By BRAD KEITH
ERATH COUNTY (March 25, 2016) — Jackie Hobbs Crawford has won 14 world championships and more buckles and saddles than she can remember.
But a Key to the City of Stephenville?
That’s one award Crawford says she will never forget. Especially since she’s the first woman to be presented a key by Stephenville mayor Kenny Weldon.
“I have so many trophy saddles and buckles I can’t even tell you where they are, but this is one of the coolest awards ever. I’ll be keeping up with this for sure,” said Crawford, beaming as she accepted the key from Weldon on Good Friday morning at the ranch owned by Jackie and her husband, world-class team roper Charly Crawford.
“I sincerely appreciate what you do, and for me to be able to give a little token back from the city to signify that is an honor,” said Weldon. “It’s not much compared to all you have done, but this signifies the tie that binds this community together.”
It’s a bond that has grown from agricultural and rodeo roots.
“Sometimes we don’t even realize it, but rodeo and agriculture are the core that bring us together,” Weldon said. “Likeminded people gather together and that’s been really neat for me to see. That’s why I returned to this area, my wife and I.”
And it’s what brought Charly, Jackie and their daughters to the Huckabay community.
Good Friday served as kickoff day for one of Jackie Crawford’s famed roping schools. Pulling into the ranch at 7:30 a.m. Friday, one was greeted by a line of trailers belonging to students eager to learn from the best.
And being the best is something Crawford has down pat.
The Key to the City was meant to specifically recognize her 2015 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association All-Around title, but it also recognizes the career of Crawford, 32, which has been nothing short of astounding.
Crawford once won six world titles in a three-year stretch that saw her claim all-around and calf roping championships each year. She won both titles in back-to-back years again 2012 and 2013. She is chasing the record of 17 world titles held by another local resident, Stephenville realtor JJ Hampton.
“I’m still three short of the record, still chasing JJ,” she said with a laugh.
Yet another, even bolder goal, is out there for Crawford.
Having won virtually every significant title on the women’s side, Crawford is looking to break barriers by competing against – and defeating – her male counterparts, even if that means roping against her husband, himself a four-time qualifier for the National Finals Rodeo.
“I want to break the barriers and beat the men. I know it can’t be in calf roping, but in team roping I think it’s possible,” she said.
And she’s already begun proving as much.
In 2013, Crawford qualified for the semifinals of the RFD-TV The American as a team roping header. She also team roped with two-time NFR tie-down roping qualifier Marty Yates of Stephenville in the prestigious California Rodeo Salinas.
Mayor Weldon was especially appreciative of Crawford’s efforts to break such barriers and of her school that brings aspiring ropers to the Stephenville area, many for the first time.
“I think what you and others are doing is a lot bigger than the sport because you are influencing and impacting lives,” Weldon said. “That’s bigger than any sport.”
Big enough for a Key to the City.
“It just means so much because of what the key symbolizes,” Crawford said. “It’s not just about everything I’ve won, It’s about who I am and where we live. This is about representing Stephenville and doing it with class and that’s something I take great pride in.”