Ten-time NFR header Charly Crawford is hosting his second annual American Military Celebration roping at NRS Event Center in Decatur, Texas, Oct. 29-31, with proceeds from the event going to Building Homes for Heroes, a non-profit that builds mortgage-free homes for veterans.
The event—paired with Crawford's free roping school for veterans and their families Oct. 26-28—gives the Western community a chance to say thank you to those who've served their country, while bringing them into the fold of the roping community and all it has to offer.
In its first year in 2020, the roping raised $47,000—enough to build a home for a disabled veteran and her eight children, who were three weeks away from eviction.
"I've done a free military school since 2014," Crawford said. "It's been filling up too fast every year now. So last year they asked me if I ever thought about having a roping. I was 30 to 40 days out when the idea came up last year, and I didn’t know if I wanted to tackle putting on a roping before my last NFR. I thought about it, but the only negative I had was if I’d be ready for the Finals. I had two weeks—I’ve roped my whole life—surely I would be fine."
In the fall of 2020, Crawford got on the phone and started making calls, and he was able to raise $50,000 to put toward the roping. At the same time, he rounded up every roper in the top 15 to compete in a showcase in an NFR-setup for the veterans and fans, and each of the top 15 also roped in the event's pro-am (called the Pro-Vet).
"From roping steers my whole life, to changing somebody’s life, it was pretty fun," Crawford said. "These guys were talking about it being the best day of their life—the things I take for granted. I didn’t realize it was that impactful."
So this year, Crawford's going for bigger and better. He's offering a Horns 'N Heroes introduction to roping, open to any active duty, veteran, first responder or their family members, Oct. 26 at at NRS, followed by a two-day, 15-header and 15-heeler Military School Oct. 27-28 at NRS with Crawford and Trey Johnson that will be live-streamed on Roping.com. Roping.com and The Team Roping Journal will donate a percentage of every membership sold during the week of the clinic to Homes for Heroes, too.
The event will continue Friday with a #13.5 and #11.5, followed by a 6 p.m. Open qualifier and Calcutta, then a 9 a.m. Saturday Military Roping, a 12 p.m. Pro-Vet and a 6 p.m. NFR Showdown with the top 15 teams going head-to-head over five rounds, all streamed on X-Factor.
"We’ll introduce the top 15 military guys going to the short round, name, rank and branch," Crawford said. "We’ll let these guys ride behind their branch flag like we do at the NFR. It will be a tribute to our military and firefighters and first responders."
On Sunday, Oct. 31, Crawford and crew will offer a Business Roper Elite with a #10.5 and #8.5, with proceeds going to help veterans and their families.
"I'd love to raise $100,000 to build even more homes this year," Crawford said. "I hope guys coming to rope Sunday will come Saturday night to watch the NFR Showdown and bid on auction items and Calcutta teams. We want this to be a great experience for everybody, but especially the veterans." TRJ