It’s a beautiful summer night in Jackson Hole, and a cool breeze whirls through the rodeo grounds, bringing smells of dirt, leather, and horses to the crowd. We’re watching the break away competition, and the announcer calls Crystal Wright’s name; she’s on deck to run next. 3, 2, 1 and she’s off, and just as quickly, it’s over.
She didn’t rope the calf this time, and Crystal is disappointed with her performance. But as she is exiting the arena, she sees us in the stands, smiles and hollers with a laugh, “Can you believe they gave me that scrawny cow?!?”. We go find Crystal in the practice arena afterwards, where she is riding her young horse, Rock Star while she waits for her next event, the barrel races.
Rock Star is beautiful horse, and Crystal is elegant and natural and as she tours him around the arena and chats about life, skiing and rodeo. Crystal’s story is intriguing, and the fact that she manages to run her own very successful business, plan a wedding, focus on her professional ski career, and still compete weekly in the Jackson Hole Rodeo is impressive.
We asked her why she still participates in the rodeo, and she quickly responded, “This is my therapy, I love riding and spending time with my horses.” Crystal, who is born and raised in Jackson has been riding since she was 6 years old, and she has an innate strength and drive that along with her loyalty keep her at the rodeo grounds every week.
She loves seeing the familiar faces and even though she doesn’t have the time to practice as much as other competitors, she and her horse give it their all every week. ”The thing I love about the rodeo is it’s really like a family, where different generations come together and learn and ride together, and I look forward to doing this for many years to come.”