God Loves Team Ropers!
It started out as just another two hour practice, with a jackpot following, on a weekly practice night. It was at a local arena where everyone knew each other. It was really an uneventful practice until some things started to get a little bit out of hand.
We are used to people having a little horse trouble. There are always horses that are fresh and may buck someone off or rear in the box and make everyone feel a little uneasy for a bit, but what happened this day was a whole different sort of thing.
I recently received a phone call from a friend of mine who I’d not heard from in a while. He called to see if I was still actively roping. I told him I had slowed down a little, but was still trying to rope a couple times a week if time allowed. A former bull rider, he said that he thought he needed to start roping again. He had ridden bulls for about 12 years and had retired about three years ago. His talent had taken him to the PBR for a few years and he had made a living without too many injuries.
The National Finals Rodeo is the best of the best. I usually watch it every night from home. I was fortunate this year to go to Las Vegas for a few days and enjoy one night live as well as some of the Cowboy Christmas. It was a fun atmosphere to be a part of, except I really missed the commentating of Joe Beaver. He seems to know every cowboy and every animal in the roping and steer wrestling timed events.
When I started roping I didn’t have any idea what it took to be a team roper. I had ridden most of my life and trained some, but roping was a totally different deal, especially at 47 years old. I didn’t know that there were actually people you could go to for lessons. I was just desperate to rope so I went wherever there was a practice that was open to everyone.
Growing up next to my grandfather’s ranch in Oregon was a great experience. My grandfather was a horse trader and bought and sold livestock of all kinds. He trained working dogs and raised about 200 fighting chickens as well.