Maximizing the First Swing with Nick Sartain
How Nick Sartain’s masterful first swing maximizes his ability to fire at the line.

When I’m in a scenario with a short score—like an Ariat World Series of Team Roping qualifier or a short-score rodeo—I’m going to have to swing twice and throw. To be clear, this is not the approach I’d take when I just need to go knock one down and get a time. Here’s what I need to focus on in my very first swing to make sure I can deliver quickly and accurately:

Overcoming with Nick Sartain

Swing Direction

A common mistake I see ropers make is that they want to hurry up and just get to swinging, without worrying about the angle of their tip. They get their rope in front of their face, which means they don’t break their rope over to the right enough to get it over the right horn of the steer. I focus on getting my rope out around me from the very first swing, breaking my thumb and my rope over to the right, which allows me to have power to break over and rope the right horn.

The Score: Season 3, Episode 3 with Nick Sartain

Swing Height

At set-ups with a rope barrier, the steer’s neck rope can jerk his head down when it breaks off, causing him to be low-headed. If the angle of my rope is high enough above my head, I can throw downward on a low-headed steer. If my swing is too low and flat leaving there, and the barrier neck rope jerks him down, he’s low-headed and I’ll not hit the horns. 

Being Aggressive on Fresh Cattle with Nick Sartain

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