Working Multiple Events The Difference in Breakaway & Heading
Written by: Speed Williams< Back to Articles
We just got home from the Texas Junior High School Finals in Gonzales, Texas, and I’m proud to say Hali qualified for the National Junior High School Finals in the Breakaway. I almost find it ironic because before junior rodeo she had no interest in breakaway roping. She was a team roper, period. She has come a long way in the last two years in her breakaway roping. Unfortunately, some of the fundamentals that help her be highly consistent in team roping are exactly opposite when breakaway roping.
There are two very different ways to rope horns: by roping both at the same time, or by roping right to left. I taught Hali to run close, feed the slack out between her hands and come across the horns. Consequently, she has been able to catch a high percentage of cattle at a young age. Breakaway, on the other hand, is about going fast.
At the finals in the Breakaway short round, there was one girl who was 4.3 on two, and another who ws 4.8 on two. Hali was 2.4 on her first calf, 2.7 on her second calf and was third call back.
Some of the things we’ve been working on is she has a tendency to tie her hands up and pull on her horse before she throws, causing her loop to be short because her horse is stopping before she gets there. We’ve also been working on her reaching. We’ve been practicing on her pole horse, her head horse, and Gabe’s new horse. Her pole horse is extremely sensitive so it really exposes any mistakes she makes with her left hand.
This is one of the reasons a lot of good breakaway ropers don’t like jackpot team roping. When you keep a lot slack between your hands and rope both horns at the same time, you have to be very precise with your loop. There’s very little margin for error.
Hali drew a runner in the short round she did a great job of letting go of her rope and reaching to catch her calf. On her first two calves she did what she normally does with her high percentage catch. The third calf was more difficult and she looked like a seasoned breakaway roper.
It’s been a struggle for her to learn to rope one way and have to change and rope another. It’s like playing golf where you need different clubs for different situations. She rides and swings her rope well. The more control she gets with her rope and range will help with her ability to reach.
If your kid works at more than one event and struggles, keep in mind that there are fundamental reasons why and they may need help understanding how to be successful. We’ve loaded a detailed video on speedroping.com of Hali working on her breakaway in preparation for the finals.
This is the time of year when kids are competing at their year-end finals. Not everyone will win. But there is so much to be learned about working hard, being a good sportsman, and a gracious winner, or loser. So many experiences that will help prepare your kids for life and what’s ahead for them.