Ferrell “Flashbulb” Butler hadn’t a penny left to pay his entry fees. So the calf roper took out his camera and started shooting rodeos, selling […]
On The Trail with Jackie Crawford
Written by: Siri Stevens< Back to Articles
Multi-talented Jackie Crawford won the 2020 WPRA (Womens Professional Rodeo Association) Breakaway Roping world title by less than $2,000. Her performance at the first ever Wrangler National Finals Breakaway Roping held in Arlington, Texas, propelled the 38-year-old to win her 20th (WPRA) World title. This isn’t her first Breakaway World Championship, she has won the WPRA title in 2016 and 2014. She is the second most decorated member of WPRA, trailing the late Wanda Harper Bush, also an inductee of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, who won 32 titles during her rodeo career. Jackie’s other titles have been in All-Around, Team Roping, Tie-Down Roping plus she also barrel raced.
The National Finals Rodeo, held in December happened to coincide with Jackie being six month pregnant with her daughter, due in March. “At first I wasn’t sure if I would compete. It was a bittersweet feeling because we have worked so hard and been on this journey to bring breakaway to this level; so to watch the inaugural year from the sidelines would have been tough. After much discussion with my family, doctor, and prayers, I told myself as long as I was comfortable, I was going to compete!”
Jackie makes her home in Stephenville, Texas, with her husband, Charly; their daughter, Kaydence, age 16; and three year old Creed. The 38 year-old said, “I cut the horn off my saddle, to protect the baby. I trust my horse, T-Boy, so much and had so much confidence in him.” She had continued to compete three years ago until she was five and a half months pregnant with her son, Creed.
The National Finals Breakaway Roping event was ten rounds, then they took the top eight into a shoot-out round, followed by the top four. Jackie managed it all. She even went back to the judges in Round 5 and admitted she had an illegal catch (the calf’s back leg in the loop) that the judges did not catch. The judges listened and changed her score to a ‘no-time’. But in spite of her honesty, winning $25,536 with two go-round wins, and placing in four rounds, she came out on top, with a total for the year of $47,185.
Jackie thought the National Finals event was an awesome time. “I was suppose to be on that journey . . . what a way to end on a high and take a break!” She and Charly have named the ‘soon to be born little girl’ Journey.
“My mom (Annette) and dad (Mark Hobbs) rodeoed in Illinois. My dad and his brother are the only two to win the National High School Finals Team Roping from Illinois.” Jackie explained that her mom cut the middle out of a foam pillow, for the saddle horn, and that is where she rode. Her mother was well known for training barrel and roping horses and she was inducted into the Murray State College Rodeo Hall of Fame. “You can’t have a cake without the ingredients – in other words, it took a good work ethic, dedication, horses, coaches, and sacrifice – you have to be willing to put it first,” said Annette, who got her work ethic from her dad.
Jackie began competing in junior rodeos in barrel racing, poles and flags. When they moved to Oklahoma she added roping. “I was drawn to it – I was meant to be a roper. I turned my barrel horse into a roping horse. I started competing my sophomore year in high school.”
Before they moved to Oklahoma her mom worked at Fairmont Park Race Track in Collinsville, Illinois. In Oklahoma she went to work for Blue Ribbon Downs, in Sallisaw, while she studied to be a radiologist. Jackie began working there cleaning stalls when she was 14. She got her pony license at 16. “To this day I have scars on by body from ponying horses. It taught me to appreciate a good minded horse and what those horses are, and what they do and how athletic they are.”
Her first team roping horse came from the track. “I team roped and barrel raced off that big impressive bay gelding,” she said. “I sold him to buy my first truck – a 1996 extended-cab Dodge. It was the coolest thing in the world to me; I got to go to college from that horse.” She had several full scholarships from colleges in her area of Oklahoma. “Wanting to be the best and being so competitive I wanted to go to the toughest place there was. I knew the southern region was the toughest region. I took a scholarship for less money to go to Vernon Regional Junior College, Texas.” As she expected the competition was something she’d never seen before. She did win the NIRA Breakaway Roping Championship which helped the Women’s Team win that year, as well. “Iron sharpens iron and that was my mentality.”
Jackie then went on to Tarleton State University, in Stephenville, TX, with her best friend in college, Tessie McMullan Doyle. They pushed each other every day to become better competitors. Their women’s team won the National title their senior year, 2005
After college she went to work for Lari Dee Guy, in Abilene, TX, riding colts training roping horses, whatever was necessary. She admits she learned a lot. In 2009 Trevor Brazile won the calf roping and team roping on Sans Diamond Shine at the World Show and the owner of the horse sent us a bunch of that stud’s colts to train. “They were all good horses and I bought T-Boy out of that group,” she said. At first they didn’t get along. “He was so quirky, and we went through a battle,” she admits. “I had the feeling there was something about him – he isn’t fancy. He was a problem and hard to get to work, but he had an ability to win.” When he was five she took him to Joe’s Boot Shop that had a five-header and he won. He has been taking her to the pay window for a decade. Today she says, “He’s just a phenomenal horse. I don’t think anyone can dispute the fact he’s probably the highest money-earning horse ever in breakaway roping. He’s just a winner.”
Jackie met Charly through the roping world. She was dating a mutual friend of his. “I thought she was a buckle bunny,” said Charly. “It turned out that wasn’t the case at all. We became friends and had a lot of things in common. One year she needed a head horse for the World Series Finale in Vegas so I let her use one of mine, and it went from there – I could tell right way it was a fit.”
Charly started roping at a young age in Canby, Oregon. He roped with his dad and made it to the National High School Finals three times. He graduated in 1996 and went to Central Arizona College for two years. “I got my PRCA permit when I was 17 but didn’t have enough horses to really compete.” He bought his PRCA card in 1998 and won the Resistol Rookie (header) of the Year in Team Roping. He’s made 10 appearances at the National Finals which included 2020, when he and his partner, Logan Medlin, won the 7th go-round. He plans to slow down and concentrate on his family, his roping schools and clinics. “I’ve gotten five heelers to the NFR so I figure I better take that talent and use it to put on schools and lessons. My daughter wants to make the UPRA and CPRA finals this year so I want to help her as well as help Jackie however I can. I’m good with being a good dad and husband.”
Jackie graduated with a degree in Business Administration, which she admits has helped her with communication, sponsorships, and everything else that goes with rodeo. She has hired Cheyenne Britain that acts as Jackie’s ‘right hand man’. “She helps me saddle, unsaddle, drive and everything in between. “I hired an agent and a social media person,” Jackie explained. Charly and Jackie are restructuring their program so they can do the things a replacement can’t do. “Nobody can replace a mother, a dad, wife, husband or a competitive roper,” she said.
Creed has grown up in the arena. “We have huge play areas set up inside a 10×20 chain link fence; slides, jungle gyms, etc.,” said Jackie. “In between horses, we play and do what we need to do.” The plan is to keep going. “Our biggest goal as a family is not to be broke cowboys – rodeo doesn’t have a 401K.” Jackie’s initial goals were to be in the conversation of the greatest women ropers in the world and get inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. Now that the doors are opening to breakaway roping opportunities, her goals are changing, but in the end she wants “to know that no matter what, I’ve accomplished the things, I’ve worked for. I did it and stamped my place in history … a sigh of relief that the first NFBR is in the books. Let’s rock on and keep this ball rolling. I’m so fortunate to do this – I get to be with my kids. Even though we are working, we are all together as a family all day. How many people get to say that.”
“My vision for myself is continuing to help put this sport in a position that when I’m too old to do it, I’m sitting in the gold buckle seats watching my daughters roping at NFR.”
2020 National Finals Breakaway Roping
2016, 2014 Womens Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) Breakaway Roping
WPRA All-Around 2019, 2018, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009 & 2008
WPRA Team Roping 2016, 2014
WPRA Tie-Down Roping 2014, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008
2003 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Breakaway Roping for Vernon Regional Junior College
2003 National Woman’s Team for Vernon Regional Junior College
2005 National Woman’s Team for Tarleton State University
2000 Oklahoma State Champion Breakaway Roper
2020 Betty Gayle Cooper Ratliff Fast-Time Award see story on pg 43
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