Rodeos only team event
team event in professional rodeo, team roping requires close cooperation
and timing between two highly skilled ropers a header and a heeler.
The event originated on ranches when cowboys needed to treat or brand
large steers and the task proved too difficult for one man.
As in other timed events, the team ropers start from boxes on each side
of the chute from which 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 then stretched
across the open end of the headers box. When the steer reaches its
advantage point, the barrier is released and the header takes off in pursuit,
with the heeler trailing slightly further behind. If the header breaks
the barrier before the steer completes its head start, the ropers are
assessed a 10-second penalty.
The header ropes first and must make one of three legal catches on the
steer around both horns, around one horn and the head or around
the neck. Any other catch by the header is considered illegal, and the
team is disqualified.
After the header makes his catch, he dallies the rope, turns the steer
to the left and exposes the steers hind legs to the heeler. The
heeler then attempts to rope both hind legs. If he catches only one foot,
the team is assessed a five-second penalty.
After the cowboys catch the steer, the clock is stopped when there is
no slack in their ropes and their horses face one another.
Another aspect vital to the event is the type of horse used by the ropers.
The American Quarter Horse is the most popular among all rodeo competitors,
particularly team ropers. Heading and heeling horses are trained separately
for their specialties. 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 its moves.
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