Lari Dee Guy showed us that it was a good thing to “rope like a girl,” Willow Raley became the first woman to win money in the team roping in the PRCA (at Cheyenne Frontier Days, no less) and Jackie Crawford has been dominating the breakaway roping game for years. With those talented women paving the way for female ropers, there truly has never been a more significant time in the history of ladies spinning ropes since the old days of lady fancy trick ropers.
Even though those ladies like Florence La Due (undefeated World Champion Lady Fancy Roper) were handy with a rope, those women never imagined roping for a purse of $85,000 like the women of RFD-TV’s The American are about to.
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A New Event For Women
We’ve always marveled at the women who can run that cloverleaf pattern—and it’s one of the tightest-raced events in rodeo—but the movement of women that are now spinning a rope instead of spinning around three barrels has been raging like a wildfire.
When ladies were donning split skirts and bloomers and becoming lady fancy ropers back in the old days, it was about social and political advancement. In 2019, breaking the glass ceiling and getting another women’s event introduced into rodeo is about showing their talents, and winning some cold, hard cash—and a lot of it at that.
The Future Of Breakaway Roping
Before, there was not a living to be made as a breakaway roper. Sure, you could hit up some jackpots and the WPRA was a great place to test your roping talent, but if you wanted to make a living in rodeo as a woman, you had to focus on barrel racing.
Now, with more PRCA rodeos adopting breakaway roping as another—and sometimes equal money—event, plus major events like The American that boast huge purses, could a future career in breakaway roping be imminent for the best female ropers of this generation and the ropers to come?
If jackpots continue to grow, more rodeos adopt the event and we keep seeing huge events like The American hosting breakaway roping, that may not just be a pipe dream anymore.
A young rodeo boy’s favorite toy is quite often a rope. Now, with the increase in opportunity for women in roping, maybe a girl like me, who competes exclusively as a roper now, would have put down my Polly Pocket dolls and picked up a poly rope much sooner.