Things Team Ropers Say

Things Team Ropers Say

So, you wanna be a team roper?  You have gone out and bought the boots, hat, and horse.  You have yourself a truck and trailer.  You’ve got a rope bag full of ropes, rubber on your saddle horn and you are ready to snap some necks and cash some checks!  But before you ride into that arena, you need to perfect your team roper’s lingo.  Here’s a little lesson on how to talk the talk.

“Can I write a check?”

We could pretty much learn how to be a cowboy in a matter of 102 minutes just by watching The Cowboy Way, but the most important lesson we could learn from Pepper Lewis is how to write a check.  I mean honestly, that’s the whole reason every roping now-a-days advertises CASH ONLY.  If you don’t saunter on up to the secretary’s window, shuffle through your wallet a bunch of times, ask how much it costs to enter even though it is CLEARLY stated on the ad posted on the window right in front of you, observe the CASH ONLY sign written in permanent marker on notebook paper and taped directly under the roping ad, AND STILL ASK TO PAY WITH A CHECK…are you really even a team roper?  Unless you are absolute team roping VIP, the answer will most likely always be “NO”.  Lucky for you, a lot of producers now take a credit card!  And that’s when you thank God that you live in the 21st century.

Start A Tab

Being a team roper is tough.  I mean, you show up to the roping, you practically have to have a suitcase full of money, you rope so good that everyone wants to rope with you so you enter up in every roping…I mean, don’t the producers know that you can only take $200 out of an ATM at a time?!  You can’t carry that much cash on you.  You’re not a drug dealer!  So, what do you do?  You ask to start a tab, of course!  You’ll pay em back when you win.  And if you don’t win…well, you can always write a check…

“How’s the cattle?”

Here’s the proper process for finding out how the cattle are for a particular roping.

  • Ask Carlos. “Who is Carlos?” you may be wondering.  He is the best chute help that team roping has ever known!  He is the only one who will tell you the honest truth about every steer in the bunch.

You can try to ask the producer, the stock contractor, or the other ropers, but there are no guarantees that they will tell you the truth.

If someone rides up to you and asks how the cattle are, you need to first and foremost feel flattered because they think that you actually know what you are talking about!  Then you need to answer with one of the following responses:

  • “They run.” Feel free to elaborate by using expressions such as, “run like a striped ass ape,” “run like a scalded dog,” etc.
  • “They suck.” This speaks for itself but you can easily go into detail with things like: they drag, they’re heavy, they go left, they run right, they’re uneven, they’re head-duckers, and so on.
  • “Slow.” Only say this if you’ve torn the barrier down on one or if they are actually really fast and you want to throw off your competition.
  • “They’re good.” Because you are a team roper, the cattle are never actually good.  This is what you say when you don’t know, you don’t care, or you don’t like the person who asked.

Ask The Flagger For Another Steer

Let’s face it, if we miss…it’s not our fault (more on that in a minute).  As a team roper, you need to perfect the art of asking the flagger for another steer.  This involves more of a look than actual words.  Basically, what you are going to do is stop your horse as soon as you throw your loop and miss (even if it’s your fault, blame it on the steer), then you want to snap your head around quickly and look the flagger RIGHT IN THE EYE.  If he doesn’t acknowledge you, then he isn’t going to give you another steer.  But, you need to ride up the arena and ask for one anyway.  You’ll hold up the roping and the odds of you actually getting another steer are slim, but hey, it’s always worth a shot, right?


As a team roper, you absolutely must have an arsenal of excuses.  These can be customized to your liking but they all need to start or end with, “we would have won the roping,” “we would have won the round,” or “we would have been high call.”  Please see the following examples:

“We would have been high call if my partner didn’t miss all three steers!”

“If the flagger wouldn’t have held the flag, we would have won the round.”

“If my header didn’t break the barrier and I didn’t slip a leg, we would have won the roping.”

The Blame Game

This goes hand in hand with excuses…use them interchangeably.  As a team roper, you can blame your poor team roping on almost anything.  These are all things that you can blame when you aren’t winning: your horse, the steer, the chute help, the flagger, your partner, the handle, the haze, your rope, the ground, the barrier, other ropers, crowd noise, the song playing in the background, your spouse, your kids, you drank too much beer, you didn’t drink enough beer, you haven’t eaten, you ate too much, you had to pee, the sun was in your eyes, it was windy, it was dusty, your fingers were cold, it was raining, there was a dog in the arena, there was a kid in the arena, it was too dark, it was too bright, you were worried about money, you had money in your pocket, your phone was ringing, someone put a hat on your bed, you were wearing yellow, you weren’t happy with your place in the draw, the secretary said your name wrong, your partner talked to you while you were in the box…the possibilities are endless!  You can literally blame your bad roping on ANYTHING or ANYONE.

Complain About Your Number or Someone Else’s

At the end of the day, if all else fails, just start complaining about your number to anyone who will listen.  It’s obvious that you didn’t win because everyone thinks that you are better than you really are.  If only you were a number lower, you could have roped in that lower numbered roping and won!  While you’re at it, you should also complain about someone else’s number.  It’s pretty clear that the only reason they roped so good and beat everyone is because they are under-numbered!  They shouldn’t even BE in this roping!  I mean really…you would have actually had a chance if that shark wasn’t entered up!

This is just a small sampling of team roper vocabulary that you’ll need to perfect before you can really call yourself a team roper.  Just like roping the dummy to fine tune your loop, you need to perfect this lingo in the practice pen so that it may be utilized during competition!  If you are going to walk the walk, you oughta be able to talk the talk.

Disclaimer:  This is a satirical blog post.  At we don’t condone this behavior and believe the fastest way to improve your team roping is to humble yourself and realize your pitfalls…then work on improving them.  We also know that team ropers are some of the most kind, helpful people on the planet.  The author comes from a team roping background, competes in team roping, and loves her team roping family.  She is a firm believer that if you can laugh at yourself, you will never cease to be amused.

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