Jackie Crawford

RODEOHOUSTON

Cashing in the Green on St. Patrick’s Day in Houston

By Ann Bleiker

Photos Courtesy RodeoHouston

The ladies of the WPRA put on a show for the fans during Championship Sunday at RODEOHOUSTON that just so happened to land on St. Patrick’s Day. Green was definitely the color of the day in the form of $50,000 paid out to the winners in Houston.

Jackie Crawford

Photo Courtesy RodeoHouston

Whether it was the luck of the Irish, the luck of Danielle Lowman’s rope or the fact that she is a 23-time WPRA World Champion either way Jackie Crawford added a bucket list rodeo title to her Hall of Fame resume. She was the only one in the Final Four to record a time and that was a time of 3.7 seconds worth a cool $50,000.

            “This morning, I had a little mishap and my rope bag got sent in a rig headed to Austin, so I had no ropes for the short round in Houston,” noted Crawford on social media. “Luckily, I have a lot of good friends and D-Low (Danielle Lowman) brought a rope that was my size and had already been roped with. I took it and I promised her if I won the $50,000, I would give her a shout-out – so thanks for the rope bud.”

            No one has been hotter this winter in Texas than Danielle Lowman so only appropriate that if she couldn’t win the $50,000 at least her rope played a part in the title.

            Crawford advanced to the Championship round out of a tough set of ropers, that included defending RODEOHOUSTON champion Hali Williams and reigning world champion Shelby Boisjoli-Meged. She stopped the clock in 3.1 seconds to land in a tie for second in the long round with Taylor Munsell. Macy Young, who had won every round she had competed in during the 2024 RODEOHOUSTON, finished atop the leaderboard in a time of 2.7 seconds. TiAda Gray would round out the four with her 3.4-second run.

            Gray would be the first out in the Finals, but a hard running calf left her with a no time. Crawford would go next and turned in a veteran run in 3.7 seconds. Munsell was next out but came up short as well with a no time. Young was the last lady out and was looking to continue her dominance in H-Town but she too would finish with a no time.

            “This is one of those dreams come true,” stated Crawford just moments after winning the title. “I watched my husband (Charly) win this rodeo and now I get to win it. Hopefully our kids get to win it one of these days. This is definitely a bucket list rodeo as I am not going to ProRodeo much longer. I said I would not quit until I try to get Houston under my belt so thank goodness.

            “This is one of the coolest atmospheres we get to rodeo in and to be able to take home the saddle and buckle is so awesome.”

            Of Crawford’s 23 world titles three of them are in the breakaway roping. She now adds $55,250 to her 2024 earnings and takes over the No. 1 spot from Lowman, who won Ft. Worth and San Antonio earlier this year. The chase to a gold buckle in the breakaway roping is shaping up to be good watching the rest of the season.

Leslie Smalygo

Photo Courtesy RodeoHouston

On the barrel racing side, it was Leslie Smalygo and Justaheartbeattofame “Gus” that took home the title for the first time in their career. From a WPRA Rookie in 2019 to a RODEOHOUSTON champion in 2024, this win will rank atop the Skiatook, Oklahoma, cowgirl’s top regular season wins.

            Smalygo qualified for her first Wrangler NFR in 2022 but missed out in 2023. With this win in Houston and a payout of $58,000 all roads will be full speed ahead for the Thomas and Mack in Las Vegas.

            “He is just amazing,” stated Smalygo about Gus in the winner’s circle. “I got him as a three-year-old off the track and I trained him by myself. I used the reining training from my background so now he just puts it in the dirt and turns.

            “I can’t even put it into words what this win means. I am so excited for him. I am so proud of him. It is just a blessing.”

            Smalygo was the last out in the long round on Sunday and stopped the clock in 14.51 seconds, the fastest out of the 10. As a result, she came back on top of the ground for the Final Four and stopped the clock in 14.35 seconds, the fastest run of the 2024 RODEOHOUSTON edition. She had to sweat it out through three more runs before she made it to the winner’s circle. Megan McLeod Sprague was second out but a tipped barrel took her out of the picture finishing with a 19.94-second run. Paige Jones, who qualified for her first NFR in 2023, was next and stopped the clock in 14.71 seconds. The last one out was all-time WPRA earnings leader Lisa Lockhart, but she would fall just short of the title in a time of 14.54 seconds.

            Prior to winning, Smalygo was ranked 43rd in the world standings with $9,213. She now has $67,213 in earnings moving her straight to the top of the world standings.

            For the first time in the history of RODEOHOUSTON a tractor drag was added during the semifinals and finals to even the playing field for the athletes both human and equine. The WPRA sends their thanks for the team in Houston for making this happen.

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431 South Cascade
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

(719) 447-4627
(719) 447-4631 (fax)

431 South Cascade
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
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(719) 447-4627   |   (719) 447-4631 (fax)

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