Breakaway… where is headed and how big will it get?

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    Breaking it Down – October 2021

    No one can deny the sport of Breakaway is growing by leaps and bounds. There’s no telling how big it will become but everywhere we go there are lots of young girls swinging ropes.

    Labor Day weekend, Joe Beaver produced his 10th Annual Junior Superstars Labor Day Roping in Glen Rose, Texas. Hali was fortunate enough to win the Open and win second in the 19 & Under. Today, we just got home from the Johnny Wayne Hampton Memorial Breakaway in Stephenville, Texas. It was a one header and there were 130 girls who each ran two calves. The fastest time won the roping.

    At the roping today I had the opportunity to visit with a few of the Open girls that have been on the PRCA rodeo trail. Those girls are tired and most of them are driving or flying to Pendleton, Oregon for the next PRCA rodeo. Lari Dee Guy told me she didn’t know how we did it. It is a unique life with a lot of “hurry up and wait.” You’re always in a hurry to get to the next one and then have to wait to rope. As soon as you do, you’re in another hurry to get to the next one. It’s a never-ending cycle.

    I remember back when Rich and I were roping together, Jake and Clay took off and went home for two weeks during the heat of the battle. At the time, I didn’t understand why you would miss so many good rodeos. But after being out there for a few years, I realized sometimes it’s important to come home and give your horses a break, refresh and work on some things and then go back out.

    However, right now is not the time to be slowing down with just a few weeks left to qualify for the National Finals. The PRCA has not yet given the Breakaway ropers an answer as to whether they will get to rope at the NFR. I believe if the PRCA did some research they might be surprised at how much of their fan base would vote to have Breakaway at the NFR. I hope it happens soon. The girls are being warriors and trying to qualify without knowing what their finals will be. I certainly take my hat off to them for what they are doing and trying to accomplish.

    Houston pro rodeo has stepped up and included it as a regular event with a $50,000 payout. Now we’re wondering how many rodeos will step up and make it an equal event.

    I think this sport that will boom in the next three to five years and get very, very fast. It will be amazing to watch. As a dad, with a daughter who turns 18 this year, I love to see the sparkle in her eyes and the excitement of being able to rope for a living at something she truly loves to do. She has had a few successes and has won six or eight Open ropings so far. Unlike in the team roping where the girls, if they win, get their number moved to the point it’s hard to be successful and almost impossible to make a living with a rope. Today we saw a few ladies roping calves that we used to see at team ropings. They are not happy with their classification and feel like they have a better chance to make money at Breakaway ropings.

    I am very excited for the future of Breakaway and just don’t think most people realize how big it will become in the next few years. Rodeo events have always been limited for girls. Not everyone can afford a $350,000 to $750,000 horse to compete in barrel racing. Even trying to find a good Breakaway horse now will cost $35,000 to $50,000. And most of them only have to run 25 feet.

    Lately I have been loading videos of my kids roping on speedroping.com. In these videos I voice over and discuss our weaknesses and what we’ve been working on. That includes the good, the bad and even when it goes really bad. I always learned more when things didn’t go well because I didn’t want that experience again if I could help it. It made me work harder to eliminate the mistakes. I try to instill that mentality in my kids to hopefully help them as they compete.

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