When Luke Brown was riding Rockstar, he really wanted to break more toward the pin. That required me to score more and leave the steer straighter and have enough trust that he’d take care of me as far as not moving the steer too fast. With other horses, Luke has wanted them leaning left more.
ROOM TO THE RIGHT
Lovington, New Mexico, is a big arena with a lot of room to the right. You know there’s no possible way the steer can go right, and it’s your responsibility to be the wall. You have no chance of winning if that run goes to the right.
Rodeos like Sikeston, Missouri, are famous for the boxes being set down into a triangle. If the steer even looks left, you can’t make a run on him because there’s zero room for the head horse to go anywhere. You have to be a step later than you’re even comfortable with.
At a jackpot—like the USTRC or World Series—headers get a more consistent start on the steer and scoring isn’t as big of a factor. As a heeler, you can feel late. The head horses can really run, so you can feel panicked. Even if you get a decent start, the boxes are longer. By the time you’re catching up, the header has it on them. But that means you’re really only one or two swings away from being in the right spot. Hazing isn’t as big a factor there because there’s not much you can dictate. If you had a smaller jackpot, without a heel barrier—those are the ropings where arena conditions and the kind of steer you rope have a lot to do with it. The more patterned jackpot steers are going to want to step to the right more. You can be a little more aggressive with the steer and try to hold them up. If they feel a heeler, it will slow them up just a bit. You can really pick them up and slow them down to help the header catch up.