Without a Rodeo Limit, Fuel Prices are Hitting Breakaway Ropers HARD

With no guaranteed money or spot at the National Finals Rodeo in December, breakaway ropers are rodeoing on faith with diesel prices topping $6 per gallon on the spring California run.

Jackie Crawford with Breakaway Rope at 2021 NFBR in Las Vegas
Jackie Crawford at the 2021 National Finals of Breakaway Roping. | Jamie Arviso

We’re in California right now, getting ready to head to the Red Bluff Round-Up tomorrow—and with diesel fuel prices averaging over $6 per gallon in this state, being a breakaway roper isn’t for the faint of heart.

In the rig to California, we’re shoved in here like sardines with Kelsie Domer, Lari Dee Guy, Hope Thompson, Cheyenne Brittain and my two kids. 

Added Money

We’re so grateful for all of the rodeos adding the breakaway roping, but not all of them are doing it with equal money, which means our fuel costs are the same if not higher than everyone else. At the same time, we’re roping for less money at so many places we go.

On the California run, Oakdale added equal money, which was huge and so appreciated. But we’re going to Red Bluff next that’s got $5,000 added in the breakaway compared to the $20,000 added in the barrels, and then Clovis with $12,500 added in the breakaway and $25,000 added in the barrel racing. I don’t want to gripe about it—these rodeos came up with a big chunk of change the first year. These are just the realistic challenges we’re facing right now as breakaway ropers in ProRodeo.

No Rodeo Count Limit

In addition to the equal money struggle right now, breakaway ropers are also faced with the unique challenge of not having a rodeo limit on the season. While other events can’t count more than 60 or 75 rodeos, we don’t have a limit to the number we can count toward our world standings. With the growth of the sport, we can’t plan out our year because big rodeos could add breakaway with a lot of money toward the end of the season.

If we had limits on our rodeo count, we could go to smaller, lesser added money rodeos at the beginning of the year, only to find out later that a bigger rodeo added breakaway late in the season with more money—and we’d be out of luck to go to it. The WPRA can’t put a limit on our rodeo count until all the rodeos have breakaway so we can really plan out a year. That means that, for now, we’re going to every single rodeo we can get to that adds breakaway, which is a huge hit with these fuel prices.

Fighting an Uphill Battle: Making ProRodeo Breakaway Roping Work Financially

Building a Rodeo Strategy

We’re going to have to be so much more strategic trying to pile in as we can. With fuel prices, that means we have to skip out on the lesser-money added rodeos, which sucks for those rodeos because we want to be there. Normally if we could afford to get there, we’d get there. Right now, it’s just like, “Who’s got any money left in their bank account and how many people can we get in a rig?” BRJ