This week has been a whirlwind, and I’m just catching up. I’m sitting in my trailer here in Oklahoma City at the US Finals, getting ready to watch Hope rope.
This is a huge week for women who rope. We just got back from the WPRA Finals in Waco, Texas, and we roped in the All-Girl Championship at the Cinch National Finals of Team Roping earlier this week. Congrats to Jackie Hobbs-Crawford on her three gold buckles at the WPRA Finals, and to my great friend and partner Annette Stahl who won the heeling. Hope and I won second in the average in the team roping (yup I was heeling) and I won the all-around world title and at the finals. I’ve never won that all-around title before, and it’s something I never really thought I’d win. That felt great.
Huge congrats, too, to our buddy Whitney deSalvo and Lori Thone who won the average at the WPRA Finals. They roped outstanding. Congrats, too, to JaLynn Harmon and Amanda Jones for their win in the All-Girl, and it was great to see Ashley Goforth and Summer Elrod win second.
It was outstanding to see some NFR cowgirls at the WPRA Finals, too. Shada Brazile, Christine Laughlin and PJ Burger roped, and dang don’t ever count either of them out. Those three can stick for sure, and they sure enough ride nice horses.
Speaking of nice horses, I was lucky enough to ride all of my best horses this week. I had Trooper for the heeling, Tombstone for the heading and Gangster was back after more than a year off for the breakaway. It’s always fun to ride three great ones in one week.
Looking back on the week, I guess I’ll always wish there were more money, more notoriety and more fans at an event like the WPRA Finals that showcases the very best in our sport–girls who can out rope most anybody. It was great watching, and I think some more people would have enjoyed it if they’d known what they’re missing.
I wish we were in the main arena where the ran the barrels at the WPRA Finals. That’s our NFR, but sometimes people forget that. There was some serious roping going on, but somehow, if you step back, it felt a little bit like a jackpot. I’m not sure what the solution is. I know we need more girls swinging a rope, in every corner of the country and really of the world, if this sport is going to keep growing.
Sure enough, we are working towards that every day. Every time a top female roper shows up in a mainstream rodeo magazine that any little girl can pick up, or any time a team roping junkie has a daughter and she wants to be out there in the practice pen with her dad, we win. Every dummy roping and junior rodeo association matters, and encouraging girls to get out there with the boys is fundamental for the growth of the sport.
One day, I’d like to see the fans pack the stands for every round of the WPRA World Finals. I’d like to see people hustling to get tickets to all of these women go at it, in a shootout format that keeps everyone’s attention. As women in the sport improve, and more and more girls come to compete at events like the US Finals and the WPRA Finals, hopefully we can catch some more attention, too.