Jackie Crawford is the 2020 Women's Professional Rodeo Association World Champion with $47,185.32 in season earnings.
This marks Crawfords' 20th WPRA world title, and the first awarded at the National Finals of Breakaway Roping at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas—on the same dirt that the National Finals Rodeo contestants are competing.
"The women right now get credited for being trailblazers," said Crawford, 37, of Stephenville, Texas. "I just want everyone to understand, we might get that credit, but we know that we're just placed in a line of trailblazers. You can't knock any credit of theirs because they worked at getting us to this position very hard. I just think, it's funny, before now, everyone would ask me what my goal was. But I said there's really not a way in my mind that you could say you were the greatest woman roper ever. I said one day, if they say 'Who are the greatest women ropers in the world?' If my name is in that pot, I feel like I did my job.
"Now," she continued, "we're getting to a place where we're actually getting titles and getting things that are going to add up and be something. I think that the future of breakaway is looking amazing. I think we're going to keep rising up. This right here, all the girls put on a show and made a statement that the breakaway is here to stay."
Crawford is six months pregnant with her second child, roping in a saddle with its horn cut off.
The National Finals of Breakaway Roping ran over 10 rounds, with Rounds 9 and 10 starting at 10 a.m. on the final day of competition, Dec. 10, 2020. Crawford entered the final day trailing Cassie Latham by just shy of $200, but Crawford went for the day-money in each of those rounds and picked up another $7,068 in the final two regular rounds, while Latham took two no-times and did not qualify back to the semifinals.
[Read More: The NFBR Payout and Format]
"That was crazy and I don't even know what I think about it yet," Crawford said of the format. "In the end, that top four was pretty dang legit for what had gone on the whole 10 rounds. It was just such a whirlwind. It was fast-paced, how we went from one to the other—every once in a while, I needed a bathroom break and I had to hustle—but I thought it was pretty cool and definitely different."
With the top eight in the aggregate after 10 going into a clean-slate semifinals that saw perhaps the toughest breakaway roping in memory, Crawford, Martha Angelone and Jordan Jo Fabrizio all turned in 1.8-second runs, followed by Lari Dee Guy's 2.0.
"Golly, that was tough," Crawford said. "I knew going into that round of eight, same as coming into the actual Round 9 today, these girls are getting in a groove now and they are tough. Every single one of them. Even looking at the board, you can't even play smart in the breakaway roping now. You have to go at every single run. Knowing that those girls had gone behind me, and looking at the times, it didn't matter. I wasn't going to just try to be in the top four. I knew the ones behind me were going to be gunning. I thought, 'I've got to get way ahead of that.'"
Crawford went second out in the sudden-death round of four. Guy had been 2-flat but broke a barrier ahead of Crawford's run, and Crawford saw her start and took it to be 1.8, but she too got the barrier to go to 11.8.
"I knew it was going to be close," Crawford, 37, said. "I knew I wasn't going to back off. I made that mistake, but I'm happier with myself getting beat than beating myself and backing off. I knew with two behind me I had to go at that. So, I wouldn't change it. I'd probably go at it again. I did grab my hat because it opened a door. If I'd have gotten out and made that run, I'd have been pretty secure in my mind of where I ended up. But I had to wait it out and just see."
Angelone made a 2.3-second run, and Fabrizio followed up with a 2.5. Angelone was named the NFBR champ, but five minutes passed before the announcers named Crawford the World Champion while secretaries calculated the year-end money.
Crawford's horse—DS Sassy Shiner—was the reason she was confident enough to rope six months into her pregnancy with her daughter, Journey.
[Read More: Crawford's Critical Horse Care Secrets]
"Man, that horse, he's never won a horse of the year, he's never won a horse of the roping, he's never won anything," Crawford said of the horse she calls T-Boy. "But that horse has taken care of me for 10 years. I guarantee you no one can dispute he's probably the highest money earning breakaway horse that has ever been. And he's a pain in the butt, and we've been through some ups and downs. I question myself—he's 15—do I need to get some younger ones going? We've had some ups and downs in the last year. But the horse, every time it comes to something like this, he steps up. There's not a horse in the world that would have taken care of me like he did. He makes it so easy. I never felt unconfident, even being pregnant, that he would do anything to hurt me or anything like that. That horse backed in there, he scored every single time, he fired, he stayed free and he stopped hard. I know he'll never know how much I appreciate him, but I appreciate that horse."
Crawford also won the All-Around at the Women's Rodeo World Championships this November in Fort Worth, and she entered the NFBR second in the standings after entering 18 rodeos and winning second at Fort Worth's Stock Show & Rodeo. BRJ
Lari Dee Guy: 12.0 seconds (barrier)
Jackie Crawford: 11.8 seconds (barrier)
Martha Angelone: 2.3 seconds
Jordan Jo Fabrizio: 2.5 seconds
Erin Johnson: 12.1 seconds (barrier)
Hope Thompson: 2.2 seconds
Macy Fuller: 2.3 seconds
Shelby Boisjoli: NT
Jackie Crawford: 1.8 seconds
Lari Dee Guy: 2.0
Martha Angelone: 1.8 seconds
Jordan Fabrizio: 1.8 seconds