Ladies breakaway winner uses homework to qualify

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Breakaway roper Danielle Lowman catches her calf Sunday during a qualifying event for the RDF-TV’s The American at the 97th Annual Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial. Lowman finished fourth overall and earned her ticket to the Semi-Finals of the event.


With ladies breakaway roping gaining status as an event with the RFD-TV’s The American, Nicole Sweazea studied all her draws to get qualified.

Sweazea did her homework as she emerged as the event winner by roping three draws in 10.87 seconds in The American qualifying event at the 97th Annual Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial on Sunday afternoon.

“I just tried to use the calves that I had because luckily they drew the calves right away so that everyone knew what calves they had,” Sweazea said. “I just tried to make a plan beforehand for each run.”

Sweazea said she didn’t think twice about making the trip from her hometown of Las Cruces.

“There is so much money up for grabs between the semifinals and the American that it would be crazy not to,” she said. “If you do well enough in the semifinals you get a chance to compete on TV.”

Information on the dates for the semifinals was not available but the event will take place at Cowtown Coliseum. The winners will advance to The American, which is schedule for March 2 to 3, 2019, at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Sweazea said she was late on her first two runs as some of her calves ran a bit stronger, but she stayed the course.

“Overall I think I played it smart,” she said. “I stayed off the barrier to where I didn’t get a plus-10 and I got all my calves down.”

After those two runs, she entered the short round as the high-callback with an aggregate of 6.21 seconds, ahead of Gilbert, Arizona, cowgirl Danielle Lowman, who recorded two runs in 6.56 seconds.

With Lowman missing her short-round draw, Sweazea said that relieved some pressure but to seal the deal she needed to get her calf roped.

Lowman said she would love to have that short-round run back and in hindsight she would have taken a different approach.

“I probably would have taken one more swing,” she said. “I would probably have won it or taken second but I am pretty grateful that I qualified for the semifinals.”

With some aggressive ropers taking part, Lowman said there were some contestants taking a chance at the scoreline, hoping to push the barrier without breaking it.

“If you can get out good you want to rope them quick,” she said.

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Categories: Rodeo

About Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at