By Heather Miner
Stephenville, Texas, transplant Jackie Crawford was the final breakaway roper standing on March 6 in Arlington, Texas, in the Shootout championship. Stopping the clock in 2.26 seconds after just two swings, Crawford earned a check for $100,000, a staggering amount compared to the typical purses in the sport.
Riding 8-year-old gelding Peppin Up My Step, called Kevin, Crawford was the only roper of the final four to post a clean time. Kelsi Domer broke the barrier while Sammy Taylor and Harley Pryor had no catches.
Crawford is accustomed to winning, no matter the circumstances. She was the first woman to reach $50,000 in the WCRA, win a PRCA World Championship, win a round in the NFBR and one of the first four to qualify for The American in its inaugural year. Only one WPRA member, the late Wanda Bush Harper, has more world championships than Crawford’s 20. One of those titles came in 2020 while Crawford was 38 years old and six months pregnant with her third child.
Since joining the WPRA in 2006, the Hall of Fame Inductee has career earnings of over $600,000, almost $50,000 of which came in 2021. In a sport with high overhead, low purses make professional competition challenging. By contrast, the tie-down roping champion at The American, Caleb Smidt, has been a pro for six fewer years, three world championships, and has career earnings of over $1.7 million. Additionally, breakaway roping is not a standard event at PRCA rodeos, leaving only one event, barrels, for women.
Breakaway Roping Advocate
Throughout Crawford’s career, she has been an advocate for inclusion of breakaway roping as a standard at PRCA rodeos. The organization added breakaway back to the WNFR in 2020 for the first time since 1959. However, it was at a separate event from the rest of the rodeo.
Teaching other riders and ropers is another passion of Crawford’s. She and husband, Charly, also a decorated roper, host clinics and train horses. Jackie taught step daughter, Kaydence, age 17, the family business. The mother-daughter duo train, travel and compete together, including at The American, where Kaydence posted times of 2.17 and 2.2. Kaydence won the Contender round but was knocked out of the rest of the competition.
Despite the long list of wins in her career, this was the Illinois native’s first win at The American. Following the buckle presentation, Crawford exclaimed, “I finally got it. I finally got it,” while pointing at the award. “Holy cow, I’m shaking. This is awesome.”
About the Author
Heather Miner is a freelance writer who loves to dabble in a variety of jobs and hobbies, but horses have been a mainstay since her first memories. Growing up, she participated in countless rodeos and parades as part of a specialty act drill team she later coached for over 20 years. Participating twice in the WNFR as part of the Snake River Stampeders Night Light Drill Team was a tremendous thrill and accomplishment.
Living in Southern Idaho with her husband, their daughter, and an ever-changing menagerie of critters offers daily adventures. The family loves camping and exploring outdoor opportunities in their area and afar. Heather also enjoys her attempts at gardening, learning to play guitar, volunteering for the local library (to get a line on the best books, of course!), yoga, sewing, mountain biking, fixing up their 100 year old farm house and refinishing furniture.