Breakaway roping has long been a crowd favorite rodeo event, but only recently has it gained traction at major PRCA rodeos. In fact, 2019 was the first year where a major step forward was made for breakaway ropers who have longed to compete at a major level.
When it was announced back in 2018 that breakaway roping would be included at RFD-TV’s The American in 2019, it felt like a long time coming to rodeo fans and breakaway ropers alike. During The American last year, all eyes were on the female ropers who shook up the crowd with their lightning-fast times; ultimately, young cowgirl Madison Outhier took home the title as The American’s first Breakaway Roping Champion.
Fast-forward to last summer, and breakaway ropers had their chance to compete in another major rodeo for the first time, Cheyenne Frontier Days. While breakaway roping was not a WPRA sanctioned event in Cheyenne in 2019, the sky is the limit and having the chance to be included in this larger-than-life rodeo was a step in the right direction for the cowgirls who compete in breakaway.
As for what’s next for the sport? There is still a lot of growth that needs to happen for the event to be included in more PRCA rodeos, and, eventually, all PRCA rodeos.
For breakaway ropers like Jackie Crawford, arguably the most talented breakaway roper in the world and WCRA‘s Windy City Roundup 2019 Breakaway Roping Champion, the sky is the limit and she won’t quit until she gets to compete at the National Finals Rodeo.
In an excerpt from a recent Facebook post, Crawford describes how it would feel to finally have the chance to compete at the Thomas & Mack Center,
“It hasn’t happened yet, but a girl can sure dream…It’s December 9th, 2021 and I haven’t been excited about a grand entry since I was a little girl. However, this was not your average grand entry! This was the first time I ever looked up at that crowd from the arena floor as a contestant at the Thomas & Mack. I can’t even describe the surreal feeling of following my state’s flag in that arena! My heart is about to explode and I can’t hardly hold back the happy tears. I’ve got to get it together!”
If breakaway roping continues on the trajectory that it was on in 2019, there’s a huge chance that Crawford and other breakaway ropers will see their biggest dream come true. At this point, it’s only a matter of time, and the time is now.
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