Sunday, January 23, 2011

I am a Team Roper's Wife

I have been a Team ropers wife for as long as I can remember. Heck, I would have to say most of my married life. First off, let me tell you what Team roping is so to clear any thoughts that you have of  it being like a rodeo...

Team roping evolved into a sport 
when a couple of cowboys some
where, many years ago, turned
 a common ranching procedure 
into competition.  The procedure,
 used to secure a steer so that he
 could be branded or doctored, is
 for two cowboys  to rope the front
 and hind ends of a steer and stretch him
between their horses. 
Team Roping competition, begins 
with a steer in a chute and ropers on
 horseback to either side. A run
 begins with the steer being released
 from the chute  and given a head start
 down the arena (known as the 
barrier distance, about  10-15 feet), 
after which point  the ropers may give 
chase. The first roper (the header), 
comes up on the steer's left  side and,
 throwing his loop,  ropes the steer
 around the horns or neck. Next, the 
header secures the steer by wrapping
 the rope remaining in his hand around
 the saddle-horn (called dallying). After
 making his dallies, the header will then
 steer his horse to the left across the
 arena, pulling the steer behind him.
It will now be the job of his partner 
(the heeler) to follow with the steer,
 approach from behind, and  skillfully
 throw  his  loop so that it encircles 
both of the steer's hind feet. The heeler
 will finish the run by stopping his horse
 while  simultaneously dallying his rope
 around his saddle-horn.  All of the action
 in a team roping run usually occurs in
 a time  span under 15 seconds (sometimes
 even less than five). And time is of the 
essence, as the team that performs their job
 the quickest wins the event. 

Time is called by an arena judge (the
 flag-man or flagger who waits until 
both ropes are taut and each ropers'
 horse is  facing the steer. At that instant,
 he will drop his flag, signalling the timekeeper
 to stop the clock and record the 
team's  time. Penalties can be added to
 the team's total elapsed time; if a team
 begins chasing before the steer has
 traveled the length of his alloted head
 start (called breaking  the barrier or
 breaking-out) ten extra seconds will
 be added  to the team's time. If the heeler
 is able to rope only one hind foot,
 the penalty is five seconds. And, of course,
 if either roper  misses his target, the
 team receives no score for  the run 
(a no-time). 
Most USTRC ropings are four-steer 
averages (also  called four-headers), 
meaning that a winning team must 
catch four steers consecutively AND
 make their runs cumulatively faster than 
any other  team in the competition. 
If a  team misses just one steer, they're
 out of the money.  But if they've roped 
 four steers with a total time less than any 
other team, they've won a bunch of money 
and maybe  a trophy saddle or buckle. 
Its a combination of skill, horsemanship, 
 team work, and luck that is fast, furious, 
and fun for ropers from under twelve to over eighty.
A Team ropers wife is there to support her husband, watching
hours into the day, sitting in the stands with the wife's of other 
ropers, who have become her friends. And then there are those
roping's she may not know a soul. Some arenas are not in doors,
nor do they all have bathrooms. Some have bleachers, others
have grassy areas you can park your lawn chair. I really prefer
the covered arenas even if I do carry a portable butane heater to 
stay warm in the winter and a fan in the summer. And let me tell 
you, you make a lot of friends quick when you have either one. 
Team ropers wife is also the "go get it person " and the 
watchman. Honey, will you go get my other rope? Honey, will you
bring me something to drink? Honey, will you watch my coat? 
Honey...honey...did you see that last run I just made? Sure... I 
didn't really cause I was talking with the other wife's in the stand 
or shopping in the exhibits down be-hide the bleachers...Opps! Sorry!
A Team ropers wife needs to have a lot of patience and a whole
lot of things to keep her occupied in the bleachers. Besides my 
heater, I carry a blanket to sit on and pad those hard sits, a small 
cooler with a couple of drinks and something to snack on that would 
be good for me and not have to buy that ten dollar leather hamburger,
or that four dollar bottle of water. I also carry my laptop, an 
extension cord if there is a place to plug into, some magazines, 
and my cell phone. I rarely get help toting all this to and from the 
horse trailer which is parked back in the north forty behind the 
barn. A Team Ropers wife is also the travel agent. Most of the bigger
roping events, like the one we are at this weekend, is not always 
local, nor in the same state, so I have to get us hotel reservations 
way in advance or take the cheaper trip and sleep in the horse trailer
which means no bathtub, using a port -a- pottie, and  having no blow
dryer for your hair....unless you have a living quarters horse trailer 
like this one parked beside us this weekend.....I could only dream....

We down sized this past year to a
bumper pull, two horse slant, with 
small dressing and tack room. It does
hold a travel trailer port a 
pot but no bed like our last one we had.
A Team ropers wife needs to really love her cowboy! Be his cheer 
leader while he's out in the arena roping , his banker when he wants
to get another run for another hundred dollars or his teller when he
wins some money, and his friend to cheer him up when he loses 
because his heeler missed in the forth rotation and they would have
been first.
I am a Team ropers wife and proud of it! I cant think of anything 
else I would rather be doing than share something my husband loves
doing and watching him have fun at what he loves! 

This weekend we are at Kinder, Louisiana at a USTRC Bayou Championship Event. James is in the # 10 tonight and the # 9
tomorrow after Cowboy Church. He won some money here last 
year and this year...lets just say...'sometimes chickens, sometimes
feathers", but always FUN!


  1. Hope u had a good time . Sorry u didn't win anything!

  2. James you must really love the sport to keep at it, when you had surgery on the shoulder and mild stroke...You just keep getting back up on that horse..YeeHaaaa RIDEM COWBOY!!!!!Love RH

  3. Interesting Betty! I always wondered about this and you explained it well! If I were traveling, I'd like that trailer, too!
    Judy Elaine


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