The Comeback: Kory Koontz Bounces Back from Sixth Callback in Ariat World Series of Team Roping Open Roping
Twenty-two time NFR qualifier Kory Koontz talks about how he won the Mathews Land & Cattle's Ariat World Series of Team Roping Open Qualifier with Cody McCluskey.

SITUATION: Sixth callback in the Mathews Land & Cattle’s Ariat World Series of Team Roping Open Qualifier short round in San Antonio, Texas

TIME: 5.74 seconds

OUTCOME: First in the roping with a time of 34.8 seconds on five head, worth $4,870 for the team. 


In an earlier round, I might not have put myself quite as far up beside the steer, but, on this last one, I wanted to be a little more aggressive. I moved up trying to get a little bit of a haze on the steer, but I didn’t want to shove him left. He ended up coming to me, so I got a little pinched in between the right fence and the steer. I went ahead and trusted that my partner was going to roll him and that my horse would come back across and give me a fast shot.


Since I brought him back after the wreck I had in January, he’s been outstanding—on the money. I’ve been able to ride him in every different situation I’ve been in, whether it’s just been a catch-type run or if I need to be real aggressive and be fast. It’s gotten to the point to where I quit worrying about how I’m riding him or how I’m setting him up. I’m just trusting that, when I put him in a position for wherever I want to be and how I want to rope, he’s just going to react to it and give me my shot.

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My loop is kind of big and open, coming over the top of my head. The last few years since roping with Dustin (Egusquiza), I’ve worked on getting my rope in position sooner than I used to. I used to bring it up and almost have my hand up above my head a little more. My loop wasn’t in necessarily perfect position to come right out of it and throw. After roping with Dustin and having to get ready sooner, I’ve started trying to leave the box and swing my loop more in position so, when I turn the corner, I’m ready to deliver. My loop is in position so that, when the steer turns, all I have to do is see the timing and see when to throw my loop. 

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He stuck it on him and rolled him right in front of me. He has been real disciplined in scoring, riding to the steer and then setting it up so that I have easy shots. He has real consistent handles. He was real disciplined at this roping to rope the steers, step out in front, roll them and let me tee off on them. That’s what we did. We let the steer dictate what our run was.


My tendency is to get in early, and Remix knows that. If I ask him at all or I don’t hold him, then we will step in and basically block the steer off. I do that as a safety mode because I feel like that’s the place where there’s no chance of missing. If I’m going to stay up and be a little more aggressive and kind of go around the steer to set up for a faster shot, then I’m going to have my left hand up and to the right to hold my horse’s front end up and around and to set myself up for the first hop. I’m almost right against the fence and the steer is right next to me, so I don’t want to cover him up. Even though I’m close, I can hold my horse and hold his left shoulder up. As that steer comes in front of me and clears, I will still have the space I need to rope right in front of me and come tight.


It goes hand-in-hand. My left leg is in him holding his rib cage up and square. My right foot is also in him and I’m squeezing to keep my forward momentum as the steer is fixing to turn so I can move up and around the corner. I want to keep my horse’s shoulders and hips in line with each other. I don’t want him to start dropping his front end and then let his back-end swing around. That kills his momentum. I want to keep his butt down and shoulders up moving around through the turn to set my shot up and finish strong and come tight. 

Finding the Perfect Corner with Kory Koontz 


I always aim to be balanced and in an athletic position. I want my shoulders square. I don’t want to be swiveled in the saddle so that I have more weight in one stirrup than the other. I want equal weight in my stirrups, and my shoulders in line with my hips and the balls of my feet. That way, I’m real balanced and I have power. I ride to my shot. I don’t lean and look for the shot. My goal is to ride sharp until the shot presents itself. 

4 Tips for Balanced Riding with Kory Koontz

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