With breakaway ropers entering in record numbers, more and more ladies are bearing the financial burden of the rodeo trail. Reigning World Champion Jackie Crawford talks about how she's making it work in 2021.

Before I left for the summer, I knew how hard rodeoing was going to be financially. 

I’d been saving my money all winter while I was pregnant with Journey, and I sold a couple horses right before I left so I had a stash to go on. I’m so fortunate to have been able to do that.

We’re so grateful to the rodeos that have added breakaway roping, and we know that, if it hadn’t been for the challenges of 2020, even more committees would have added breakaway this year. 

[Breakaway Ropers Are Out-Entering Nearly Every Other Event in ProRodeo WITHOUT a Guaranteed Spot in Vegas—What Gives?!]

As things stand, we can go to about half as many rodeos as the barrel racers. But we’ve got to drive the same distance, if not more, and spend just as much money on fuel and horses and rigs. We have to drive past would-be opportunities in other ProRodeos that everyone else can go to but that don’t have breakaway yet, taking away our ability to “rodeo smarter” and enter more strategically. 

Ultimately: You have to hit here and there, and you have to have a backup plan. At this point of ProRodeo—more for breakaway ropers than any other event, though admittedly this does go for other events to—we have to have another source of income while we’re on the road. 

[Read More: Our Jackie Crawford Library]

Early in July, I started to get nervous. I didn’t have the Fourth Run I wanted to. I panicked. Thankfully, I was able to schedule three full roping schools and one half school to supplement my income. I know not everyone is able to do that, so I was so grateful I could make that work. 

There haven’t been just a ton of jackpots built up around the rodeos yet. In the team roping, it seems like over the years the jackpot producers have really stepped up to put on great jackpots when the guys are in town for the rodeos. It seems like the breakaway producers haven’t nailed down those schedules yet, so counting on any jackpot income isn’t a safe bet. BRJ