Team Roping News
Team roping news from around the Web. Please scroll down to see a brief article on team roping, including photographs of the three legal head catches, and also links to shopping for team roping items.
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Team Roping Basics
Team roping is a competitive event in which two contestants compete as a team. One contestant, the "header" ropes the head of a steer and the other contestant, the "heeler" ropes the heels. It is a timed event in which the fastest time wins. While team roping is competed in by men more commonly than women, depending on what (if any) governing body (such as the USTRC) sanctions a team roping one or both of the contestants may be a woman.
At the start of the team roping event a steer is standing in a box or chute with a gate at the front. The header, mounted on a horse, is to the left of the steer. The other half of the team, the heeler, is also mounted on a horse and is to the right of the steer. When the header nods his (or her) head the steer is let loose into the arena with a running head start. After the steer has reached the end of his head start a barrier in front of the header (usually a small diameter rope) is released so that both the header and heeler can begin pursuit. If the header does not allow the steer his proper head start (known as "breaking the barrier") the team is assessed a time penalty. Depending on what set of rules are followed, the time penalty is typically 10 seconds.
The Legal Catches
When the header ropes the steer there are only three legal head catches: Around both horns, around the neck, and a half-head (around one horn and under the neck). A legal catch for a heeler is any loop behind the shoulders of the steer as long as the loop went up the heels. Catching both heels is the ideal for speed and control. If a heeler catches only one heel a time penalty of five seconds is applied. The time is stopped when both ends of the steer have been roped, the slack is out of both ropes, and the header has turned his horse to be facing the steer and the heeler.
The Three Legal Head Catches In Team Roping
Below: Around both horns.
Below: Around the neck.
Below: A half-head (around one horn and under the neck).
To see the three legal head catches on live cattle, please see this definition on the letter "T" page in our cowboy dictionary: Three Legal Head Catches.
Did You Know?
- Team roping is sometimes called "dally team roping" because team ropers dally, or wrap the rope around their saddle horn after they have made a catch. Dallying is opposed to "tying hard" which means that the end of the rope is tied to the saddle horn. In some cases tying hard is permitted under team roping rules (for example, for contestants over or under a certain age) but dallying is far more common.
- "Cross-firing" in team roping is illegal and will result in a no-time. While the definition of cross-firing can vary, in general it means that a heeler cannot throw his heel loop before the header has roped the steer and exhibited control. Often, this means the header must have dallied and changed the direction of the the steer by pulling it with his horse.
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