You all are a funny bunch, and I’ve got to tell you why. You see, I’m married to a fencing contractor. He’s a pipe/arena/run geek. When I shoot video or photos at Trevor Brazile’s or Ryan Motes’ place, my husband zooms in on the return alleys or the gate latches or the welds on the boxes.
After my last trip to Trevor’s, that husband of mine grilled me on why Trevor likes the wide sheet-metal boxes he’s got in both his indoor and outdoor arenas. Funny, I thought, but I went ahead and asked Trevor to explain so my husband could add that know-how to his arena-building memory bank.
Trevor’s answer (which you’ll find on page 80) gave me and Assistant Editor Kaitlin Gustave an idea. Surely there are more cool arena features that the best in the world rely on to maximize their practices, right? What parts of their arena construction can’t they live without, and what would they change, knowing what they know now?
We started making calls for that story right in the middle of the summer run, thinking it would take guys weeks to send someone to their houses to measure their boxes or their return alleys or full arenas. Well, we were wrong.
These guys could rattle off the distance from the center of their chute to their return alleys faster than they’d remember their anniversaries or their kids’ birthdays. Knowing all I know about team ropers, I was still surprised by their down-right obsession with perfection when it came to their practice pens. But it makes sense, right? Your home arenas are the places that make or break a great roper or a great horse, so you deserve only the best when it comes down to it. If you’re planning your own dream arena or making changes to what you’ve already got, I think these insights from world champions and NFR cowboys will make your job a little easier.
So I guess it doesn’t take being a fencing contractor/team roper to make you care about these arena details. I’m all for leaving the arena-building up to the professionals, but maybe this information will help you come prepared to that first meeting with your fencer.