KEVIN! Crawford’s First-Ever Ruby Buckle Breakaway Champ

Crawford tells the story of the horse she just won the first-ever Ruby Buckle Breakaway aboard: 7-year-old gelding Peppin Up My Step by Prime Talent out of the Hickorys Indian Pep mare La Peppy Pep.

Courtesy Ruby Buckle — Lexi Smith Media

I was at Copper Springs Ranch in Montana a few years ago teaching a school, and I got to walk through the barn and see the colts and sale horses. A good friend pointed out this bay 2-year-old, and she told me he was the only one who was laying down in his stall the day they were clipping horses for the sale. She said he let them clip him and never got up or moved at all, and I kept him in the back of my mind. 

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The day of the Copper Springs Sale that year, Ken Bray and I were on our way tot an amateur rodeo, and I still had that colt and his personality in my mind. I got online, and I had my favorites that I’d seen at the ranch picked out. I got mine bought, and Ken bought one, too, all while we were driving to this rodeo. 

We learned quickly that this horse was a character, and he turned out to be a bit of a challenge. His registered name is Peppin Up My Step, and he’s a son of Prime Talent out of a Hickorys Indian Pep mare. But pretty quickly we came up with the name Kevin for him—like Kevin from Home Alone, because we were always yelling at him.

A screenshot of Kevin’s original sale ad from the Copper Springs Ranch Sale.

I had the cow horse trainer Rhett Baker take him for me and start him. When I got him back, I realized what a handful he is. He’s all run on top and all cow on the bottom, and he’s not necessarily made to stop because he’s a little longer. He could stop, but is wasn’t easy on him. And his brain was just… busy. 

Honestly, I didn’t have enough time for him and he was such a handful I had him for sale—I dang near gave him away—but he didn’t sell. I figured I’d just go home and camp on him, and that’s what I did. 

There were days he’d dig a hole standing tied at the back end of my arena, and days where my friends or I would stay on him all day. We’d take him to schools and just stay on his back with everything we were doing. He always had a cool feel to his stride, and he could track good and he wanted to score and be quiet. But you had to keep his mind focused. When you did that, he’d be really willing, and he was really, really fast. 

I was trying so hard to get him made that when the 2020 American rolled around, he was practically the only horse I’d been riding. I’d ridden T-Boy in the semifinals, but I got on Kevin when it came to the buyback rounds. I was 3-something on two in the buybacks, but I still wasn’t sure I should get off T-Boy and trust this colt. 

I went home that night and roped the same calves on both horses, and I was faster on Kevin. So I rode him at AT&T, and nothing bothered him at all there. We finished one out of the top four, but Kevin worked great. 

He just had this patch where he was tough—where he needed the hard work to make him into something great. 

My stepdaughter Kaydence rode him some while I was pregnant with Journey this last winter, and she got along with him really well. He had some time off before the Ruby Buckle breakaway, but when I stepped on him he was ready. We made two runs in 6.14 seconds, and we won $4,122 for our efforts. 

I didn’t buy Kevin thinking about the incentives because they weren’t a part of the roping deal yet. But now that they are, I think they’re a great opportunity for breakaway ropers and the horse industry. I hope it helps our side of things grow and catch up to events like the barrel racing and the cutting. 

At this point, I think he’ll stick around our house for a while. He’s one of those I can’t afford to sell, with where the breakaway industry is, you have to have some good ones. I have no problem going and getting that horse to go win anywhere. He lets me float him across the line, which is so important in a breakaway horse. He’ll really shine in places like Cheyenne, Salinas—he’ll be exceptional there. BRJ

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