Ever since I married my cowboy I have wanted to rope. I grew up riding and working cattle, but we never got into roping. We were more on the cutting end of the cowboying. In fact, I still get cranky when I see a cowboy miss a good cut or turn because he was looking for a better shot to throw his rope. However, I do want to be a real cowgirl and learn to rope.
Over the last couple of years I’ve taken a swing or two with a rope at a dummy- some really intesnse cowgirl stuff. But more recently my husband and his brothers have taken it upon themselves to finally get this roping thing down. They have taken me out on some of their less intense branding days, where there wasn’t too much to get down that I could either slow down or get in the way. Actually that’s not true… I know not to try roping on the busy crazy days because I want to get home before dark or we run out of fire!
It was all good and fun but I wasn’t really figuring it out… Until just a few weeks ago!
I was honestly ready to give up and say that I just didn’t have it in me to be a roper. But The Rancher brought me along to one more branding. He gave me the experienced horse that would take his time (maybe he is slightly lazy…), put on my brand new saddle and I strapped on my new spurs. I had everything I needed to rock this branding. Oh wait- I didn’t have a rope!
We show up to our good friends where we were roping. There were 160 calves to brand and we were ready to get going. The Rancher just grabbed some old rope out of the trailer and we headed out. And I was terrible. I couldn’t hardly even keep my coils straight, couldn’t swing the rope to save my life, and missed every calf I tried for. For as many times I threw that rope I should have caught one by accident, even snagged one as it walked over my loop… but I didn’t.
I was ready to turn in and promote myself to the ground crew when one of the cowboys rode up to me, took my rope and traded it for his. He said there was no way in … that I could catch with that thing! He rode off and I figured I oughtta give it one more go, just to humor him. And guess what happened- I caught!
The very first loop I threw caught a calf! I just about forgot to dally because I was so surprised and so elated. I got my horse turned to the fire and drug my first calf in, get congrats and hoorays from everyone along the way- you would have thought I had just won the lottery for as excited as we were! They slid off my rope and I was out for another calf. I had to try again to make sure it wasn’t just luck, although I was sure that my friend must have rubbed a bit of luck on it. But as I kept going at it I kept catching. It was like I was really figuring it out! There was one time I had my arm up just right, rolling my wrist just right, and threw my rope just right. The rope landed right in front of those back feet just like it was supposed to. I was so excited that I totally forgot to pull my slack and actually catch the calf before he stepped back out…
I went home that day floating on clouds. I wasn’t a perfect roper or the best roper, but that day I finally became a roper. Now that I have my own saddle (because one day The Rancher said, “We need to get you your own saddle” and no good cowgirl says no to that!) some sweet new spurs and my own new rope (full of calf catching luck) I am on my way to being a real cowgirl.
*** I don’t have any picture roping that day, but I do have a few from a few weeks later taken by my sister in law, The Montana Girl.***