Breakaway Boost
How Breakaway Saved The American Rodeo

With the inclusion of breakaway roping in 2019, the ladies have paid more than half the entry fees supporting The American Rodeo.

Jackie Crawford at The American Rodeo 2023.
In 2023, Jackie Crawford became the first breakaway roper to win a share of the $1 million American Rodeo sidepot. | RC Photography

This article is an excerpt from “The Numbers Don’t Lie.” Read the full story.

After years of quiet lobbying by the ropers themselves, telling producers to just look at the numbers, The American added breakaway in 2019. More than 1,000 qualifiers entered and half of those competed at the Semi-Finals.

With the shocking strength of the numbers, the purse was immediately bumped to match the other events. Five years later, Jackie Crawford claimed a share of the $1 million in the first year breakaway ropers were eligible for the contender bonuses.

“It is incredible to think that the American Rodeo Breakaway Roping Champion Jackie Crawford walked away from Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, last year having earned $624,394, and most of it in a single day,” said James Miller, Sr. Vice-President of Competition and Athlete Development for Teton Ridge. 

READ: Jackie Crawford Spills ALL the Knowledge After Her $600,000 The American Rodeo Win

On the regional level, the American Contender Tournament Semi-Finals and Finals rodeos awarded $301,225 in both events.

“Once they advanced to the big stage at Globe Life, we dispersed another $987,700 in those two timed events alone,” Miller added. “We are very proud to have a positive impact in the industry and believe that this is just the beginning.”

On the flip side, there is no denying the financial impact that both events have had on The American.

Through its history, nearly 7,000 lady ropers have paid an entry fee into a qualifying roping for The American at $350 each and about 14,000 have paid the $500 to try for a spot in the barrel racing.

Though hard numbers on total entries in other events don’t exist for comparison, Paul Crain, head of Athlete Relations for Teton Ridge, estimates the ladies’ impact is large.

“It’s over half [the total entries,] I can tell you that,” he said. “I’m going to tell you 60% probably.”

Read the rest of “The Numbers Don’t Lie” HERE


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