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CropTalk: Disability? More like Dis(ability)

May 2021

Published on Monday, May 10, 2021

Christy Bridges may have lost her ability to drive a car, but her ability to rope cattle has not faltered, even after an 8-year career hiatus. As the wife of a Beck’s dealer, mother to Amelia, and a professional breakaway roper, Christy redefines the limits of having a disability.

Christy was born with Hereditary Optic Atrophy and is legally blind. However, Christy uses her dis(ability) as an opportunity, rather than an obstacle. For her, it’s daily life. For others, it’s an inspiration to never give up on your dreams.

Learning from her dad, Christy began roping at the age of 10. She competed with her lovable but business-minded horse, Johnny, in a variety of rodeo events. As time went on, there was one event that Christy became hooked on: breakaway roping.

“It was quicker and faster-paced, and I just loved that challenge of everything happening so quickly,” Christy explains.

In 2012, Johnny suffered a career-ending injury that forced Christy to put her dreams on hold. Without her horse and other life callings, she took an 8-year pause.

Fast forward to June 7, 2020, Christy brought home a new horse, Paris, to relaunch her breakaway roping career. It was only three weeks later when Christy received jaw-dropping news. “I had to hold back tears,” she shared at her reaction to receiving the qualification for 2020 RFD-TV’s The American, an event that unites top competitors from across the world.

Prior to this prestigious qualification, Christy won five championships within a three-year period, and she has no plans of stopping. Christy has big goals set for herself that include making it to AT&T Stadium at next years RFD TV’s The American, but she still strives to live day by day. Christy continues to have a humble mindset and is thankful for the individuals who have helped her through her journey.

When asked about her role model, Christy immediately responded with breakaway roping champion Jackie Crawford as her person of inspiration. Christy says of Jackie, “In and out of the arena, she’s got a heart of gold.” Alongside Jackie, Christy acknowledges that she couldn’t do what she does without the help of her husband, Andrew. As a Beck’s seed dealer and business owner, Andrew still finds the time to work with Christy to pursue her dream. “He’s not just my driver; he’s out there with me practicing... I just know it wouldn’t be possible without him.”

When she’s not breakaway roping, Christy works as a speech-language pathologist, a substitute teacher at her daughter Amelia’s school, and also helps Andrew operate his small business.

Christy has learned a few things over the years that she shares with anyone who may be facing a disability of their own. She advises, “You just can’t let it stop you. You have to keep trying. Every challenge is different. Every person is unique. You have to find what works for you; there’s no cookie-cutter approach. And then, once you find it, you’re going to be unstoppable.”

Christy Bridges is without a doubt unstopp(able). To her, she perceives her disability as an ability to do something she loves. Her journey is truly a redefinition of the opportunities a dis(ability) can bring.

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Author: Hannah McGee

Categories: CropTalk, 2021

Tags: CropTalk

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Hannah McGee

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