Top Performer: Jimi Dawn Swallow

Perhaps the greatest stories in sports are not about simply the all-time greats, but instead about the ones who got a raw deal in life yet were able to make the best out of their situation.

One cowgirl from Western South Dakota had to overcome great odds in her pursuit to qualify for the National High School Finals Rodeo.

Jimi Dawn Swallow from Buffalo Gap has been involved in the sport of rodeo since she was very young.

In fact, its fair to say she’s carrying on a family tradition.

“My dad rodeoed all his life,” Jimi Dawn Swallow said. “My mom rodeoed all her life. It’s just a lifestyle to me. My brother, he’s a pro rodeo bareback rider.”

However, this past year has been very tough for Swallow. She’s had to deal with two tragic events in her life including the loss of her father.

“A year ago, I lost my dad and it was really hard for me,” Swallow said. “He was always right there when I would ride in through the arena gate. It’s been hard to overcome it. But I’m getting there. Then I lost my main horse and had to start all over again with a new one. We’re getting there. She’s getting me there so.”

But it was Swallow’s love and passion for rodeo, that helped her overcome the difficult challenges in her life.

“Rodeo has helped me a lot,” Swallow said. “Rodeo gets my minds off of things. I can have a bad day and I can go hop on my horse and my mind’s cleared. So rodeo is a big big thing to me. I love rodeoing. I’ll probably never stop rodeoing.”

This fall, Swallow will attend Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas where she plans to go into sports medicine and physical therapy.

But she says rodeo will always be a part of her life.

“I love everything about rodeoing,” Swallow added. “There’s not too much to it.  I just love it. It’s a lifestyle to me. Not really a hobby.”

Congratulations to Jimi Dawn Swallow for being named a NewsCenter 1 Top Performer.

This past weekend, Swallow competed in the South Dakota High School Finals Rodeo and tied for third place overall in the barrel racing.

Swallow will now advance to the National High School Finals Rodeo coming up in July in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Categories: High School, Top Performer