Old Timer’s Rodeo Association hosted first ranch roping jackpot in LanderWritten by Melissa Hemken
Lander – The Lander Old Timer’s Rodeo Association (LOTRA) hosted its first ranch roping jackpot on March 14 at the Association’s arena. The jackpot had 18 ropers from Wyoming and Idaho.
Ranch roping events focus on quality horsemanship and stockmanship in a competition format that requires teamwork and showcases functional and intricate roping techniques.
The ropers are assembled in teams of three – one roper to rope the head, one to heel and one to work the ground. The ropers hold a rodear of about 10 head of cattle in the arena and have a maximum of four minutes to head the steer, heel it and stretch it out by both front and hind legs.
Starting an event
The Lander event grew out of the ranch roping practices held at the LOTRA arena during the winter months and was organized by Leif Videen and Bill Bartlett, both of Lander.
“Leif and I went to the Northern Range Association event in Riverton about a year and half ago, and it was a lot of fun,” said Bartlett. “We were at one of our ranch roping practices one night and decided to host one here as the Northern Range had disbanded. The way things worked out we had two weeks to plan it and it was a bit of a scramble. We put it on Facebook and the jackpot got a lot of interest right away.”
Barlett added, “There aren’t many ranch roping jackpots around here, and the ones we see are based on quick times and less on style and stock handling. The points for the difficult loops make ranch roping competitions unique. They are more like going out in somebody’s herd and keeping things slow as we don’t want the cattle all jazzed up.”
The ropers are given points according to legal catch and type of shot: overhand, side arm, offside overhand, scoop loop, houlihan, turnover, hip shot or backhand. Only leather horn wraps are allowed, ropes must be at least 50 feet in length, and no tie downs are permitted.
Dwight Hill and Travis Allen, both of Driggs, Idaho, served as the judges to call the type of shots thrown and verify points earned. Hill and Allen are both heavily involved with the Teton Basin Ranch Roping Series in Driggs, as well as competing in other ranch roping events.
“It’s amazing that we had so many participants for an event that wasn’t advertised and had such a short time period to get word out,” Bartlett said.
“Ranch roping has its roots going back to the California vaqueros and their stockmanship techniques that they inherited from Mexico and Spain,” Bartlett explained. “The cattle herds were moved to open range in Nevada, Oregon and Idaho, as California made the law that you had to fence livestock on the land, and the vaqueros followed them. The cowboys in that region continue on the traditions of roping stock with big loops and head and heel their calves at brandings.”
The teams were assembled via draw, and first place went to Hill, Videen and Kaden Waddell of Driggs with 69 points. The second place team was Hill, Sam Ingalls of Kinnear and Hollis Givens of Arapahoe with a score of 63. Ingalls, Harley Wilcox of Driggs and Tyrell Jensen of Driggs earned third place with 57.