RODEO 101 - TEAM ROPING

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Team roping requires close cooperation and timing between two highly skilled ropers - a header and a heeler - and their horses. Team ropers start from the boxes on each side of the chute from where the steer enters the arena. The steer gets a head start determined by the length of the arena. One end of a breakaway barrier is attached to the steer and stretched across the open end of the header’s box. When the steer reaches his advantage point, the barrier is released, and the header takes off in pursuit, with the heeler trailing. A 10-second penalty is added if the header breaks the barrier before the steer completes the head start. The header ropes first and must make one of three legal catches on the steer or is disqualified--around both horns, around one horn and the head or around the neck. After the header makes his catch, he turns the steer and exposes the hind legs to the heeler. The heeler then attempts to rope both hind legs. If he catches only one foot, a five-second penalty is added. The clock is stopped once the steer is caught, the horses face one another and there is no slack in their ropes. If one or the other misses completely, the team receives a no time. Another important aspect to the event is the type of horses used by the ropers. Heading horses generally are taller and heavier because they need the power to turn the steer after it is roped. Heeling horses are quick and agile, enabling them to better follow the steer and react to it moves.

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