By: Kendra Santos
Nineteen-time World Champion Cowgirl Jackie Crawford has roped her way to rodeo royalty status. But all the accolades don’t exempt her from the same morning sickness, cravings, butt and belly broadening as the rest of us working moms. Crawford, 37, is a three-event all-around contender at this week’s $750,000 Women’s Rodeo World Championship at Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas. And no, Crawford will not be tucking in her shirt when she ropes out of a saddle that just had its horn sawed off.
“It’s not morning sickness—I feel sick all day every day,” said Crawford, who lives in Stephenville, Texas, with her professional team roper husband, Charly; stepdaughter and fellow WRWC contestant, Kaydence, who’s 16; and 3-year-old son, Creed. “I crave everything—especially bread and carbs—because it helps me not feel quite so nauseous. I just feel tired and puny all the time. This second pregnancy is definitely harder than the first one. I struggle to stay motivated and get everything done. I’ve also gained weight so much faster this time.”
Baby Girl Journey is due March 22, which makes Jackie just over five months pregnant now. In addition to breakaway roping, Jackie’s heading here for Lorraine Moreno, and heeling for Kaydence, Ruby Magnus and Macy Fuller. This week’s WRWC is Jackie’s last hurrah in the team roping before the baby’s born.
“It’s such an exciting time to be a part of this sport, and it all just happened to come at the same time we’re welcoming another member to our family,” she said. “The only roping I’ll be doing for a while after this event is breakaway roping, so I won’t be needing a saddle horn.”
Crawford got the horn-free saddle pre-approved by all parties before taking a saw to it.
“I can’t be hitting this baby girl with the saddle horn, so sawing it off took the doubt out of my mind,” Jackie said. “I’ve had this dream that women can rope for a living—and it’s here. This is big money, and it’s real money. A girl can now win a quarter of a million a year pretty easily, thanks to events like this one. You can win enough here at this one rodeo to compare to maxing out in a couple good years in the past.
“Rodeo is what we do, but it’s not everything. My family is much more important than what goes on in the rodeo arena. Thus, getting that saw out on this saddle horn.”
Jackie will be six months pregnant when she ropes at the $200,000 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Breakaway Roping, December 8-10 in Arlington, Texas. Husband Charly will rope at his 10th NFR that same week in the same spot, and has decided to put family first and ahead of the full-time rodeo road in 2021. That has everything to do with their expanding family and all the opportunity available to Jackie right now.
“Charly’s accomplished all he set out to do,” Jackie said. “He hates being gone and missing out on family stuff, so he’s willing to do whatever it takes to be together more. I could not be more grateful to have a person who has a heart like he does in my corner.”
Another vital teammate is her sorrel steed T-Boy, who’s 15 and has been #1 in her trailer for 10 years now. T-Boy has to be the winningest breakaway horse of all time, and is the only horse Momma Jackie trusts with her most precious cargo. As thrilled as Jackie is about all that’s going on for women in rodeo right now, she tears up at the thought of how great it might be when her baby girl comes of roping age.
“I secretly wanted a little girl,” grinned Jackie, who’s also grateful at how all the girls pitch in and take turns watching Creed when she ropes. “I love Kaydence getting to be a part of this now. To get to raise another little girl who gets to take advantage of what these girls—the women who came before me, and the young girls now—have paved the way for just makes me so proud.
“I want women to know that they can have it all. It’s hard, and it’s challenging. But don’t cut yourself short in life and what’s after this career. I can do it, and so can you.”