Rowdy Swanson: Oklahoma State University Bull Rider Killed in Accident at 20 Years Old

Rowdy Swanson Dead

Facebook/Rowdy Swanson Rowdy Swanson pictured in August 2019.

Rowdy Swanson, a 20-year-old bull rider in Oklahoma State University’s team, has died in an accident, his coach, Cody Hollingsworth confirmed.

The tweet from Hollingsworth read, “With a heavy and aching heart, I am saddened to announce that the OSU Rodeo Team has lost one of our own, Rowdy Swanson. He was a big part of our rodeo family and he will be missed immensely. Our thoughts are with the Swanson family at this time.”

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Swanson Was Competing in Mineral Wells, Texas, When He Was Killed

Rowdy Swanson death video

Facebook/Rowdy Swanson

A statement from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association said that Swanson was killed on September 17 after being injured while competing in Palo Pinto County Livestock Association’s PRCA Rodeo in Mineral Wells, Texas. The PRCA CEO George Taylor said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Rowdy Swanson at the ProRodeo in Mineral Wells, Texas. The hearts of the entire rodeo community go out to Rowdy’s family in this tragic time. We will continue to keep Rowdy and his family in our thoughts and prayers.” The statement said that Swanson was thrown off of a bull named Gritty. He was a member of the PRCA.


2. Swanson Was Studying Animal Science at Oklahoma State University

Rowdy Swanson Facebook page

Facebook/Jeff Swanson

Swanson was a native of Duncan, Oklahoma, and was studying animal science at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. Swanson attended Empire High School in Duncan. In his senior year, Swanson played both football and baseball. In 2018, Swanson was part of the Empire Bulldogs baseball team that won a district title for the first time in 15 years.


3. At Age 12, Swanson Was Already Suffering Injuries From His Bull Riding Exploits

Rowdy Swanson Twitter

Twitter/Rowdy Swanson

When Swanson was 12 years old, his bull riding exploits were covered by Duncan Banner. His mother told the newspaper, “He doesn’t say much but when he gets on a bull you don’t know it’s the same kid. He’s so aggressive when he rides.” She added, “It’s not for every kid, but it’s definitely for him.”

Swanson was quoted once in the article as saying, “I just like to ride.” Swanson competed in the World Youth Bull Riding Competition in 2010. His mother told the Duncan Banner that at 12, Swanson had already suffered injuries such as bruises and even broken bones. She said, “He’s a tough little boy.”


4. Swanson Addressed the Christian Students in His High School During 2017’s See You at the Pole

Rowdy Swanson mom

Facebook/Rowdy Swanson

In October 2017, Swanson addressed his high school’s See You at the Pole group. See You at the Pole is a student Christian movement that sees students gather around flag poles to hold hands and pray.

According to the Baptist Messenger, Swanson “talked about fixing eyes on Jesus, using the illustration of Peter walking on water in Matthew 14.”


5. On the Night of Swanson’s Death, His Girlfriend Tweeted: ‘My Biggest Nightmare Came True Tonight’

Rowdy Swanson girlfriend

Twitter/Rowdy Swanson

On the night of Swanson’s death, his girlfriend tweeted, “My biggest nightmare came true tonight.” Later, she tweeted photos of the couple together while writing, “I keep trying to make sense of it but it just doesn’t. I love you so much rowdy.” According to Swanson’s Facebook page, the couple has been together since July 2019.

Bull riding writer Kendra Santos paid tribute to Swanson in an Instagram post that read, “Our rodeo family has gained another bull riding angel.” Another friend tweeted, “It doesn’t matter what stage you are in life, every day is a blessing. Death shouldn’t be the realization of knowing that. Hug your loved ones tight & forever cherish the life you live & the memories you make. Fly high Rowdy Swanson. You will be dearly missed but never forgotten.”

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