New to Roping? Here’s What You Should Know

May 17th 2021

New to Roping? Here’s What You Should Know

If you’re brand new to the world of team roping, we’re here to help you understand where this unique rodeo event originated. People from all over the world flock to rodeo events to watch team roping, and the skillwork between rodeo athletes and horses can be incredibly exciting. Let’s take a closer look at team roping and what is involved in this rodeo event.

A Brief History of Team Roping

Team roping originated in the Old West. At the time, it was necessary for two people to rope full-grown animals that were too large to handle by one person. Today, team roping is a timed event that relies on the cooperation and skills of both cowboys and their horses.

Team Roping: What You Need To Know

The first roper is known as the “header.” This is the person who ropes the horns. Once the steer has been caught, they will turn it left so the hind legs can be roped by the second person. This person is known as the “heeler.”

The header will start from the left side of the roping box, while the heeler starts from the right. When the header is ready, they will call for the steer, and someone will open the chute.

Once the steer is released, the header and the heeler follow closely behind. It is now up to the header to rope the steer using one of three legal catches.

  1. A clean horn catch around both horns of the steer.
  2. A catch around the steer’s neck
  3. A half-head catch around the steer’s neck and one horn.

Once the steer has been roped, the header will dally on the saddle horn & go left. At this point, the heeler will follow and rope the steer’s hind legs. Once the hind legs have been caught, the heeler will dally and the header will face their horse. As soon as the steer is stopped, an official will drop the flag and the time stops. 

*A five second penalty is added for roping only one hind. 

*There is also a 10-second penalty for breaking the barrier.

Perfect Practice!

If you truly want to become a competitive roper, you must practice on a regular basis. We provide ropers with the highest-quality roping tools on the market that will help perfect their roping skills.

At Heel-O-Matic Training Systems, we’re passionate about making roping supplies and training aids that help you practice your roping skills correctly. Some of our most popular training products include:

The Bones 2.0

The BONES 2.0, from Heel-O-Matic, is the most advanced portable heading dummy on the market, combining a look and feel rivaled only by roping live cattle. The BONES 2.0 features an anatomically correct head, a lower headset, and gives headers the most common look they see roping live cattle. This helps ropers practice the proper swing angles, loop placement, and muscle memory to rope the horns.

The Feel:

The BONES 2.0 comes with a horn wrap and medium horns, but is also made of a hide-like feeling material. This combination gives ropers a realistic look and rope action to help them develop a feel for their rope and ability to handle their slack.

  • New lower headset help’s ropers form, swing angle, loop placement
  • Hide like material more realistic feel when pulling your slack
  • Standard bones horns are all interchangeable
  • Back storage compartment can be used as a cooler for drinks

As one of the most advanced heading dummy’s on the market, you’ll love everything that this roping dummy has to offer. With an anatomically correct head and a new, lower headset, ropers can practice swinging their rope at various angles, loop placement, and more.

The Drifter

BEST FOR: Headers and Heelers; Horse Trainers


Three-Stage Washout:

  • Improves driver’s ability to produce a range of realistic corners
  • Allows ropers to practice for every cattle type, from a fresh steer to an older steer, by setting the amount of washout
  • Allows ropers to train a heel horse to respond to both them and the steer, keeping the horse framed up and in their lane

Collapsible Deluxe Legs:

  • Produces a more hide-like feel in your delivery
  • Allows for a more realistic feel from dally to finish

Spring-Loaded Tongue:

  • Reduces the jerk to the roper’s horse, machine, and driver, while allowing the roper to finish strong to the saddle horn

Machine Suit:

  • Deadens the initial contact of the head loop to provide a more realistic rope action VS any slipping from the plastic.
  • Aids in the consistent action of the washout

Heel-O-Matic Training Systems

If you’re shopping for essential roping supplies and dummies to help you reach your team roping goals, be sure to check out Heel-O-Matic Training Systems online today. We carry a wonderful selection of training systems and accessories to help you improve your roping skills. #PERFECTPRACTICE