That's the amount of money the World Champions Rodeo Alliance has paid out in breakaway roping since adding it to the association's lineup in May of 2018.
That's new money to the sport of rodeo, and it's money that pumped new life into breakaway roping at a time when other associations hesitated to do the same.
"The WCRA came to the table, and let us walk out into the arena with J.B. Mauney and Trevor Brazile, and paid out $50,000 to the winner of the each major, providing the first major opportunities of that level to breakaway ropers," National Finals of Breakaway Roping and WCRA contestant Lari Dee Guy said. "It wasn't even a question that they'd treat us the same from the start. They made every other association take more of a look, and let us show that the fans wanted to watch the breakaway and the media wanted to cover it."
The WCRA announced the inclusion of breakaway ropers May 21, 2018, allowing them to nominate themselves to earn points toward major qualifications. Since then, each of the association's major events has given breakaway ropers the same payout as every other discipline, and in November 2020 the association hosted its first Women's Rodeo World Championship in Fort Worth, Texas, paying out $750,000 across the barrel racing, team roping and breakaway.
"The WCRA, since the beginning, has been about growing rodeo, not just our organization but all of rodeo," WCRA President Bobby Mote said. "When you look at how many women breakaway roped from junior rodeo all the way to the regional rodeo level, it just made sense. They have been putting out the same time, effort and expense as everyone else, why shouldn’t they have the same opportunity? At the end of the day, we like to do business with people who want to do business with us, Breakaway ropers have embraced the WCRA so we will continue to find ways to try and help them."
WPRA World Champion Breakaway Roper Jackie Crawford, who also won the all-around at the WRWC in November, is the WCRA's leading money earner in the breakaway with $123,615 earned. Kelsie Chace, Crawford's close friend and occasional team roping partner, has won $107,091.55.
"It's crazy, honestly, and it's unbelievable," Chace, who's qualified for every major and won the Royal City Roundup in Kansas City last February, said. "The WCRA was the first place to have breakaway and make it even money across the board. It was pretty cool to see all that money paid out over and over and over, not just a one-time deal. That number is astounding. It's been so good for my lifestyle, and I've been so fortunate. I'm dang-sure going to support it as much as I can."
With the WCRA sanctioning jackpots from Canada to Florida and everywhere in between, parents of young breakaway ropers, just like the elite of the sport, are seeing the financial opportunity unfolding before their eyes.
"Not only has the WCRA paid all of that out, it drives the breakaway roping," Jade Conner, father of 17-year-old WCRA standings leader Josie Conner. "All of these jackpots we go to now, it increases the entries because people are using that as a format. It's how they get their points. It pays out a million, but it drives the sport period. It's the best thing that's ever happened to breakaway roping. It just makes the jackpots better, and the contractors are bringing better cattle because they know they can make more money and get more entries." BRJ