with Allen Bach
I saw an Albert Einstein quote on Facebook the other day that really struck me. It said, “If you can’t make things simple, then you don’t understand them very well.”
And even though our goal in team roping instruction is to keep it simple, I think the better you understand delivery, the more steers you’ll catch. I often use the word “revelation,” which means a deeper understanding of something. Certain parts of your roping demand a deeper understanding.
It doesn’t sound difficult to rope four steers in 36 seconds. But it seems like at every big roping with a challenge pen, the house wins big. Why is that? Because most of us are not used to the demand that we not make a single mistake. The way to overcome this problem is to turn your practice pen into a challenge pen.
As an example, I still like shooting free throws with my boys. They get aggravated with me because I’m so competitive. I can usally stand up there after a couple days of shooting around, make 10 straight free throws. When I’ve made nine straight free throws and then miss the 10th- that’s very aggravating. So if I try to shoot 10 in a row and get to shooting pretty good, by the time I get to the seventh or 10th shot, there’s some serious pressure.
Sometimes when I’m talking to a roper, I’ll ask him how his jackpot game is coming. Or I’ll say, “How’s your rodeo game?” Most of the time, he doesn’t realize he’s supposed to have two different games.
One difference between the two is that if you’re playing the rodeo game, you don’t have to catch 100 percent. In fact, a lot of kids have that mentality nowadays. They’re the ones going into the practice pen and setting up to really get after it and make lots of four-second runs. About 70 percent of their practice runs are pretty darn fast, and it feels to them like they had a good practice session. That’s all fine and dandy if you’re rodeoing. Shoot, if you and your partner make fast runs on seven of your 10 rodeo steers and place four or five times, that’s outstanding.
One thing that’s good to know how to do as a header is to rope a steer on the approach. Maybe you’re just reaching from further back in order to get a quicker time, or maybe it’s because you’re riding a horse that works better if you rope a steer coming to it instead of when you’re right up on it.
No matter why you might be roping coming to a steer, I see so many of you not getting as much run out of your horse as you could. A lot of times, this is because you’re trying to ease up on the steer.
When you and the steer are traveling at the same speed, you have a nice, stable throw. But when you want to deliver as you’re approaching, obviously you’re traveling faster than your target. The faster your horse is running, the quicker you’ll be approaching as you throw and that can be uncomfortable for a lot of people.