Breakaway roper from Stephenville wins big in Oklahoma competition

Special to the Bulletin
Amanda Coleman of Stephenville is pictured calf roping.

Last year, Florida surfer Amanda Coleman moved on her own to Stephenville to spend her final year of high school online, living and practicing with female calf ropers renting a home from Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) world champion JackieCrawford.

“My goal is to make a living breakaway roping,” said Coleman, 19.

She’s well on her way. At the fourth annual Charlie 1 Horse Breakaway in Guthrie, Okla., the rookie beat the world champs to win the first-place prize of $10,000 cash plus a trophy saddle, buckle and more.

The event drew a record 138 girls from across the country. It was the final jackpot of the five- day Wrangler BFI Week, a multi-million-dollar roping extravaganza anchored by the Bob Feist Invitational (BFI) and forced by the pandemic this year to move to Oklahoma from its usual home in Reno, Nevada.

Since 2017, when BFI Week was the first to add a lucrative breakaway roping to the all- girl team roping it has hosted since the 1990s, professional rodeos have followed suit. The trend has inspired countless girls like Coleman.

“Getting to rope with women like this, and for this kind of money, is crazy,” she said. “Who would think you could drive four hours and win $10,000? You don’t hear about things like that.”

True to conditions of the BFI, now in its 43rd year, hard-running calves were given a healthy head start. Just three-tenths of a second separated the top eight heading into the short round, and Coleman reached at her calf to clock a quick 3.49-second run at eighth call-back.

“We paid $800 for my mare, Chica, when she was 2,” said Coleman. “She’s 10 now.”

The leaders yet to rope were her Stephenville heroes — Crawford, who has 19 WPRA world titles; J.J. Hampton who has 17; and seven-time and defending world breakaway champion Kelcie Chase. After Coleman watched Crawford draw a runner and Hampton miss, she was “planning on winning second” because Chase virtually never misses. But Chase’s start was a bit late, and the defending world champ had to settle for second and $7,000.

Coleman’s big win also earned her berths into the Fast Track round of the Women’s Rodeo Championships and into the Rope for the Crown, both scheduled for Las Vegas in December. In the meantime, Coleman and her Texas traveling partners will hit the road for a big Fourth of July run to PRCA rodeos in Wyoming and South Dakota. Coleman formerly team roped, but sold her team roping horses.

“The way this sport is going, I thought I’d better stick to breakaway,” she said.