By Speed Williams
First I want to congratulate the new world champions, Clay Smith and Paul Eaves, for winning their first world title. Also, a big congratulations to all the champions of the World Series of Team Roping Finale. There was some life changing money won there this year, more than we’ve ever seen before. The #10 set a record by paying $376,000 to split.
The neat thing about this sport is when you back in the box, it doesn’t matter what you won yesterday. After I won my first world title, the first roping I went to was the jackpot in Odessa. I ran two steers and missed them both. A new world champion and the first two steers kicked my butt. Every time you nod your head it’s a new steer. Your steer has no idea who you are or what you’ve accomplished.
Now is the time to look back and evaluate your roping for last year. Take a look at your horsepower and your fundamentals to determine what you need to do to improve. That comes from preparation time and the quality of your practice. The little things come into play in a big way in how success you’ll be.
If you’ve never filmed and studied your runs during practice or competition, you’re missing a huge opportunity to analyze and improve your fundamentals. Why wouldn’t you when you can win almost $200,000 a man? Look deep and hard at your preparation if that’s something you want to try to do.
This year I had Priefert build a new training tool to help my kids and clients ride their horses better and to help them learn to use the reins and their legs. We introduced this tool, the Speed Trainer, in Las Vegas during the NFR. It was amazing the difference it made in headers from #4 to #9 ropers. The majority of ropers do not like to rope the steer close to their horse. My point is when you draw the slow steer at the roping and the box is 24’ long, and all he does is take a step when you’re running wide open to him… no one practices that. Most team ropers don’t practice catching that cow. You’re leaving home to go to a roping but you don’t want to draw the slow steer that you get on top of.
That is the one cow that you need to be able to catch. Because you don’t want to have to go wide and move out or pull your horse off and take two or three more swings to be able to catch him. That takes time. Sometime it’s hard to get in the exact right spot. So you need to practice catching from different places. Practice roping the cow you struggle with. It’s important to prepare for the cow that will take you out of the roping. Always prepare for your weaknesses.
What’s new with me: On the way to Vegas we took Hali to rope at Wickenburg. I have not been there during this time of year and it was an eye opening experience. There are team ropings all day every day of all numbers. They had 300-400 teams in the #13 and #14 ropings for $150/man. She won a little there. Since there’s no age cap she roped in the #14 in Vegas but we didn’t do any good.
During the NFR we had a booth set up at the Convention Center near the Junior NFR arena. I did a lot of one-on-one lessons using the Speed Trainer. It was amazing watching people improve in a short period of time. When we rope the dummy on the ground, we’re not accountable for what our legs are doing. It doesn’t always transition well once we’re horseback. There were several guys that came back every day to rope on it and it was great to see their improvement.
I got some great feedback from guys who roped at Vegas. We had some reaching matches and “going fast” matches using a stop-watch.
For details about the Speed Trainer, check out my videos at speedroping.com