Cowboy Shop Classic Roping
Scroll down for more pictures
by Dawn Ballou and Clint Gilchrist
August 28, 2005
The Cowboy Classic Roping is held in Pinedale each year at the end of August. This annual roping is for Sublette County and LaBarge residents only, or by special invitation. This year there were approximately 90 participants. These cowboys and cowgirls were paired off in to teams of two with a header and a heeler. Some of the ropers were as young as 12 and as old as 80, testing their skill at one of the most fundamental cowboy arts. The Cowboy Shop Classic is sponsored by the Cowboy Shop in Pinedale and the Sublette County Sporting Association.
For those unfamiliar with team roping, hereís how it works. Each roper ropes in 6 rounds with randomly selected partners. There is a "header" and a "heeler", and they are timed as a team in each run to rope the horns and back legs of a running steer.
The steer gets a head start from the chute. The header rides up on the left side of the steer and the heeler on the right to try and keep the steer running straight. The header then attempts to throw his rope around the steerís horns, but around the neck is also acceptable. Once the header catches the horns, he dallies (wraps) his rope around his saddle horn, turns his horse sharply to the left, and turns the steer away from the heeler. This give the heeler a chance to then follow and throw a loop to try and catch the steerís hind feet.
When the back feet are caught, the heeler dallies his rope around his saddle horn, stops his horse and pulls back. The steer is stretched between the two horses. When the steerís back feet (or foot) is pulled of the ground, the time stops. This is indicated by a judge, also on horseback, waving down an orange flag.
Each teamís roping takes about 5-15 seconds. Any time in the 6 or 7 second range is really good. An average time with no penalties is about 10 seconds. If the header breaks the barrier and does not give the steer the proper head start, a 10 second additional penalty is added to the teamís time. If the healer only catches a single back foot, there is a 5 second penalty for the team.
Winners & Prizes
The individual header and heeler with the collective best time over 6 runs each win the event, cash, and a handmade Cactus Saddlery saddle. Dru Roberts and Troy Stoll were the saddle winners this year.
The 3rd through 8th in the average are awarded McGee Brothers Buckles and cash awards. Buckle winners in order of 3rd through 8th were Chad Espenshied, Billy Graig, Chris McGee, Mike Stevie, Bill Gransden, and Barney Holmes.
The fastest time for each round also is awarded a cash prize. Just for fun during the event, there are randomly selected prize steers with a ribbon tied to their horn. If the header and heeler rope that steer in under 10 seconds, they win an additional prize (ropes, boots, or bracelets). All entrants received a free shirt.
Photos by Clint Gilchrist, Pinedale Online!