By Speed Williams
In recent years the team roping jackpot has become a faster event. This happened by eliminating the hardest part of team roping, the challenge of scoring. I am often asked about the World Series start. It evens the playing field for those who can’t practice every day or get to work on scoring. And it gives them a chance to win something. I tell my clients the World Series barrier is a lot easier on headers and makes it easier to find a head horse. By the same token, you no longer have the luxury of being able to catch and win something. By eliminating the hardest part , times are much faster and there are more qualified times.
For those who scored good and had a nice horse – they now have to change their game. You will have to learn to make your horse run more a cross the line. Now you need to be able to rope faster, because making nice eight and nine second runs in a field of 200 teams – chances are you won’t win anything.
That is the most common factor I run into with headers. Now they have to change their game. The biggest change needs to come from the start and the first 30 or 40 feet in the arena. That’s what separates the #4 headers from the #6 headers.
Headers need to stop wasted motions with their arm. They need to be able to swing two or three times and be ready to rope. Gone are the days when headers needed to react to the cow leaving the chute. The pulling back, then running flat out to catch up, often times going way too fast at the back end of the arena, and the embarrassment of getting outrun.
Now, when the gate opens and the cow takes a step, you have to go. You either break the barrier or get out. There’s no pulling because it’s a 5-second barrier and if the cow takes off and runs, your time will be longer than the penalty of a broken barrier. It’s come down to gambling as to whether he starts or doesn’t start.
Those who have worked at scoring and have a nice head horse understandably don’t like it as well. But it evens the field for the average roper with a horse he just holds there until he goes. There are many more who do like it simply because it’s much easier to catch all your steers.
I’ve taught my daughter to score, run across the line, and be ready to rope when she gets there. After the USTRC Finals, many headers had their numbers raised. My daughter, Hali, was raised to a #5+, at just 13 years old. Her catching percentage, scoring, and horse are very consistent. She cannot reach and “make things happen” yet. In my opinion, they got a little ahead of her for what 5+ should be able to do. At the last two ropings where we’ve competed, San Antonio USTRC, and the USTRC Finals, we roped great steers and behind a World Series barrier, the setup was extremely easy. After the USTRC finals, many people had their number raised as a result. The problem is they will probably face other setups, at other ropings, using their new numbers. And there’s a good chance they will find they are not as competitive.
For more on scoring, riding across the line, and being ready to rope visit speedroping.com. There are many videos with drills and instructions that will address problems ropers face. Just use the search function to look for what you would like to know more about. When you visit speedroping.com be sure and enter the drawing for a chance to win six Top Hand ropes.
What’s new with me: We’re now living in Santo, TX, where we have access to a nice indoor arena where we’ve been having lots of lessons. Gabe has been roping a lot, especially when Kaleb and Junior come over. Both kids are roping a lot. Now that my neck no longer hurts, it’s made roping with the guys so much fun. If you’re interested in private lessons, visit the calendar at speedroping.com and look for open dates. You can contact me to schedule by clicking the Help button.