The world seemingly rallied behind decorated breakaway roper Jackie Crawford when she clinched the event championship at The American Rodeo on March 11 and walked away with $600,000 inside Globe Life Stadium.
Hold up…How’d Jackie Crawford win $600,000?
Crawford’s splitting of the $1-million sidepot was a moment of celebration for the breakaway roping community, as her $600,000 payday was easily the highest-earning day for a women in roping’s history. But that moment was months in the making.
After entering multiple regional qualifiers and used her 2022 WPRA world standings finish to be seeded into competitions both in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Lexington, Kentucky, at The American Contender Series West and East Regional Finals, respectively in February, Crawford headed to Globe Life and competed in the American Contender Finals on Thursday, March 9, where she earned the win and advanced to The American on the following Saturday. She was rock solid in the 10-man round and advanced to the final four shootout with Kelsie Domer, Shelby Boisjoli and Tacy Kay Webb. Webb posted a 2.42-second run that would later earn the Oklahoma cowgirl $25,000, Boisjoli and Domer came up empty, and Crawford threw a 1.86-second loop that earned her the $100,000 breakaway roping win, plus put her in the $1 million sidepot reserved for any Contender qualifiers that won their event.
Tie-down roper Ty Harris came into The American Rodeo as a Contender and won the calf roping, so Harris and Crawford were each awarded $500,000, bringing her total on the day to $600,000.
Read about Crawford’s $100K The American Rodeo win in 2022.
From Crawford’s Perspective: The Preparation
Jackie Crawford: I’ve always said you draw confidence from your conviction in the practice pen. For me, I’ve been buckling down and making sure I’m prepared as I can be—physically, mentally. I put the time in the practice pen, the dummy sessions, roped off the Speed Trainer three times a day. When you put that time in, nobody can take it away from you because you’re not trying to fool yourself. So yeah, I felt confident, prepared.
JC: “Kevin,” (Crawford’s 2014 gelding Peppin My Step) tends to bow and break just a tick wider at the barrier. It can get me a little bit and blocks off my fast shots sometimes. I’ve been hounding and working—actually, I worked on that right before we left for The American. I tried to go straight at the chute, really crossover behind the calf and get to where I can pull to the inside if I need to. That helped me on the first run.
The Money Loops
JC: So on the first run, when I nodded that calf didn’t break as sharp as I wanted him to. I pulled to the inside, drove Kevin to the inside and tried to throttle him. He hit the pin and crossed over right behind that calf so well. It just made that shot incredibly easy for me. That calf didn’t run as much, so he didn’t get away from me to really pop the rope fast. But when I was he wasn’t moving on and that Kevin let me do that—I mean, he just stayed flat on the ground when I made that move and throttled. I was like oh baby, it’s lights out right here. It just felt so good.
In the four-man, I got to rope third. I’m so glad Tacy Kay (Webb) made a great run. I told myself I was just going to run at the barrier as hard as I could and just make the best run I could. Good old calf 48 broke out and ran good and true. It was a great pattern, I got to make a great run and Kevin was outstanding. That calf was fast enough that it really popped the rope. I didn’t even know how fast I was until I got the end of the arena, looked back and saw the time and was like, oh wow!
A Message from Jackie Crawford
Crawford may be at one of the highest points of her career, but in 2022 she experienced her share of career lows that opened her eyes to some harsh realities of the spotlight. This led her to reevaluate her roping, her circle and her life, but now that she’s out of the darkness, she’s ready to speak out to those who may also be struggling.
JC: I think anytime somebody has success or makes a lot of noise, you’re going to be the target of naysayers and gossipers and the people that let jealousy rear its ugly head instead of being happy for people, for the sport.
As soon as somebody’s doing good, they want to find a reason or an excuse they can use to bring that person down and explain why they’re not the one who’s winning. Don’t be that person. Be that person that’s happy for the ones winning. Be the person who busts their butt until they’re the one winning. You figure out what it takes.
I want my competition to be so good and on their game, and then I want to beat them. I want to beat you on your best day, I don’t want to beat you because you’re down—but when I do beat you on your best day, I will let myself feel that pride.
Those people that will still gripe when you win, those people that make excuses—none of that has anything to do with you. It has to do with them. They’re going to be mad no matter what. If you can look in the mirror and you can live with how you live your life, that’s what matters. You’re going to do things wrong—I’ve done so many things wrong, I will never claim to be perfect—but if you’re good with your family, your inner circle, and you make your mistakes right, that’s what matters.