Levi Simpson’s Tips for Getting Past the First Steer at The Big Daddy Open
Levi Simpson breaks down his first round steer at The Big Daddy Open Ariat World Series of Team Roping in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Situation: First round at JX2’s The Big Daddy Open Ariat World Series of Team Roping in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Time: 6.88 seconds

Outcome: Won the roping with a time of 28.38 seconds on four head, worth $11,160 for the team


The steers were fairly fresh, so the start was kind of tricky. I just tried to start out aggressive and get ahead of the pace early on so that, at the end of the roping, we weren’t having to try to catch up. It ended up working out really good. We made three really good runs in the first three rounds and ended up being high-team back. The short-go I don’t think went as planned for most people, so it ended up being pretty easy when you’re high-call back and you have to be 9.3 or something to win the roping.

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At the rodeos, especially this year, there’s been 100 entries everywhere, so you have to just go for broke every time and your heeler has to throw fast. It was nice to go to the jackpot where everyone is going to try and go catch four.

I thought it was pretty good for me to go to a jackpot where you can score the steers out and try to run your horse in there and keep him free because, since we’ve been rodeoing, my horse can get a bit snug from going as fast as possible.

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We hadn’t seen a whole bunch of steers go yet, but they were plenty fresh. Some of them wouldn’t start and some took off and ran. I just tried to make sure I got an aggressive start and ran right to him and got him roped. I thought I got a hold of this steer really good and set him up for Shay to heel on a decent short rope. I got the steer squared up early enough so Shay could heel him fast and we could start off with a good, aggressive fast time.


I’ve been working on getting my horse to step up and out when I rope. Instead of pushing over to the right and holding my horse in, I’ve been just kind of pulling my left hand straight back so that, through the turn, his shoulder won’t drop. I pick his front end up and get him on his hind end. I slow him down through the corner so I can get the steer squared up faster. Here, I’m just sitting in the saddle and pulling straight back so he’s not dropping out through the corner.


This is Stetson, and in this setup, you had to let the cow out and then read the cow when you’re scoring because it might run and it might not. Then, you had to run to them and some of them were plenty fresh and not really taking that good so, if your horse was ducking out of there, then the steer wasn’t going to handle very good and give your heeler a good chance. He’s been the type of horse that’s stayed real forgiving and allowed me to run in there, catch a steer and stand it up and make it real easy to heel. Or, if you need to rein him off, you can widen him out pretty quick to get the steer turned a little faster. He was definitely an advantage in Cheyenne. He scored really good all day, ran hard to the cows, rated the cows off and handled the cows so my heelers could get them roped.

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f) LEGS:

I try to ride all the way with my legs kicking, essentially, to get my horse to go. When I’ve got a steer roped, and kind of as I’m roping, I’ll really keep my right leg on my horse and keep his body up. Everything that I’m doing is to try and keep his left shoulder up and his hips underneath him so he can get on his hips and turn through the turn there and control the steer a little easier. Most of the time, you’ll see my left leg is always going to have contact to not allow him that freedom of an opening to go left.

g) SHAY:

He’s been doing a good job for me all year. He gets into a good spot, so he keeps the steers going the same direction. I don’t need them hazed one way or another, other than just don’t let them go somewhere crazy. As long as I do my job and control the steers through the corner, he can be there to have a good throw on the first jump.

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