Practicing vs. Roping (Down the Line, Stran Smith)

I love to rope, and when I just rope, it’s a lot of fun. To me, that’s making three to six runs on a couple of horses. Flank and tie some, but not enough to get sore. Practicing is something totally different.

Practice needs to be strategically planned to be effective. You need to be smart enough to know what you need to practice on. Professional athletes focus on overcoming their weaknesses. If you’re not sure of your weaknesses, find someone knowledgeable that can help you pinpoint those areas.

Practice is not necessarily fun, but I’ve made myself love it. When I walk into my arena to practice, I visualize that I’m punching a time clock. To feel like I’ve really practiced, I want to wear out a couple of ropes and a pigging string. I have calluses on my hands from tying and if I practice to my standards, I’ll be sore for a few days.

To practice like that, it takes a lot of horses and calves. Don’t go run twenty or thirty head of calves on your horse. That’s not practice and you’ll trash your horse.

If you have trouble catching, get a breakaway and learn to catch like that. You can do a lot of groundwork without a horse, though it does take a lot of calves. Making runs is fun, but look at like running a business. Keep your strengths sharp, but focus on your weaknesses and work at that. Be strategic and have a thought out plan for your practice.

Congratulations to Cory Solomon for winning Calgary and $100,000. He’s a great young man who ropes well and has a bright future ahead of him.

Until next time, God bless, and I’ll see you down the line. If there’s something you would like me to write about, please send me an email at