VERNON (KFDX/KJTL) — Swaize Lee will be the first female head rodeo coach for Vernon College and the second female head rodeo coach in the Southwest Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.
“It was just a position for me to step up and move forward, and I was ready to get back into Texas,” Lee said. “I thought it was a great place to be, and everyone’s been super supportive and made me feel at home.”
Originally from Brownfield, Texas, Lee attended New Mexico Junior College before transferring to Texas Tech in the fall of 2018.
While in school, she was named Female Athlete of the Year and earned a 2020 NIRA National Reserve Championship Women’s Team title, as well as many other awards.
“We have the National Finalist Breakaway Roping Contest now, and that’s a big deal now,” Lee said. “It’s really growing our sport, and I think it’s just another job for a woman to step into.”
In 2020, Lee started her coaching career as an assistant rodeo coach at New Mexico Junior College. She starts at Vernon College as head coach in June and has already started recruiting talent for the 2022-2023 VC Rodeo Team.
“After I took the position, HR called and said, ‘Hey, just want to let you know you’re the first woman coach at Vernon College,'” Lee said. “That’s cool and that’s neat to be a part of history, but I have a job to do, so I’m ready to settle down.”
When she’s not coaching, Lee raises and trains her own horses for competition.
“I’d always been interested in rodeo; I’ve done it almost 20 years,” Lee said. “I’ve always had kids over at my house, and even my own peers that come over rope. I found a passion coaching them and helping them, now I get paid to do it. That’s my dream job.”
As for this rodeo season, this gal is ready.
“I think it’s going to be a great place to grow a team,” Lee said. “Overall, the kids seem super excited to be here. You’re coming for an education first, but you get to rodeo on top of that, so who can beat that.”