"I want a garden."
Jackie Crawford’s Summer Run Strategy, Potential Retirement?

No. 1 Jackie Crawford's getting candid about what she wants out of ProRodeo—and of life.

Jackie Crawford is weighing the pros and cons of life out on the ProRodeo road
Jackie Crawford is weighing the pros and cons of life out on the ProRodeo road. Image by Bullstock Media courtesy WRWC

Jackie Crawford is leading the WPRA World Standings by more than $14,000 with ProRodeo wins like RodeoHouston under her belt, and is sizing up the summer run with a veteran glint in her eye.

But despite her success in 2024 Crawford is grappling with an idea; retirement from full-time ProRodeo.

“There is a possibility [I’m retiring], yes,” Crawford, 23-time World Champion said. “I’m not going to say for sure—yes I’m retiring—and then ProRodeo next year. But I’m getting to the point where I want to go to the good rodeos, go to the WCRAs, the Women’s Finals, The American, The Kimes Ranch deal. And be home.”

Jackie Crawford’s Retirement

Crawford purchased her WPRA card in 2006—the same year many of the 2024 class of Resistol Rookie of the Year candidates were born. It would be more than a decade until breakaway started making its way onto the main stage at events like the the WCRA Windy City Roundup and Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.

“Although breakaway is very new—I’ve been doing this a long time,” Crawford said. “I just drove a lot farther for less.”

Now, Crawford is weighing the opportunities closer to home in Stephenville, Texas, against several months out on the ProRodeo road.

“There are so many opportunities [outside ProRodeo], so the more I look at how much I have to be gone and the things I miss at home, and the older the kids get, it gets harder to be beating this road up and down,” Crawford said. “And right now, [the NFBR] doesn’t pay off. For me, why wouldn’t I get to be at home more, train more horses, and do things that are really going to pay? Where it’s wearing me down is coming home, feeling behind but you have to pack a rig and go the the next rodeo. I want to spend less and win more.”

While she refuses to put a solid date on “retirement,” the lengthy summer isn’t as appealing as it used to be. Crawford is feeling it out, planning to choose “quality over quantity” during the summer this year, and capitalize on opportunities in front of her.

Summer Run 2024

“My plan for the whole summer is to try to go to the bigger rodeos, and try to strike there,” Crawford said. “Rodeo smarter and fly to places like Deadwood [South Dakota] and Window Rock [Arizona], because that’s a $10,000 added one-header. Then I have the last perf at my hometown rodeo in Fort Smith, Arkansas.”

From there she’s going to hit smaller Texas Circuit rodeos to get more solid in the circuit finals race before heading out to places like Vernal’s Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo in Utah, the Crooked River Roundup in Prineville, Oregon, and the Reno Rodeo in Nevada.

Her Cowboy Christmas is going to contain her usual slate of Cody Stampede in Wyoming, Black Hills Roundup Belle Fourche in South Dakota and something new—St. Paul, Oregon.

“That’s been a bucket list for me,” Crawford said. “They’ve been working hard to make breakaway happen the last few years, and they finally got it this year. I am pumped about that.”

Some non-negotiables this summer are WPRA Tour Rodeos. The 2023 tour finale at the Governor’s Cup in Sioux Falls, South Dakota paid $25,000 to win, a tempting payday seldom seen for ProRodeo breakaway ropers.

As for her horsepower Crawford’s taking “Hail Mary,” and is undecided on mount No. 2.

“I’ve done so well on Backtrack this year,” Crawford said. “But it’s so hard to leave a horse that’s let you win as much as Kevin. And I could take all three, but I’ve done that and it’s so much harder to find places to stay and let [other ropers] in the rig to cheapen up trips.”

Crawford won RodeoHouston on Backtrack this year, and has hit her stride with Hail Mary at events like the Women’s Rodeo World Championship. Only time will tell the horses that make the many-thousand-mile trek across the U.S. and how much longer Crawford is going to grace ProRodeo with a consistent presence.

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