At the Jan. 15-17 Dodge First Frontier Circuit Finals Rodeo, presented by U.S. Smokeless Tobacco in Harrisburg, Pa., a relative unknown made rodeo history.
Crane put the finishing touches on an achievement unprecedented in PRCA history, claiming the year-end circuit championships in four categories: all-around, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding.
And he did this with a broken leg, wearing an air cast and in constant pain.
“The doctor who did the surgery (on Oct. 9) was very adamant that I not do this, that I stay off the leg,” Crane said, “but I felt like I had a chance to do something special, and I didn’t want to give that up.”
Actually, what the doctor said was that Crane needed a second surgery to do a bone graft for his badly shattered fibula, but Crane declined. For now. Only the year-end bull riding title was mathematically assured at the start of the DFFCFR, and Crane knew the rest were up for grabs if he was a no-show.
“I knew I didn’t have to have a special rodeo to hold my leads,” Crane said, “just a few dollars here and there.”
He reached the eight-second whistle in all three rounds of the bareback riding to finish third in the average, earned a share of second place in the second round of the saddle bronc riding and closed out his weekend by winning the third round of the bull riding.
It made him a perfect 4-for-4, breaking a record shared by more than a dozen cowboys who had won three year-end circuit championships in the same year, including Trevor Brazile, Leo Camarillo, Lewis Feild and First Frontier rival Darren Morgan, who won his fourth consecutive all-around title last year, along with those in steer wrestling and tie-down roping.
“At the beginning of the year, my goal was to win the all-around,” Crane said. “I wasn’t even thinking about any of the individual titles. Darren Morgan is as good a roper as there is out there, a guy who can compete and win anywhere. He just competes on the First Frontier because his family is here.”
Crane is now qualified for the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo, presented by U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, in three events, which puts him in elite company with ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductees Ty Murray (1992) and Paul Tierney (1990).
He is planning to cut back on his competition for a while to let his leg heal and prepare for the April 8-11 DNCFR in Pocatello, Idaho