Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Team Roping

What do you get when you put together 2 cowboys, 2 horses, and 1 steer?

Cowboys team roping, that's what!

I walked into a cowboy's dream: horses running, dirt flying, sweat dripping, ego's boasting, and caught every minute of it with my camera.

This is how it went....

Cowboys and their horses are like boys and their toys.  They love them, depend on them, and expect them to perform to outshine their counterparts.  I learned roping cowboys should be classified as their own breed.  They are are a class of good-ol'-boys that stick together.

Ropers bring their horses dressed to impress with saddles previously won, embellished with engravings to prove it. 

They proudly display shiny buckles on their Wranglers showing off a win too.

Sitting in the stands like a the other fans, I started off taking pictures of the cowboy teams from my vantage point. 

I quickly grew impatient with shots containing fences! 

Fences are no fun to look at.

 I needed to get in the arena where I could get some up close and personal shots of what roping is all about.

So off I went, I was going down, whether the horses liked it or not!

Fortunately, as I was going down the stairs, I ran into this cowboy, Judd, who is a friend and neighbor, and he escorted me right where I wanted to be, inside the arena right next to the cowboys, a couple of cowgirls, and the horses.  

That's when the fun began for me.

I wanted to get right in there and take the shots up close where all of the action was happening.  I could hear the horses hooves pounding as they ran by me and hear the lasso whipping in the air which made it an experience I won't soon forget.

For those that don't know the purpose of team roping there's a few things one ought to know to understand.

The steer is let out of the gate to get a running start.

He runs like there's no tomorrow.

The first cowboy chases the steer with his lasso swinging in the air.

I think they call him the header, but I could be wrong.

The steer runs faster, knowing a rope is gonna get him.

The first cowboy lasso's the horns on the steer's head.

The funny looking helmet on the steer's head is head-gear = protection.

The second cowboy, there's a name for the guy who chases the rear, but I can't think of it right now, tries to lasso the back two feet of the steer.

This all is done in record time, they hope.

If they win, they win big money, saddles, shiny silver belt buckles and probably more stuff that I don't know about.

Here we go...the steer is off and running.

Hopefully he runs away from me.

I'm not wearing red.

Oh, never-mind he's not a bull.

The first cowboy lassos the horns, and the second cowboy is ready to lasso the back legs.

These two team ropers did a great job.

I noticed something else about the ropers, they all have certain facial expressions that represent their hard working minds.

Cool as a cucumber.

Did I mention that most of the cowboys wore pink in honor of breast cancer awareness? 

Well they did.

And they wore it proudly.

And they looked darn nice in pink!

Maybe it's a sign of how good the roper is.  I noticed the more expressions and tongues sticking out, the better they did.

Something to think about.

 Did I mention there were a couple of cowgirls roping too? 

There were only three, they all did a great job, and they all wore pink too!

The day was great, watching the perfectly organized event, one where I was much happier on the ground than on a horse.

I even enjoyed the dirt and chunks flying at me while trying to capture the action.

Not really.

It was fun to see our friends, who happen to be brothers, sons, and uncles roping together.

And it was really great to see the next generation of ropers out learning and team roping with family.

What a great day, hope you enjoy too!
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