Let's Hear it for the Girls

How to Produce an All-Girl Team Roping
How to get started producing all-girl ropings from California’s Richest All-Girl Breakaway & Team Roping producer Danielle Porteur Johnson.
Julie Harvey heading a steer at the 2023 California's Richest All-Girl Breakaway & Team Roping.
Julie Harvey was the WRWC Pro Heading Qualifier from the 2023 California's Richest All-Girl Breakaway & Team Roping. | Phil Doyle photo

The California’s Richest All Girl Breakaway & Team Roping takes place every year on the West Coast in the small town of Tres Pinos, California. This year marked a record-breaking year for the August 5-6 roping with 188 all-girl teams and 66 breakaway ropers.

What started out in 2015 as a one-day breakaway roping jackpot in Salinas has evolved into a two-day event with a breakaway roping, all-girl team roping and all-girl calf branding, produced by Danielle Porteur Johnson. Now a Women’s Rodeo World Championship Qualifier Series event, the roping continues to grow and Johnson notes they aren’t at the end of the road when it comes to her goals for California’s biggest and highest-paying all-girl jackpot. 

“I still have goals that I haven’t reached, this isn’t it,” Johnson said. “I’m very grateful for just the cowgirls that come to rope every year and continue to come back and support this roping and I thank all my sponsors and sanctions. I’m very grateful for everybody, but I still have a vision and I haven’t reached it yet.”

So, what has Johnson done to grow her roping over the last few years? She shares her tips for future roping producers.

#1. Have good people in your corner

You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with, and Johnson knows this to be true even in production. A decade ago, Johnson dreamed of bringing the legendary Jackie Crawford (Hobbs, at the time) out to California to put on some clinics and better the youth of the West Coast. She worked up the courage one summer in Reno, and the two went from there. 

After a few years of the roping school, the conversation of the lack of big breakaway ropings in California started, and the two had created a new plan. After working out the kinks over the next few years, Johnson and Crawford co-produced the first-ever California’s Richest All Girl Roping in 2015 with just the breakaway. The following year they made the leap to add the team roping.

“I’m forever grateful for her believing in me,” Johnson said. “Jackie Crawford, a world champion, believing in this little cowgirl over here that just kind of wanted it to go big. She really did believe in me.”

And even today, Johnson knows producing such a successful event wouldn’t be possible without great people there to help and support.

“I manage it just by having a great crew,” Johnson said. “People that I can count on that have been there for me. I’ve had pretty much the same crew for the last few years, and they kind of know the drill. It just takes a village.”

#2. Money makes things happen

Let’s face it, money makes the world go round. Good sponsors are vital to a good roping, something Johnson knew from the get-go.

“The first thing I did was created a sponsor package,” Johnson explained. “I divvied it up to different levels; saddle sponsors, mother lode sponsors, hat sponsors—opportunities to advertise their businesses. I went face to face and met with people and told them, ‘This is my vision, this is what I want to do.’”

It’s important to build relationships with said sponsors as well.

“That’s a huge thing is just building relationships with sponsors and trying to get them to see the vision of where we want to go with this roping,” Johnson said. “Sponsors are huge.”

#3. Think about the ropers

At the end of the day, it’s about putting on a good roping where contestants want to come back each year, and a producer can’t achieve that without aiming for a fair roping.

“Look at what’s keeping it fair,” Johnson said. “Be really roper-friendly, too. These girls travel so far, and they’ve got a lot of money up at my roping. It’s not just the breakaway but also the team roping. So, really giving them a fair chance in a roper-friendly environment.”

After listening to the concerns of her contestants, Johnson wasn’t afraid to switch things up and mess with the format. To ensure that roper-friendly environment she set out for in 2015, she added incentives to the team roping.

“I’ve made it to where it’s a pretty even playing field for all levels of ropers,” Johnson said. “Most of my team roping, if you split it down the middle, it’s going to be half incentive teams and half open teams. And our incentive teams are even winning the open because they’re bringing a matchup. When you come to my roping, you don’t have to really have a team roping partner—you can draw, you can pick one draw one or you can draw both. And even if you draw both and don’t have a partner, you’re going to draw somebody good.”

#4. Be so passionate about the sport you stay open-minded

Being passionate about the sport is what drives a good roping and gives you the goals you need to be successful.

“You’ve got to have passion for the sport,” Johnson said. “For us, I think it all stems from starting it with Jackie and that we didn’t want to be a backyard jackpot; that wasn’t what it was. We wanted to be the biggest.”

Passion for the sport also means being willing to reevaluate and having honest conversations about what could be done better.

“Be open to suggestions and going back into the drawing board,” Johnson said. “Every year you learn something. It’s like, ‘Oh, I should have done this that way, or maybe this call could have gone that way.’” 

#5. Don’t forget the WRWC sanction!

In 2022, California’s Richest became a Women’s Rodeo World Championship Qualifier Series event and is one of the only ones on the West Coast. From 30 nominations in 2022 to 61 this year, Johnson is ecstatic with what it’s done for the roping. It’s been a no-brainer decision to keep it going.

“It is such a great opportunity for people that are working full time that can’t rodeo,” Johnson said. “Moms that work but love to rope on a competitive and professional level, they can’t be on the road all the time. So, here’s an opportunity where you can come to this one, nominate yourself and qualify. I thought that was a really good opportunity and it speaks for itself.”

WRWC Qualifiers

Pros: Julie Harvey and Tammy West-White

Challengers: Sadie Grant and Alison Grantham

Sadie Grant and Alison Grantham posing with their prizes for winning the 2023 California's Richest All-Girl Breakaway & Team Roping.
Sadie Grant and Alison Grantham were the WRWC Challenger Qualifiers from the 2023 California’s Richest All-Girl Breakaway & Team Roping. | Phil Doyle photo

2023 California’s Richest Results

Round 1: 1. Marcey Chaves/Tammy West-White, 7.35 seconds, $400.00; 2. Kaitlyn Andersen/Jacey Tweedy, 7.49, $240.00; 3. Regan Amador/Summer Tex, 7.88, $160.00.

#4 Incentive: 1. Sadie Grant/Alison Grantham, 32.05 on three, $950.00; 2. Braylie Grant/Julie Nielsen, 41.94 on three, $640.00.

Average: 1. Sadie Grant/Alison Grantham, 40.14 on four, $1,670.00; 2. Dakota McCurley/Tammy West-White, 43.39, $1,390.00; 3. Julie Harvey/Rikki Perezchica, 43.58, $1,110.00; 4. Casey Hall/Ali Bilkey, 54.28, $830.00; 5. Leslie Davenport/Dakota McCurley, 63.51, $560.00.

Tammy West-White heeling a steer at the 2023 California's Richest All-Girl Breakaway & Team Roping.
Tammy West-White was the WRWC Pro Heeler Qualifier from the 2023 California’s Richest All-Girl Breakaway & Team Roping. | Phil Doyle photo
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