I don’t like to use a brand-new rope in competition, so I make sure to prep it at home in the practice pen before I head off to a jackpot.
Fresh Outta the Twisties
When I take the twisties off, I check to see where my hondo is tied. I can’t use it if it’s tied too far to the outside, because that gives my rope too much backswing.
I like them tied like that, because that keeps your rope from wanting to hang and kick, causing you—if you’re heeling—to rope a right leg. But that means you’ve got to get them broke in first to get the hondo where you really need it to allow for a better delivery without as much backswing.
I like to stick my rope on my saddle horn or on a round post, uncoil it to where there are no twists in it, and get a couple of pulls on it. That will help straighten the hondo out and straighten the loop out, taking the overload of backswing out of the rope.
I’ll get 10 or 12 runs with a rope, with a couple of light dallies in those runs, to get my rope right. I want my loop hanging dead straight.
At the ’Pot
Make sure you take care of your rope during the day. Every single time at a big outdoor roping, I’ll take my rope off my horse and go put it in the shade. It will feel better and last longer throughout the day. Don’t just leave it on your horse—if your horse shakes, he could shake the rope off your saddle horn and get in a bind, or he could step on your rope and trash it. Don’t take that risk: find a good shady spot for it, and keep it there.
I don’t like switching ropes throughout the day, especially if one’s feeling good in a jackpot. Even if my rope starts feeling old, I’ll keep using it throughout a jackpot as long as the loop itself feels good. TRJ
Want more? Matt Sherwood has hours of instruction—including a full clinic experience—on Roping.com.