Heel Rope Game Plan with Cesar de la Cruz
Nine-time WNFR heeler Cesar de la Cruz evaluates the steer size and ground conditions before he decides which weapon he’ll pull out of his rope bag.

Ground conditions

When I show up somewhere, I look at the ground. That’s got a lot to do with rope selection. If it’s deep, that can change how your loop hits. I’m going to try to use as stiff of a rope as I possibly can. The stiffer, the better. If the ground is hard, I’ll use a softer rope because it’s going to want to bounce when it hits the ground. A stiffer rope will bounce if you get aggressive with your delivery. At Cheyenne—the ground is deep there in the middle, so I’ll get the stiffest rope I can find with those big huge steers.

TRJ File Photo

Cattle size

If the cattle are bigger and stronger, I’ll get the stiffest, biggest-feeling rope I can find in my rope bag. If they’re smaller, little native steers like we rope in Texas a lot, I’ll get a softer, lighter rope. That way I can swing a little faster and keep up with their feet. Bigger cattle don’t move as fast, so that’s why I try to get a bigger, stiffer rope for a bigger, stronger steer.


If I go to a rodeo versus a jackpot, especially a situation like Fort Worth that will be faster, I’ll use a stiffer rope because it’s just a one-head, and I need my loop to stay open because I’ll take a faster, more aggressive shot.


If I’m at a jackpot and I’m going to rope 20 steers all day, I want a softer rope that’s really easy to swing. I’m not going to throw on the first hop every single time, so I want a rope that will help me be consistent all day.

Cesar de la Cruz has been testing a new rope for Fast Back Ropes, and it will launch this spring. 

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