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Lessons From a 10X Wrangler NFR Qualifier, Charly Crawford

Last updated March 18, 2024 by Brook Norris

In the dynamic and demanding world of rodeo, few names resonate as profoundly as Charly Crawford. His journey, from a rodeo enthusiast in Oregon, to becoming a ten-time National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifier, is a tale of grit, passion, and unwavering dedication to the sport he loves.

Early Rodeo Inspirations

Charly Crawford's rodeo journey began in the picturesque town of Canby, Oregon, where his father, a former bareback rider and team roper, instilled in him a deep appreciation for the sport. Growing up around top competitors who visited his father's arena, Charly was mesmerized by the freedom and spirit of the American cowboy. This exposure not only sparked his interest in rodeo but also influenced his eventual choice of discipline within the sport.

The Sport of Team Roping

Team roping, a rodeo event with roots in the practical tasks of ranch work, became Charly's forte. He explains how it evolved from a necessary skill for treating sick cattle in the Wild West to a competitive sport. With categories similar to golf handicaps, team roping offers a spectrum of competition levels, from beginners to professionals like Charly, who achieved a number nine header ranking – the highest in the sport.

A Career Marked by Success and Challenges

Charly's career, which took off in 1997, was marked by remarkable achievements, including ten qualifications for the prestigious NFR. Yet, the path to success was not without its hurdles. The physical demands of the sport, combined with the mental pressure of competing for a livelihood, presented significant challenges. Charly candidly shares the stress involved in balancing the needs of his family, career, and passion for rodeo.

Memorable Moments and Monumental Wins

Reflecting on his career, Charly recalls numerous memorable moments, from winning state championships in high school to triumphs at major events like the Houston Rodeo and Pendleton. Each victory, big or small, contributed to his growth as an athlete and his legacy in the sport.

Transitioning from Competition to Contribution

Post-retirement, Charly's focus shifted towards giving back to the community. Inspired by his father's military service and his patriotic values, he co-founded the Liberty and Loyalty Foundation. This nonprofit organization supports veterans and first responders through clinics and events, harnessing the therapeutic and communal aspects of team roping. The foundation's success is a testament to Charly's dedication to serving those who have served the nation.

The Trainer and Mentor

Today, Charly is not just a retired competitor but a mentor and trainer, sharing his wealth of knowledge through roping clinics. He emphasizes the importance of proper horsemanship and mental preparation, helping aspiring ropers achieve their dreams. His clinics have become a beacon for those seeking to improve their skills, both in and out of the arena.

Supporting Family and Embracing New Roles

In addition to his foundation and training clinics, Charly plays a supportive role in his wife Jackie's successful rodeo career. His transition from competitor to supporter highlights his adaptability and commitment to his family's aspirations.

Charly Crawford: More Than a Rodeo Star

Charly Crawford's story is more than just that of a rodeo champion. It's a narrative of transformation – from a young boy enamored by the freedom of the cowboy lifestyle to a man who has made significant contributions to the sport and his community. His journey reflects the enduring spirit of the American West, a testament to hard work, perseverance, and the importance of giving back.

Through his podcast and various digital platforms, Charly continues to share his insights and experiences, offering a window into the world of rodeo and the many life lessons it entails. His legacy extends beyond the arena, inspiring a new generation of rodeo enthusiasts and upholding the values of the sport he loves so dearly.

Listen or watch Charly's episode below!

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