Charly Crawford finished the 2017 season roping with Joseph Harrison. As Harrison headed back home from the rodeo trail to get back into horse showing, Crawford will be roping with Clint Summers to kick-off the 2018 season.
Kaitlin Gustave: Have you and Clint Summers roped together before?
Charly Crawford: No. We figured out this fall when Joseph kind of decided he didn't know what he was going to do this year, and he and I kind of talked. I’ve been watching him when he was roping with Trevor (Brazile) and whoever he kind of roped with at the end of the summer. He roped good everywhere he went no matter who he roped with and didn't have a partner going into this year. We talked about him going over to the house and practicing and going to a couple fall rodeos and just seeing how it went. I’m excited to go ahead and try it on this year and see how it goes. I’m excited to rope with Clint. He’s got some good horses and he ropes pretty good. That’s all he wants to do is rope and make the Finals and win. So that’s good because it keeps me motivated too having someone who’s hungry, and he’s definitely hungry.
KG: What is your perspective for the new season?
CC: I obviously feel like it is going to be a good year. I’d like for Sailor to get sound—my backup horse. He got hurt at the end of last summer and had to sit out at the Finals and stuff, so I’m hoping to have him back here pretty soon. Between him and my other horse Nastee, they got seasoned really good last summer I thought. They’re both pretty green and it was the first year that both of them have rodeoed full-time. They were 9 and 10 last year and going on to be 10 and 11. I feel really good about the horses I’m riding. I have some good young ones coming up but they're probably another year away. I’m still looking for another horse for some of these ropings to kind of ease the pressure off of Sailor and Nastee. It’s a kind of a goal to get one more horse to give the young ones another year or so. It’s good to have Jackie (Crawford) back where she's riding so she can take over the young ones for me where I can get ready for the rodeos and ropings a lot more now. I’m looking forward to being able to rope with her every day again and be each other eyes. It helps out a lot when we can be together—get a lot out of a practice session.
KG: When deciding what horses to take on the road what are some deciding factors?
CC: I have two different horses. Nastee is bred to run—real fast and free. He’s a lot better at longer scores, longer averages and big arenas. Sailor is good for the smaller setups and things like that. He’s a cow bred horse so he’s a lot faster footed and has a shorter stride so the smaller setups are definitely where he excels. I think it’s good to have two different horses like that. I’ve been at it long enough now to where I kind of know what setups and what rodeos have a tendency to be fast and have different kinds of steers so usually I kind of know what’s going on where I can kind of adjust which horse to ride for each competition—that helps a lot.
KG: What are some things, if any, that you could pick out from last year that you are putting more focus on this year?
CC: I was super excited about how my year ended up last year especially after taking off and ERA rodeoing. I worked a lot more the year before on going faster and shorter setups which that helped me this year at the Finals. I have better horses and I have the young ones coming up. I’m going on 40 next month and my arm doesn't work like it used to so I’m really focusing on trying to get my arm back in shape again. I hired a trainer before the Finals last year who showed me some ways that I can get some more flexibility back in my elbows and my shoulders. That plays a pretty big part on being able to get your rope turned over and get it where you want when your arm doesn't really allow it. I think of some people who have to get surgery at this age, I want to be able to maintain myself better and little things like that where I can take care of my body, that's just going to help me in a lot of different ways. In the last two years I’ve worked a lot on my reaching and my roping and every day your always trying to get better in your horsemanship. Just having the right mentality going into 2018 I think is what is going to tie the two together. Trying to stay positive and focus on what I can control and learn from what I can’t control and let things go. The hardest thing I think about when I was younger is always sprinting. This is a ten month cycle of rodeo season—it’s a marathon. There’s a lot of things that can happen—guys can do really good in the winter or struggle in the winter and think that he needs to press when there’s so much year left. I watch a lot of films and watch a lot of those guys that do things better than I can and I just feed on the weaknesses until they turn into strengths. Every year is kind of the same where I try to get better every day. At the start of the year there are things that a guy could set as resolutions but for the most part if you're trying to get better everyday you don't need New Years resolutions to motivate you.
KG: What are you looking forward to most for this season?
CC: This winter and stuff. I haven't been to San Antone (Texas) in a while, so it’s been a couple years so that will be fun. I’ll get to go to Fort Worth (Texas)—haven’t been there in a couple years. There’s been some rodeos that I haven't been able to attend so it will be fun to go to those. Just winning—I love winning and a guy sets a goal that he wants to be better than he was a year before. You try to find the weaknesses a guy can work on. Like at the finals I thought I roped pretty good and then towards the end I started loosing a bit of my faith in my finish which cost me a lot of money. For me, I try to find that guys that can help with certain areas. If it is riding my horse and I’m struggling at handling cattle, the first guy that I would go rope with would be Trevor (Brazile). If my angles aren't very good or I’m not creating a very good throw it would be Luke Brown. I think he rides the best angle there is and if I want to go work on making plays and trying to work on my reaching and just roping cattle from anywhere in the arena, I’d go rope with Kaleb Driggers. That’s when you know who has those certain strengths and that’s where you go. Just go rope with them a day or two and just watch them and learn and listen. Video them and watch and study them—that’s what makes this fun. Like Clay Cooper says that the definition of out here is you always have to be a little insane out here to do what we do because you're striving for perfection knowing you're never going to be perfect. There’s always going to be something you can work on and that’s what I love about this sport because when you think you get it and have it figured out there’s always something else—you never fully get it figured out—always something to get better at.