roping, the only true team event in ProRodeo, requires close
cooperation and timing between two highly skilled ropers – a
header and a heeler – and their horses. The event originated
ranches when cowboys needed to treat or brand large steers and the task
proved too difficult for one man.
The key to success? Hard work and endless practice. Team roping
partners must perfect their timing, both as a team and with their
Similar to tie-down ropers and steer wrestlers, team ropers start from
the boxes on each side of the chute from which the steer enters the
arena. The steer gets a head start determined by the length of the
ropers spend long hours perfecting their timing with each other and
their horses. One end of a breakaway barrier is attached to the steer
and stretched across the open end of the header's box. When the steer
reaches his advantage point, the barrier is released, and the header
takes off in pursuit, with the heeler trailing slightly further behind.
The ropers are assessed a 10-second penalty if the header breaks the
barrier before the steer completes his head start. Some rodeos use
heeler barriers too.
ropes first and must make one of three
catches on the steer around both horns, around one horn and the head or
around the neck. Any other catch by the header is considered illegal
and the team is disqualified. After the header makes his catch, he
turns the steer to the left and exposes the steer's hind legs to the
heeler. The heeler then attempts to rope both hind legs. If he catches
only one foot, the team is assessed a five-second penalty. After the
cowboys catch the steer, the clock is stopped when there is no slack in
their ropes and their horses face one another.
important aspect to the event is the type
horses used by the ropers. The American quarter horse is the most
popular among all timed-event competitors, particularly team ropers.
Heading horses generally are taller and heavier because they need the
power to turn the steer after it is roped. Heeling horses are quick and
agile, enabling them to better follow the steer and react to it moves.