This picture was taken at the Steve Johnson Memorial Roping in Gill, Colorado, this May. Colorado in May can really get windy, and this day was no exception. I started the day thinking I’d like my usual Cactus Future XS head rope, but after the first one, I went back and got a Whistler MS out of my rope bag and that’s what I stuck with the rest of the day. A heavier rope makes roping into the wind a lot easier.
You’ve got to keep your focus and just keep swinging, even if the wind blurs your eyesight. You just try to outlast everybody. That’s all you can do, and it’s hard to stay focused. It’s mind over matter.
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Swing Speed and Power
Sometimes at a jackpot I get to swinging fast from the start. When I’m roping into the wind, I want to pack my rope until I’m only three swings away from the steer, because if I’m swinging fast the whole way running to the steer, I’ll lose momentum on my rope.
This should go without saying, even for me, but reaching is obviously a lot harder in the wind. That means I want to use my horse and ask him to run the whole way to the steer before I throw.
I know I can’t let off when I deliver in the wind. I have a bad habit of that anyway, so when I’m roping in the wind, I really try to make sure I follow through. In the wind, you don’t have near as much action on your rope, which can cause you to wave it off.
Big-horned steers are harder to rope in the wind. On bigger-horned steers, you need to let off to open everything up, but if you let off in the wind, it won’t get there. You’ll split the horns and have no action to it. I believe in big swings, but too big a swing in the wind like that won’t be good.