Things didn’t start well for Daylon Swearingen at the Unleash the Beast 2022 PBR World Finals XXIX when a pesky bull named Lil 2 Train bucked him off at 5.22 seconds.
Swearingen didn’t dwell on his first-round troubles.
“I wasn’t worried,” he said. “I knew there were a lot more rounds here. I knew it was close and I knew I had to make everything else count.”
The 22-yard-old rebounded with five consecutive qualified rides to notch a pair of prestigious titles Sunday at Dickies Arena.
Swearingen, a Piffard, New York, native who now makes his home in Sulphur Springs, claimed both his first World Finals title (539.75 points) and first world championship (1,717.49). He added those titles to high school, college, and Canadian championships.
When Swearingen realized he had won the world championship he said “it didn’t seem real.” His previous best finish in the finals was 12th in 2020.
“There were a lot of emotions,” he said. “If people hadn’t been hugging me, I don’t think I would have gotten so emotional.”
Minutes before his last ride on Sunday, arena entertainer Flint Rasmussen joked that Swearingen was competing with a taped-up right boot.
Buying a new pair of boots shouldn’t be a problem for Swearingen considering the two titles garnered him a combined $1.394 million.
“I didn’t want to change anything up,” he said about the boots. “Those boots were working. I tried on another pair but they just didn’t fit the same, so I kept these.”
Swearingen’s final ride Sunday lasted 2.05 seconds as Mike’s Magic sent him crashing to the dirt but it was all academic by then as he had already wrapped up both titles.
Saturday night’s ride was a different story as disaster nearly struck.
Swearingen appeared to be in trouble 6 seconds into his ride on Satan’s Seed when he found himself parallel with the dirt but he managed to right himself to finish the ride and tally a score of 87.75 points.
The ride allowed Swearingen to keep his streak of qualified rides going and helped him retain his overall lead heading into the final day.
“I got some momentum going and when you have momentum here it is everything,” he said.
Cody Jesus, from Window Rock, Arizona, placed second in the finals with 530 points. Brazil’s Kaique Pacheco finished third with 469.75 but placed second in the world championship standings with 1,275 points.
Ridin Solo won the 2022 World Champion Bull honors and a $100,000 check for his owners Cord McCoy and Bill McCarty.