Crawford sets pace in historic opening day of Wrangler National Finals Breakaway Roping
ARLINGTON – On a history-making day for breakaway roping, it seemed fitting that Jackie Crawford stood in the spotlight.
Crawford, of Stephenville and a 19-time world champion in rodeo, set the pace in the first four performances of the inaugural Wrangler National Finals Breakaway Roping at Globe Life Field, Tuesday.
Crawford, who won breakaway roping world titles in 2014 and 2016, leads the average with a 9.9-second time on four head, highlighted by winning Round 1 with a 1.9-second run.
"This is such an awesome stage that we are able to be on today, and luckily here in the last few years breakaway has gotten to be on some bigger stages," Crawford said. "So, we have been able to get control of our nerves on this type of setting. Today was just pretty neat. The start was good, the calves were good, and it just was a pretty easy set-up for us.
"I just tried to do my job each round and use the calves I could win money on and go catch the ones I couldn't."
Crawford's outing is more impressive considering she is six months pregnant. Her husband, team roping header Charlie Crawford, is making his 10th Wrangler National Finals Rodeo appearance and plans on retiring after the completion of this year's NFR. Charlie is roping with Logan Medlin.
"It's crazy when he's entered (in the NFR) and all the practice that goes into it and preparation," she said. "Then, this year with both of us (qualifying) and of course I have been on limited amount of practice runs, he said he's been able to do what he wanted to do. He's been here (to the NFR) 10 times, and the breakaway is just taking off and he wants to just be a dad."
"It has been fun and been an awesome experience. This is his going-out year and my coming-in year, it has been pretty special."
Jackie has a stepdaughter, Kaydence, 16. Jackie and Charlie also have a son together, Creed, 3. The baby girl, due in March, will be named Journey.
The Wrangler National Finals Breakaway Roping is being livestreamed by Wranglernetwork.com. The NFBR two remaining performances will be at 10 a.m. (CT), Dec. 9-10 at Globe Life Field – the same arena used for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Cowgirls are competing for a record-setting $200,000 purse at this three-day event.
Rounds 5 through 8 will be completed Dec. 9. On Dec. 10, Rounds 9 and 10 will be run, followed by the top eight. The top four will advance to a final round to crown a world champion.
"I just wish so many of the trailblazers before us could be here today," Crawford said. "There's so much work put in by so many people for so long to try and have this day. All 15 of us feel so lucky to be able to be a part of the first year because there was so much work behind this."
Crawford was riding her mainstay horse, T'Boy, 15, a horse she has been riding for 10 years. Crawford's 19 world titles have come in multiple events. In addition to breakaway roping she has won the all-around in 2008-11, 2013, 2015-16, 2018-19; 2011, 2014, 2016 team roping header; 2008-10, 2013-14 tie-down roping.
"That horse has to be the all-time money leader in breakaway roping," Crawford said. "He's nothing fancy, but that horse has always been a winner. He's the only one I would trust to take care of me. I will be riding him until he says no more."
Other round winners Tuesday were Martha Angelone (1.9 seconds, Round 2), Tanegai Zilverberg (2.0 seconds, Round 3) and Hope Thompson (2.2 seconds, Round 4).
Crawford is ready for the challenge ahead the next two days.
"I feel like I have a good feel of the start now and I'm going to keep getting the same start," Crawford said. "If the shot presents itself, I'm going to take it and if it doesn't, I'm going to knock them down and try and win the average and try and win the world."