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Meet the Member Dre Swain
by Michele Toberer
Louisiana High School Rodeo Association was the perfect place for Dre Swain to get his start in rodeo. Growing up in Lake Charles, Louisiana with his parents Carolyn and Ronald Swain, Dre remembers a black Thoroughbred gelding simply called “Black” as his first horse when he was two-years-old, but until he was 14, and had moved to LeBleu Settlement, Louisiana, rodeo was not part of his life. His parents built a house on their land, and that is when rodeo kicked off for the Swain family, as Dre joined the LHSRA and started competing in calf roping on his new horse Breezy. The best thing about rodeo, and the LHSRA is that there are always seasoned rodeo folks ready to share their skills with the newcomers, and thanks to Eujene King, and the Cormier and Brashear families, Dre was instantly in reach of a multitude of lessons when it came to rodeo. On a quick path, with lots of help to learn about calf and team roping, Dre began competing in the LHSRA as a freshman in 2014.
“I told my parents I wanted to start riding bulls, but they were hesitant because of the injuries that could happen.” That changed for Dre because of a bet made with his dad at a team roping practice at the Brashears’ arena. All he had to do was ride a team roping steer to the end of the arena without falling off, and his dad would allow Dre to try bull riding. “It was hard, but I held on the whole way, and when I got off I had the biggest smile on my face, because I knew I had just earned the opportunity to ride!” Dre, actually Ronald Deondre Swain but called Dre as a nickname, was then helped by the Stelly family, who not only helped the young cowboy learn about riding bulls, but also helped him with travel to rodeos. “it was strange, because I rode close to 30 bulls before I ever got bucked off, and that gave my parents some confidence that I actually had talent for bull riding.” Bull riding became a focus for Dre, and he received help from professional bull rider, Jordan Sammons, as well as Coach Browning from the McNeese State University rodeo team, who would let him practice with the team on Wednesday nights. Dre’s first year entering bull riding in LHSRA he qualified for state finals as well as nationals, and the family was thrilled with the attention he was receiving from college coaches while he was competing as a junior at the NHSFR in Wyoming. However, a Wednesday night practice at the beginning of his senior year changed the course of his rodeo aspirations once again. “It was the first practice I ever went to by myself, and a bull knocked me out, I don’t remember anything from that situation.” Dre took some time off from riding, and after getting on bulls again, had accidents causing two more concussions within a two-month period. After the third bull he got on his senior year, he told his dad, he was hanging up his bull rope and was going to focus on his calf and team roping instead. Dre’s senior year he qualified for LHSRA state finals in calf roping, using a horse named Grey, owned by Brian Broussard; and in team roping, heeling for Kolbie Brashear.
Since recently graduating, Dre works for Vyve Broadband; a cable company like his father recently retired from. Now that Dre has his own arena on the family’s property, he spends much of his time working with his 11-year-old grey gelding, Macho. “He’s a great heel horse, and he is starting to really do his job on the calf roping side.” As Dre looks to his future goals of building a house on his own property while continuing to rodeo, he can’t help but look back to what got him here. “I’m so thankful for my parents support, they sacrificed a lot for me to get through all of the rodeo seasons. LHSRA was amazing, getting to travel every weekend and making what I’d call rodeo family, everyone is there for each other whenever you need them.”