barn (3-2-1) will take on Team Las Vegas (4-2) in the first round of the playoffs on July 10 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in front of fans.
“It is going to be tough, but at the end of the day we have to beat the bulls before we can beat the guys,” Swearingen said.
Boot Barn will be there thanks to Swearingen’s Sunday morning heroics.
Swearingen started the play-in game vs. Team South Point at the Pendleton Whisky Let ‘Er Buck Saloon at South Point Arena with a 69.75-point effort on Probably Wrong. He then inched his team forward with an 82.25-point ride on Sniper, and it was all Team Boot Barn needed to reach the postseason as Team South Point went 0-for-6.
“The first bull was a younger bull they haven’t really rode a bunch, and he just didn’t want to keep bucking after I was on him for a little while, so he jumped out of it,” Swearingen said. “I got a re-ride option, but I kind of had a bad get off and my hip started bothering me. I didn’t take my re-ride because I was just a little sore, and I knew Andrew had a really good one, and so did everybody else on the team.
“The second bull kind of did the same thing. He was really good for five seconds and then jumped out of it. But it all worked out at the end of the day.”
It was a tough defeat for Team South Point, which lost Shane Proctor for the second half because of a previous right SI joint sprain. Proctor has been the lifeline for Team South Point, and he aggravated the injury Sunday when Holy Water bucked him off in 7.48 seconds.
Team South Point began the weekend as the No. 2 team in Division B before spiraling out of control in Las Vegas. South Point fell into a 1-for-18 slump and went 1-2 as Team Boot Barn went 2-0-1 to leapfrog them in the standings.
Swearingen – the No. 4-ranked bull rider in the PBR world standings – went 5-for-12 for Team Boot Barn in six games, but it was adding Andrew Alvidrez this weekend that proved to be a major difference maker.
Alvidrez was a jolt of energy to Team Boot Barn and went 3-for-5 to help jumpstart Boot Barn on its postseason run. However, Alvidrez was unable to finish the game Sunday when Buckin for Cash bucked him off in 3.45 seconds, which led to Alvidrez aggravating a sore left groin as he caught his spur in his bull rope.
“It was really big,” Swearingen said. “It was good to have somebody that I picked right in the beginning. Especially with Andrew, we both went out to (General Manager) J.B. Mauney’s ranch and worked with him. Just being around J.B. helps you. Definitely. I know Andrew has been working at it, and he loves this sport, and I am thankful to have him and everyone else on this team.”
Alvidrez expects to be ready for Sioux Falls despite the groin injury.
“It was hurting yesterday after my third bull,” Alvidrez told PBR.com. “And today I really would have loved to push through the pain, but I know how Braden (Richardson) rides. Regardless of how he performed this weekend, I know it just takes one ride. And I believed in Braden today, and I still believe in him for South Dakota.
“I will 100% be there. This groin can hurt any day it wants, but it will not hurt me in S.D. I will be ready.”
Swearingen is going to stop in to see Dr. Tandy Freeman Monday in Texas to have his hip looked at, but he believes it is nothing too serious.
The Piffard, New York, native wants to make sure everything is good to go before he heads out on the rodeo trail for Cowboy Christmas.
“I got some problems with my hip, and he wants to make sure it is nothing serious,” Swearingen said. “I think it is more some wear and tear than anything else.”
Swearingen is entered in six rodeos during the Fourth of July run – Prescott, Arizona; Cody, Wyoming; Oakley City, Utah; Mandan, North Dakota; Bigfork, Montana; and Weatherford, Texas.
“I feel better when I am sharp and getting on bulls,” Swearingen said. “I am a little sore right now. Once I work that soreness out, I just keep getting on bulls and keep bettering myself every time.”
Swearingen then will turn his focus back toward leading Team Boot Barn to a Monster Energy Team Championship inside the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.
The winner of the Team Boot Barn vs. Team Las Vegas first-round game will take on Division B winner Team Pendleton Whisky on July 11.
The Championship Game of the METC is slated for July 12 and will air live on CBS national television at 1:30 p.m. ET.
“We can definitely do it,” Swearingen said. “We just have to work together and do what we know we can do.”
Professional Bull Riders – Team Challenge – Game 35
Las Vegas, NV, 2020
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. Daylon Swearingen, 69.75-82.25-152.00
Andrew Alvidrez, 0-0-0.00
Cody Nance, 0-0-0.00
JC Mortensen, 0-0-0.00
Braden Richardson, 0-0-0.00
Shane Proctor, 0-0-0.00
Denton Fugate, 0-0-0.00
Aaron Pass, 0-0-0.00
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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