Jackie Crawford—one of the winningest female ropers in history—will compete at the first National Finals of Breakaway Roping Dec. 8-10 in Arlington, Texas, six months pregnant with her second child—a daughter.
Crawford, a 19-time Women's Professional Rodeo Association World Champion, and her husband, 10-time National Finals Rodeo header Charly Crawford, already have one son together, 3-year-old Creed, as well as Charly's daughter, 16-year-old Kaydence.
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"The first couple years we were trying, I had this time clock of when I really wanted to happen," Crawford, 37, of Stephenville, Texas, said. "Then after trying that long, I didn’t care when. Then all this stuff pops up at the same time, and it’s like HOLY SMOKES!"
She plans to ride her great 15-year-old gelding T-Boy—registered as DS Sassy Shiner—at the NFBR in Globe Life Field.
"If I’m comfortable enough I’m going to do it; if I’m not, I won’t," Crawford said. "I’ve been riding a horse I trust more than anything for 10 years, and with my style, I don't get over the front of them much anyway. I don’t really hit the saddle horn when I rope. I sit in the middle and stay in the middle. T-Boy is free, and he has a smooth stop."
Crawford quit roping five-and-a-half months into her pregnancy with her son Creed, simply because the ropings slowed down after the Ariat World Series of Team Roping Finale and Rafter L Finals at that point.
"It may be totally different with my second child, but I never felt like I lost control—I just got bigger," Crawford explained. "I never lost my balance, and I didn't feel uncomfortable. I try to stay very, very strong anyway, and after Creed I worked really, really hard to get it all back. I've already started working to physically prepare myself, and I'm going to try to work my butt off to be as prepared as I can and stay as strong as I possibly can. I've got a trainer—Katy (Miller) Schmidt—coming to the house to train me three days a week."
Crawford was almost four months pregnant with Creed when she won the average in the tie-down roping at the WPRA World Finals and won two WPRA World Titles that year, so safe to say she's up for the challenges 2020 brings.
While the WPRA doesn't keep track of whether or not any of its world champions or NFR qualifiers have been pregnant, Crawford is not the only elite female athlete to compete while expecting. Tennis star Serena Williams won the Australian Open two months pregnant in 2017, and Alysia Montaño ran the 2014 USA Track and Field Championships while eight months pregnant and again in 2017 while five months pregnant. BRJ