Industry Partners Ariat, American Hat Company, and Rattler Rope Help Tell the Story of Christy Bridges
Christy Bridges is no stranger to facing the obstacles rodeo can bring. A mother and business owner, she put her breakaway roping career on hold eight years ago when her horse suffered a career ending injury and focused instead on goals outside the arena. This summer however, she wasted no time in returning to the top of her game. Just three weeks after purchasing her new rope horse, she qualified for RFD-TV’s The American, no small feat. Although as difficult as that was, she felt up for the challenge because she has been overcoming obstacles her entire life. Christy was born with Hereditary Optic Atrophy and is legally blind.
Associated with inherited genetic mutations, Hereditary Optic Atrophy leads to continuous damage to the optic nerve and a narrowing of the field of vision. Despite this, Christy has never let her vision slow her down. A Missouri native, she has been roping since she was ten years old and qualified to the National High School Finals Rodeo twice in her career. The five-time Amateur Circuit Champion hung up her rope in 2012 and has since married and started a business with her husband, Andrew, and had a daughter, five-year-old Amelia.
After her vision deteriorated to the point that her doctor began adding more restrictions, Christy was more determined more than ever to live life to the fullest. She went on a hunt to find a partner to chase her reignited rodeo goals. The search led her to Whistle Jo Jack, a 16-year-old quarter horse affectionately known as Paris. Just three weeks after purchasing Paris, Christy entered her first American Qualifier. What might have seemed like a gamble to many, paid off when the pair caught their calf and punched their ticket to Cowtown Coliseum for The American Semifinals. Christy credits this success to her dedication to live her life, so people forget she is blind.
The sport of breakaway roping itself has overcome many challenges in the rodeo arena and is gaining popularity each year. 2019 was the first year the event was offered at The American and since that inclusion it has been added to the schedule of many professional rodeos. Nineteen-time Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Champion Jackie Crawford has been instrumental in bringing attention to women’s breakaway roping and jumped at the opportunity to meet Christy. Like Christy, Jackie understands the balancing act required to raise a family, operate a business, and rodeo. “We appreciate Jackie bringing us this inspirational story about Christy Bridges. At Ariat, we believe hard work, determination and a relentless pursuit of your goals makes dreams come true. Christy and Jackie exemplify those who ‘Bring It’ every day, and we celebrate them” says Susan Alcala. The rodeo industry is hopeful that these women will inspire other mothers and their children alike to chase their dreams in and out of the arena. Billie Bray of Rattler Ropes stated, “Rattler rope appreciates the opportunity to work with Christy to help her accomplish her goals. We hope it inspires all of us to accomplish our own goals to do what we love to do.” The future of the sport looks bright with these two paving the way.
Moving forward, Christy is excited to build on her partnership with Paris and continue to enter rodeos. She is not the only one eager to see where her determination will take her. “We have been so excited about this project! We love Jackie and what she represents. She’s an amazing person and a great role model for women everywhere. It’s great to see that she’s inspiring Christy to continue following her dreams and not let anything hold her back. Hats off to both of these ladies for being an inspiration to young girls everywhere” stated Keith Mundee of American Hat Co.
Follow Christy’s social media platforms to keep up with the journey of her and Paris.
Facebook: Christy Bridges (username @ChristyBridgesBreakaway)
About Ace High:
Amanda Shaffer of Stephenville, Texas, has more than 15 years’ experience within the western sports industry. Working for facilities like Ruidoso Downs Racetrack and companies with extreme influence like Western Horseman, Professional Bull Riders, and The Cowboy Channel she gained knowledge of rodeo as a sport and built a network of professional athletes. Amanda created Ace High Strategic Marketing to promote the sport, recognize athletes as professionals, and showcase sponsors who help grow the industry. Her platform creates an opportunity for athletes and sponsors to make the most of their relationships allowing each of them to promote one another. Consulting, small business marketing plans, and event planning are all part of her services.
Ariat was founded in 1993 to reimagine the boot for modern riders, ranchers, and farmers. Our pursuit of functional innovation has raised the bar for performance, fit, and craftsmanship all in service to Ariat’s global community of world-class athletes, Olympians, and people like you. Our products are designed to outperform in the most demanding environments. Ariat is now one of the top western, equestrian, outdoor, and work brands in the world. The company takes its name from Secretariat, the greatest racehorse of all time.
About American Hat Company
American hats are made in Bowie, Texas, and use many of the same processes from over 100 years ago, from each felt hat being hand finished, to the brim on every straw hat being cut and sewn by hand. By hand-making our hats, we can ensure the quality of each hat that we box and send to our customers.
About Rattler Rope
Rattler carries a full line of products designed for team roping, calf roping, breakaway roping, and goat tying. Rattler is dedicated to your success through leading innovations in ropes, consistent strings, and quality products for competitors at all levels of competition. Rattle Rope- nothing comes close.