Monday, June 01, 2020

Cowgirl Sass and Savvy (revisited)

 by Julie Carter

There is a pervasive phenomenon in team roping competitions that consistently evokes a love-hate emotion along with dialogue not always fit for polite company.

Roping producers, in many instances, are requiring that ropers enter with one partner of their choice and then require them to draw one or two additional partners from a mixed pot of entrants.

This insures more teams for the producers, more runs for the stock contractors, increased business for the concession stand and better all-around competition for the event. It also promises additional hours of roping that the wives, already suffering with a severe case of bleacher butt, are forced to endure.

The upside to the plan is that it's a great way to meet new ropers, gives established ropers a chance to try out new partners, and it offers hesitant not-so-good ropers a chance at a whiz-bang run. Lastly, but considering the sport, certainly not the least, it gives ropers what they do best -- something to talk about.

Recently the rare occasion happened. It was a weekend with no big competitions happening and true to the nature of the competitor, staying home just wasn’t a good option. That would mean catching up on chores and the “honey-do” list and anything is better than that.

So, against his earlier vows of “never again,” Jack ventured back to Mineral Wells, known locally as “Miserable Wells.”

He knew almost everybody who usually attended those ropings and knew all the cattle because that particular arena had the same cattle back in ‘08. He figured he'd find somebody for a pick partner and would just draw whoever else was hoping to get lucky. 

Jack arrived early, unloaded old Fleetfoot from the trailer and made his way to the arena to socialize a little. He quickly found a pick partner, entered up and started looking over the possibilities for a draw partner. 

With feelings of doom tickling his innards, he spotted one he was sure was destined to become his draw partner. His luck usually ran that way.

The vision before him was a somewhat corn-fed lady with a riding helmet, chin strap firmly in place, riding what appeared to be a Tennessee Walker. He figured what the heck, the entry fee wasn't too high and he had a free afternoon anyway.

Anticipating his second draw partner, he continued to browse the options. He spotted what was obviously a super puncher complete with a taco-shell creased hat adorned with a turkey feather, well-worn britches tucked into high-top, under-slung heeled boots, a wild rag tied in a tidy knot, chinks and a buckle that would effectively prevent him from being gut shot. 

Jack started thinking that this obviously top-hand cowboy might not be real thrilled to be partnered up with him.

As luck would have it, Jack was partnered with the super puncher in the draw. Jack is a good hand, a way yonder better-than-average heeler, but not conceited about his ability.

He was actually concerned about super puncher wanting to rope with him since his attire was Brogans, a not-too-wrinkled shirt and semi-clean Wranglers. However, the arena rules pretty well protected anybody from cutting a draw partner, so they backed in the boxes when their names were called.

The super puncher blasted out of the box pushing the barrier. His horse made a beeline to the steer. Super puncher stood up in his stirrups, swinging a Blocker loop as he leaned over to throw a winning catch. He leaned and then leaned some more. It didn’t take long until he leaned right off his horse and rolled in the arena sand. 

His horse, obviously knowing more than super puncher, continued in hot pursuit of the steer. Fleetfoot fell right in and let Jack have a good shot at the heels. Unfortunately it doesn't count if the header is not in his saddle when his horse faces and the run comes to an end.

The corn-fed lady on the Tennessee Walker, along with her draw partner, took home the big check that day.

Luck of the draw indeed.

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