team-ropingThe Team Roping partners must perfect their timing, both as a team and with their respective horses. Team ropers spend long hours perfecting their timing with each other and their horses. Similar to tie-down ropers and steer wrestlers, team ropers start from the 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 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 slightly further behind.The ropers are assessed a 10-second penalty if the header breaks the barrier before the steer completes his head start.

Some rodeos use heeler barriers too. 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 turns the steer to the left and exposes the steer’s 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.

In 2007 Jake Rodriguez and Gary Ford, completed their head and heel catches in a sizzling 5.0 seconds, setting the fastest team roping time record at Industry Hills Rodeo.