Roping Better with Richard Durham

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Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, Colorado Springs, Colo.

That steer was moving pretty fast across there. It's a normal shot-my top strand is a little lower than I would want it-my horse is stopping and the steer was strong. There's nothing unusual about this shot.

When I threw, I'm looking at my loop and the steer jumping into my loop. I was waiting for that to happen before I pull my slack. You want to leave the loop on the ground as long as you can. My hand is ready to pull my slack as soon as I see it. By the next frame, I would be started up with my slack to dally. My horse is working good, my loop looks good and everything is coming together just right.

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Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo, Rapid City, S.D.
This would be the next frame versus that Colorado Springs picture. That steer has already hit the ground with his next jump and the curl in my loop has come up very nicely. In that small arena, my horse doesn't have enough momentum to get under himself real good-he could still be better-we're just not moving that fast.

My slack is up in the air and I can see my rope curling, so the next step would be to dally because I know I'm not going to lose that steer. There's enough room in the arena to finish and my rope is curling, so the next step is to dally.

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RodeoHouston

Kelsey [Parchman] has stopped pulling and has started to face and the slack is not out of my loop yet. I'm just trying to hold it. That steer is standing up a lot more than he would if he were being pulled by the horns, too, so my loop could just fall straight down. This was our last steer at Houston, so I knew if I caught both feet we would win at least second. I just didn't want to lose a leg. If I had roped him and went to the horn, I might have lost that steer, because he was headed off in the other direction and Kelsey had quit pulling.

He had kind of stopped hopping and I did not want to lose a leg, so that's why I'm holding my slack up in the air so long. It might have been overkill, but in that situation I would have rather done that.

My loop is still big and I've got so much rope between my hands, and with that steer stopped moving forward, I had to hold it.

Editor's note: The duo won Houston and the $50,000-apiece jackpot.

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San Antonio Rodeo

My horse is a little strong. He wanted to run through my hand just a little and that's why I'm sitting back in my saddle pulling a little too much. For San Antone, we're pretty far down the arena, the steer ran pretty hard. I'm basically trying to save myself from running over the steer. That's not what you want to do right there. You want to have your horse set up better before you throw. Right there was a desperation throw because I knew we were going to hit the left fence. It was my only shot to pull off and rope him at the same time.

My slack, I'm watching the steer jump in it, my loop is set up there good enough and I know I'm going to catch him. I'm just waiting for that steer to finish jumping through it and waiting for that loop to curl up.

I'm pulling and he's wanting to stop, but he's just a fraction too late on his stop. I was throwing as he was still moving forward pretty fast trying to get to the spot. I wanted to throw right there. Ideally, that's not what you want to do. The Colorado Springs picture and this one are almost identical with my loop, but you can really see the difference in the horse. In that picture, my horse is sliding forward into his stop, the front end is up and his butt is down, and my loop looks better, where in this picture, his front end is down too much because he was trying to get to the spot as I was throwing.

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Cheyenne Frontier Days

This is a good picture. The steer was going really fast. We were going pretty fast down the arena. My horse might be half a step by the steer-too far behind him-but he still worked good enough and let me throw a good loop down there. You can see that steer is about to take a big hop. I barely got the left leg but I couldn't throw a bigger loop than that.

Once I see him jump in it, I'm going to be pulling my slack in the air and going to the horn. Things are going real fast there, so you have to get your slack and dally in a hurry.

They're all different, the scenarios change, but I try to do the same things fundamentally.