There are two main ways to rope the horns: Right to left, and both at the same time. When I’m helping people, I don’t care which style they use. I just want to make sure they know that their target has to match their style. That’s probably the biggest problem I see with ropers in their deliveries.
People will say they rope good all day, and then they get to the short round and things fall apart. I feel like that’s because they’re trying too hard to focus on executing, but there’s no way to know how to execute if you don’t have a target you’re 100% confident in. And that target must match the way you’re roping.
Roping Right to Left
Position: When you’re roping right to left, you cannot be so far to the left of the steer that when you swing your rope, the tip of your rope isn’t outside the tip of the right horn. I like to be in tight on the steer if I’m roping right to left, coming straight out of my swing from the right horn to the left horn with my pinky being the bottom strand and my thumb being the top strand. You cannot come out of it with your hand flat, because your strands are parallel and there’s nothing to catch the horns as you’re going across. I will see people take their hand the whole way across, but their hands are parallel. If you see people who rope both horns at the same time, their delivery is flat. But if you’re roping right to left, that’s not the delivery for you. Position is everything when roping right to left, making sure the bottom and top strands are separated when you come across. I’ve got to start from a position where I’m already covering the right horn so I can bring it across.
Target: You’ve also got to make sure that you’re swinging outside the tip of the right horn. You are looking at the right horn, because you need to be sure your tip is outside the right horn and you make sure you carry it across.
Roping Both Horns at Once
Position: When you’re roping both horns at once, position isn’t as important as when you’re roping right to left. This is how Open ropers rope, so their position varies. As long as their targets and angles are the same, they can get it done. You can be close, you can be far, you can be wide, you can be tight.
Target: The biggest mistake people make in this style of roping is focusing on the right horn. The target needs to be the base of the left horn. When people make the transition from roping right to left to roping both horns at once, they’ll start roping both horns at once but don’t move their target. So when I’m roping both horns at the same time, I just want to make sure my swing is level, because I’m going to be delivering to my target flat. It’s important to make sure your angle of your swing isn’t rocked up or down, but if you err one way, it’s better to have your angle down to be sure you’re under the right horn. Everything is level, you focus on the base of the left horn and you deliver straight to it.
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