Down and Dirty (Down the Line, Stran Smith)

Many ropers become intimidated when they have to rope in the mud. Since I’ve just come from Bremerton, Washington, where it’s been raining for a week and since mud played a role in the Best of the Best roping in Springfield, Missouri, I thought I’d talk about it this month.

During the first two rounds the arena was dry and the best time at that point had been a 7.9. During the lunch break, before the third round, it rained straight down and the arena became muddy. They give a $5,000 bonus for the fastest time and I joked that whoever had the 7.9 would be tickled because it probably wouldn’t be beat in the mud. However, in the third round there was a 6.6, a 7.0 and a 7.5 and as it turned out, the 7.9 wouldn’t even have placed in the third round.

After the third round, they take the top four and have another three head roping. This year the top four were Trevor Brazile, Ryan Jarrett, Cimarron Boardman and Josh Peek. Congratulations to Trevor for winning the roping and $45,000. A big thanks to Jackie Moore for having this event; it’s a great opportunity for all of us.

When the elements play a factor, the top ropers compensate for that and don’t let it intimidate them. If anything, in this case, they sped up. Most of the time roping in the mud is not as bad as you think it will be. Worst case scenario is that you have to take five steps in it.

Personally, roping in the mud make me do things more correctly. I can’t afford to get myself out of position, especially on the ground, and I can’t just move any which way. I try to concentrate on my position.

There’s a good chance my horse will be slower and may have trouble catching up or getting in position so I’ll be ready to compensate for that by reaching. I know when I start that’s a possibility so I’m prepared for it. Anticipate that your horse won’t be as smooth because it’s almost like he’s lunging and jumping causing your body to move more. Again, anticipate this and be prepared for it.

When I get off, I really try to have myself in control because it’s easy to over run yourself in the mud and not very easy to change directions and move your feet. I’m very conscious of every step being the right step. I don’t give a lot of thought to flanking but I am very deliberate in my movements.

When you expect these things and are prepared then it won’t be an obstacle you have to instantly overcome. No one likes roping in the mud, but remember when you have to – so does everyone else.

Until next time God Bless, and I’ll see you down the line.