EATON — Team roping is gaining popularity all across the United States.
Team roping is the only true team event in professional rodeo. It requires close cooperation and timing between two highly skilled ropers and their horses. The event originated on ranches when cowboys needed to treat or brand large steers, a task which proved to be too difficult for a single cowboy to handle alone. The key to success in team roping is the same for all sports: hard work and lots of practice.
The two contestants in team roping are called a header and a heeler. The team roping partners must perfect their timing with each other and with their respective horses. Similar to tie-down ropers and steer wrestlers, team ropers start from the boxes on each side of the chute from where the steer enters the arena. The steer gets a head start, the length of a start is determined by the length of the arena. One end of a breakaway barrier is attached to the steer and stretched across the open end of the header’s box. When the steer reaches this advantage point, the barrier is released, and the header takes off in pursuit, with the heeler trailing slightly behind.
If the header breaks the barrier before the steer completes its head start, the ropers will be assessed a ten second penalty. The header ropes first and must make one of three legal catches on the steer: around the horns, around one horn and the head, or around the neck. Any other catch by the header is considered illegal, and the team is disqualified. After the header makes a successful catch, he turns the steer to the left and exposes the steer’s hind legs. If he catches only one foot, the team is assessed a five second penalty. After the ropers catch the steer, the clock is stopped when there is no longer any slack in their ropes and the horses face one another.
A reminder to everyone — team roping is part of the upcoming International Professional World Championship Rodeo, produced by Broken Horn Rodeo, at the Preble County Fairgrounds, Aug. 1, at 7 p.m. Locals and permits will be accepted, phone entry will take place July 25, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Reach Mim McLeroy at the Broken Horn Rodeo at 937-392-4608 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.