Staying competitive after getting your number raised
This month I want to talk about my daughter and being a #6 has changed our training and drills. Hali roped at her first USTRC Finals as a #3 when she was 12. In teaching her, the most important thing was safety, and then to have a high catch percentage. When she first started, I cut her rope off so she only had one coil. The object was to leave the box, ride across the line, swing and be ready to rope when she got there. And she was roping horns right to left.
Actually she only had one coil until she was a #5. Because if she rode correctly, that’s all she needed. She didn’t need to reach and that served her very well through Junior High School rodeo. I think she only missed one steer each year of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. That’s a very good catching percentage. She has risen to the occasion with every number change, but this #6 has been more challenging.
With those fundamentals, she won the #11 Shoot Out two years in a row. After the finals we went to an Extreme roping in Stephenville where she didn’t win much, but roped outstanding. Afterwards she was moved to a #6. I called the Global Numbering office the other day,\ to find out her stats. As a #6 she has entered 74 times and placed four times. This #6 card has caused us to completely change her style of roping.
Now she has to learn to rope both horns at the same time and rope on the gain. There are lots of #4+ and #5+ boys who can reach two coils. When we got moved to a #6, she could barely drop one coil. Her foundation was built on riding a good horse and not making mistakes.
Recently I uploaded a video on speedroping.com about changing from roping right to left to roping both horns at the same time. I talk about the things we had to fix and how we had to completely overhaul the way we rope. I don’t believe roping both horns at the same time is the best way for beginners to learn to rope. If I did, I would have taught my daughter to do that. It’s very inconsistent and makes it easy to split horns or wave off.
However, there are benefits. Now we’re learning to use our ability and not just rely on our horse. I have her riding practice horses where she comes across the line and has to throw her rope on the second or third swing, no matter where the cow is. And we are starting to get where we can catch some.
This weekend at the high school rodeo, she drew a bad calf that ran extremely hard. I had her use a head rope and two coils. We’ve actually been using a head rope in her breakaway practice to work on her reaching. It paid off on this calf. She was 2.6 and 2.7 and caught him from a good distance both times. Those videos are also on speedroping.com. I’m excited with the progress she’s made in the last few months.
As a #6 you can’t go catch and set the run up when you draw runners. You have to learn to reach and be able to create shots. Having that versatility is one of the things we’re working on right now. Granted, when you’re in the short round and you need to just catch, roping right to left is a much higher percentage shot. On the other hand, roping both horns at the same time looks cooler and gives more range to overcome when you draw fast steers. You’re able to reach and not have to run them to the back end.
What is your roping style? If you’re missing, splitting horns, or waving off, you might want to work on roping close. It’s like playing golf… you have to be able to make the putts. You have to catch in the short round. Knowing when to use your rope and when to use your horse is important at every level.
What’s new with me: I enjoy watching my kids work at and improve their roping. We use the Speed Trainer daily to break habits and overcome weaknesses. Gabe’s weakness is dallying and we do a lot of drills to address that. Hali’s weakness is reaching. We get to spend time working on those things without wearing out horses.
For the last few years I’ve primarily focused on private schools. I’m actually in the process of putting up a covered arena at my place so I can teach some bigger schools. We’ve got Hali a breakaway lane and have been doing some breakaway clinics as well.
I’m very grateful that both of kids want to do something I’m able to help them with. You watch videos of what we’re working on at speedroping.com.