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Practice, Practice, Practice! live in south-central Missouri, and I like to rope. My dad works on the Jacks Fork River Ranch. I enjoy helping him doctor, gather and work cows, tag calves, or do anything else that needs to be done. I really like roping in the pasture and in the arena, which is what I am going to tell you about. We rope calves in the pasture when they need to be doctored, and we try to keep it as low stress as possible. When we rope in the pasture, we fi nd the calf we need, and cut it out of the main group with a small bunch of other cows and calves. If we cut it out of the bunch by itself, it would know that we were after it, and it would take off running and be twice as hard to catch. After we get the little bunch by itself, it is easier to get them in a corner before we try to rope the calf we need. If it is a bigger calf that we are roping then we try to head and heel it so it is easier to hold onto. Heeling a calf in the tall grass in the pasture is hard! After we get it caught and lay it out, we take the rope off of its head and put it on its front feet so that it doesn’t choke while it is lying there. Or, if we caught a front foot in with its head we leave it because it Grace practicing heeling the dummy at the Rodeo Bible Camp that she attended last summer. can’t choke like that. For letting the calf up when we are done, the people holding the ropes on the front and hind feet release at the same time and give the calf enough slack that it can walk right out of our ropes. Last summer, I went to a Rodeo Bible Camp and learned how to breakaway rope. It was really fun, and I learned a lot! Arena roping might not look that hard, but it takes a lot of practice to get good! When you are in the box ready to rope, it is important that you wait until the calf’s head is up, and it is standing straight before you nod for them to open the chute. If the calf has its head down, or is crooked, then you will most likely either go before the calf and break the barrier, or the calf will hang up for a second and then take off when you aren’t ready. That happened to me once, and if the calf gets ahead of you, it’s hard to catch back up with it before you run out of arena. …plus a few more roping tips Editor’s note: Grace wrote an article for Working Ranch Junior in 2012, titled How I Learned to Rope. Back then she was working hard on handling her loop and making a good catch. She’s still working hard on her roping skills and has some new things to share with us. ERIN MENDENHALL I GRACE JOHNSON, MISSOURI, AGE 16 18 I WORKING RANCH JUNIOR I SUMMER 2016


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