The 2020 WPRA World Champion Jackie Crawford has her sights set on the Wrangler National Finals Breakaway Roping presented by Titos Average title in 2023, looking to survive the 10-head gauntlet with clean catches the whole way through the roping Dec. 5-6.
“In 2020 and 2021—both times I made the Finals—I won the first round with a 1.9,” Crawford said. “It’s more fun to go at the rounds, don’t get me wrong. But I want to win the average. If something changes, it changes and we’ll readjust. But this year, I want to catch 10.”
Crawford hasn’t decided on her NFBR horsepower yet, bringing three head to the South Point Arena to help her make a game-day decision after running the calves through Monday, Dec. 4.
“When we run them through, I’ll run one on each horse, and go with whatever feels best,” Crawford said. “I have Kevin, Hail Mary and a new horse, Backtrack. If they’re as strong as I think they’ll be, I’ll start off on Mary. I’ll get on Kevin if I need to go fast. And if they soften up, I feel gamey on Backtrack.”
In 2022, Cadee Williams won the NFBR average with an aggregate time of 31.9 seconds on 10 head, with Lari Dee Guy her closest competitor with a 40.1 on 10. They were the only two to catch all 10 in 2022. In 2021, Sawyer Gilbert won the average en route to the gold buckle with a time of 10 head in 46.3 seconds. When Crawford won the world in 2020, the format was different without a traditional average payout, though Jordan Hollabaugh claimed the event title after winning the clean-slate final round.
“This year, they’ll be strong,” Crawford said. “The key is to hit the barrier every time but have the discipline to feel if the shot is there or not and to stay down riding and take my first best shot and not look for a shot.”