What is Team Roping?
Team Roping is a rodeo event that features a steer being chased by two mounted riders attempting to cast ropes to catch the steer. The first roper throws to catch the front of the steer by the horns (although catching by the neck or the nose and one horn is still legal) to turn the steer so the 2nd roper, often called the heeler, can throw their rope around the heels of the steer.
Roping, the Rancher’s Sport
Roping dates back to the 18th century when Spanish cabelleros worked on ranches and these cowboys developed this technique to catch and restrain animals too large to be handled by one man. After the Civil War when the cattle business boomed to meet the needs of the growing eastern states, the eastern cattlemen moved west, creating a tough job market for the working cowboy. Eventually they had turned to Wild West Shows which combined theatrics, competition and prize money for participants. They created a numbering system for ropers to compare their talents against one another (headers 1-9, heelers 1-10) and made full scale competitions for prize money to compete for; Team Roping had been born. Team Roping is a pinnacle in the rodeo community and is one of the only sports based on the actual utility of the technique for the working cowboy and is also the only rodeo sport in which women and men can compete together or against each other equally.