Breaking it Down – December 2020


    The Future for Women in Rodeo

    We finished up at the Women’s Rodeo World Championship in Ft. Worth. Hali made it to the progressive round and we didn’t do any good after that. I’m very impressed with the format and all the ways to qualify for the finals. What a great opportunity for women in rodeo. Events include Team Roping, Breakaway, and Barrel Racing. This final has a $750,000 guaranteed payout with equal money in all four disciplines. A $20,000 bonus was also guaranteed for the Women’s Rodeo All-Around Champion (congratulations Jackie Crawford). After the progression round, and round two – the top six in each event got to compete at the Championship round at AT&T Stadium.

    Congratulations to all the athletes who made it to the finals. In the team roping, one team, Rylie Smith and Hope Thompson, had a qualified run and ended up winning $90,000 each. In the Barrel Racing, Hallie Hanssen, from SD won $60,000. The Breakaway Champion is Madison Outhier, who won $60,000.

    This is a phenomenal opportunity for women in rodeo thanks to WCRA and PBR. It’s very exciting and gives young ladies and cowgirls something big to work towards and more reasons to put in the necessary time and effort. As a father, it’s exciting knowing my daughter has something like this to compete at.

    You have to take your hat off to Jackie Crawford for winning the All Around while being five months pregnant and still roped outstanding. I hope the PRCA steps up and adds Breakaway to the NFR and makes it an event. That would open so many more doors for the girls. I believe it will happen, I’m just not sure when.

    After watching hundreds of breakaway runs at Ft. Worth, I truly believe there is so much room for the sport to grow and get faster. Watching the girls rope fresh calves, it’s no different than Open team ropings when they throw fresh steers in. At Ft. Worth they had a pen of fresh calves and then a pen that had been roped. When calves have been broken in and run a few times they leave the chute smoother. That allows a better start for the roper and results in faster times. When calves haven’t been broken in, they hesitate at the gate and then fire out like a rocket. That makes them more difficult to rope. Then if they change directions or speed, it becomes even more difficult. When they have a left lane set up where they can only go 20 or 30 feet to the left, it’s much easier for the girls.

    Back when I was competing I studied the game of heading. I always watched what everyone did and tried to evaluate what could be improved on. It really was interesting to watch so many girls rope with so many different styles. It will be interesting to see which styles adapt to the change that’s coming to the Breakaway. It’s going to get faster and faster and some styles will adapt better than others. If there’s one sport that can get super-fast, this is it. You don’t have to get off or rope the neck with authority to help set up the run like in tie down.

    It’s going to be fun teaching my daughter how to go fast but still be able to use her horse. There are many different styles depending on the calves and the situation. I really wish they had men’s breakaway. That would be some fun watching.

    With what the PBR and WCRA have made available to women team ropers and breakaway ropers, the possibilities are endless where the sport of rodeo can go for women. My daughter did not team rope. She focused on breakaway which has such different fundamentals than heading. We are trying to change many things in her heading and she didn’t feel comfortable doing both. Hopefully by next year we’ll be in a different situation where she’ll feel like trying to qualify for both.

    For all you parents out there that work the chute and turn out calves for your kids, I have admiration for you. It takes a lot of work and time to get kids where they can rope and ride. I normally teach lessons during the day and when we’re done, I either head steers for my son or turn out calves for my daughter. Then we go in and watch the video as a family and break down what we’re trying to achieve.

    It’s very hard to get better without seeing what you’re doing wrong. It’s one thing for someone to tell you what you’re doing, but it’s difficult to understand without seeing it. If your spouse or child is not having success competing, it would make a world of difference if you would film them. If you are going to spend the time and money to compete, it’s well worth the time and effort and should be part of your routine. I cannot stress enough how much it helps. I’m always amazed when I find things on video of my clients that I’ve never seen before. My approach is pretty simple… is it beneficial or needed? Is it a step that helps or hinders? That’s how I approach my heading. I’ve always tried to eliminate wasted moves. That’s the same approach we’re using with Hali’s breakaway roping.

    What’s new with me: We’ve been pretty busy between competing, high school rodeos, and teaching both team roping and breakaway lessons. At the time of writing this article, our family is in McClean, Texas hunting and hoping to put some venison in our freezer.

    Don’t forget we are giving away a Speed Trainer this month! Have someone film you roping on one and submit that video at!! Visit the website for more information.


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