Should Your Kids be Roping Toy Dummies and Goats?
Written by: Speed Williams< Back to Articles
The other day while at a Junior Rodeo, I was asked my thoughts about roping dummies like the Quick Fire, Super Goat, Hot Heels, and goats. Some parents think this creates bad habits and won’t let their kids rope them. When I was growing up there were a few heelers who didn’t rope goats or toy dummies and were successful. Now days I haven’t talked to many young successful ropers who have not.
As for myself, when I was young, I roped anything that moved. Including my dad’s cow dogs until it got me in trouble. One day he had a bull in the woods and when he picked up his rope to rope the bull, his dogs scattered like quail. He came home and lined all the kids up and we received a serious scolding about roping his cow dogs. He bought me some goats and turned them loose. When I got home from school, that’s what we roped. There was no more roping the dogs.
Yes, bad habits can be created roping the Quick Fire, Hot Heels, Super Goat, Fast Lane, or even goats. But many good habits can also be created using these tools. Your kids can rope so much more without wearing a horse out. It will improve their rope handling ability while they learn correct angles they will need to rope steers.
These are great tools that provide opportunities for kids to simulate situations they will face in the arena. When you’re roping goats or dummies with them – instead of making runs just for fun, make it worth something to them. If they catch so many in a row, or catch in under so many seconds, then let them win something of their choosing. Maybe going to a movie, what to eat for dinner, etc. Set a goal they can achieve by accomplishing a feat with their roping.
We have been booking a lot of schools for kids at the indoor arena in Santo. We cut 25’ off the back of the arena and built a small arena for my son to rope goats. When I was young I roped goats anytime I wasn’t doing something else. Gabe has put in many of hours roping goats. It’s helped him with his rope handling ability and he is learning where to place his rope.
They can also learn a lot about competition. It provides a lot of necessary repetition. That’s the name of the game, making repetition runs. Your horses can only handle so much. This provides a place they are able to move their feet, swing their rope, and create the angles they need to rope. Currently, it’s 9 p.m. and after we’ve had a school all day, I’m working the chute right now for Gabe to rope goats. He loves it and we have a USTRC roping coming up.
No matter what you rope, the hours spent learning to handle a rope and being able to control it are valuable. So much of roping is math and learning to create the angles. That’s why I’m a huge fan of kids getting a lot of opportunities to rope anything.
We just had a ten-day road trip to South Dakota and Nebraska teaching schools and private lessons. I was very impressed with how much my kids improved in their own roping by doing all of the drills. My daughter sat and listened to me teaching schools and telling stories about my father and when I was young. I think she enjoyed that more than anything.
I’m thankful they can both help out at schools heading and heeling. I will be uploading some videos soon at speedroping.com of Gabe preparing for USTRC and Hali getting ready for Junior High Texas State finals.