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    David Jones invented and patented the first mechanical, team roping simulator in 1989, patented the vertical-balance saddle and currently has a patent  on “crooked stirrups”. He with wife Linda and son Michael developed the first, science-based, bio-mechanical, team roping training system. Team roping students and instructors from around the world attend private training seminars at the Ropro Training Systems’ facility near Stephenville, TX.

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Current Articles

SuperLooper Magazine November 2002

IT’S IN THE PICK-UP!!!      by David E. Jones  

Now don’t get the idea this is a commercial for a new truck. The pick-up we are going to talk about is picking up your heading loop so that you have a reasonable chance of catching a team roping steer. If you don’t know that it makes a difference, you might be pleasantly surprised to find out how important picking up the rope effects your swing and catching steers.   

There are many aspects of team roping that are much easier to learn and conquer if they are approached from science-based basics. Just because we live on Earth, we simply cannot escape dealing with the elements of science. Like it or not we have to deal with “Gravity”, “Bio-mechanics” and “The Laws of Motion”. They do effect the quality of our roping and if they are used effectively will make catching steers and learning to catch steers easier, less frustrating and much more enjoyable. (Please note that I am talking about roping live steers not roping a roping dummy or sawhorse. The basics of roping the dummy and sawhorse are very different than roping live steers). 

An old calf roper friend of mine (old roper not old calves) made the statement that good calf ropers pick their rope up to the right of the calf so that when the calf cuts back to the right their swing will still cover the calf. “Can’t catch a calf when your rope is to the left and the calf is to the right.” The statement also makes sense for team ropers. If you consider that gravity takes your loop down and the momentum of your swing moves your loop to the left, then it makes sense that if you want to catch, as easily as possible, your loop should be pointed higher and to the right of what you are trying to rope. When a header picks the loop up anywhere other than to the right of the steer’s right horn tip, the chances of catching the steer are severely handicapped. (see photo 1) The reason is simple. Because of momentum, the rope tries to return to the point where you first started the swing. The team roping swing develops a circular momentum that moves from right to left over the steer. A swing moves easily from right to left but is next to impossible to move from left to right.

If you swing to the left of a steer or if the steer moves right, leaving your swing to the left, the highest probability is that you will split the horns, wave off the loop or miss the steer completely. So the question now becomes, “How do you get the rope to the right of the steer?” Well, it is in the pick-up.  
     #1 It is very important that you understand that the loop pick-up is not part of your swing. Where you pick up the loop determines the path your swing will travel. The rope pick-up is the placement of the rope loop and tip into a catch path so that you can target your swing.  
     #2 Pick up your rope very slowly and pointed wide to the right of the steer’s right horn tip while turning the hondo side of the loop and your thumb down. Your forearm (fully extended), spoke of your rope (the part of the loop from your hand to your hondo) and rope tip (farthest point of the loop from your hand) should all be lined up, generally in a straight line that extends from your shoulder to a point approx. 12 to 16 inches to the right of the right horn tip. (see photo 2) 
     #3 Start your swing by lifting your elbow and pulling the loop back, towards your shoulder on the swing line you have just established. Keep your thumb down as you lift the loop with your elbow. Do not attempt to open your loop. (see photo 3) If you believe that it is necessary to open your heading or heeling loop when picking it up to begin your swing, then you do not have science-based basics. 
     #4 Keep your elbow elevated as you begin an aggressive swing above and to the right of the steer’s right horn tip. 
     #5 When you get your pick-up placed correctly and are able to maintain your swing, the delivery of your loop should be relaxed and effortless.   
     #6 Your pick-up should be slow, your swing should be fast, and your delivery should be slow. Slow-Fast-Slow  

If you have roped very much at all, you have probably caught some steers and said to yourself, “that was easy, I wish I could do that every time!” Here is the good news. If you practice the information in this article correctly, you’ll be able to do just that.  So, is there anything more basic than picking up your rope to swing? You bet there is. Maybe we’ll talk about that next time.  Bye for now,   David

A question: In the Nov '02 issue of Superlooper entitled "It's in In the Pick-Up", the terminology "pick-up the rope" isn't clear to me. Can you explain in more detail just what this action is? Thanks, Roger

Roger,
As you leave the roping box or as you approach the steer, the transition from "carrying" your rope, in a stationary position, to "swinging" your rope, to set up the catch, is the rope "pick-up".   Your swing begins immediately after your rope "pick-up". 
From the article:  
#1    "It is very important that you understand that the loop pick-up is not part of your swing.  Where you pick up the loop determines the path your swing will travel.  The rope pick-up is the placement of the rope loop and tip into a catch path so that you can target your swing."
Hope this helps,
David

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SuperLooper Magazine January 2003

WHAT TIME IS IT?   by David E. Jones 

Timing is one of the most misunderstood, frustrating and completely unnecessary elements of team roping Whoa! Can you believe you just read that? Or, maybe timing is necessary with your current swing and you don’t know that you have an option. (Read this article in the January 2003 issue of SuperLooper Magazine)

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Archived Articles

The articles in this section include some controversial challenges to other training methods. We have included several of our previously published articles. These articles have been included for three reasons: #1 You can see that our basic message has not changed since the conception of ROPRO Training Systems; #2 The concepts of ROPRO Training Systems, that started as theory, have been proven by results; and #3 You can compare and analyze how much of the current "NEW" information, published by others, has been taken from information we published years ago.
   -  DAVID E. JONES
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The What's Next?


A Magic Pill?


A Good Missed Steer


What is Muscle Memory?


An Alternative Method


What If???


You Can't Defy Gravity!


Over $1,000,000 Won by Slick-Stick Owners


Do you think it will work?


You're Really Not Stupid, Are You?


What is Perfect Practice?


It's a Matter of Time


Perfect Practice


Painfully Obvious


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Linda Jones Articles

 

  A Reliable Piece of Equipment!


That "Feel Good Thing"


Wildfire!


And you're upset because your husband ropes?


Your Instructor's Approach


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What's Next

By DAVID E. JONES

 It's been over 8 years since I locked myself in my shop and started building the first Slick-Stick. It's pretty safe to say that the invention of the Slick-Stick has had, and continues to have, a profound effect on the evolution of team roping. Coaching of team roping athletes, the use of simulators, muscle memory and Bio-Mechanics have become accepted terms and practices in team roping training. Although we were the first to bring this information to the general team roping public, it is very rewarding to see instructors that were very critical of the necessity for such information, now using simulators, soliciting students to coach and teaching muscle memory and Bio-Mechanics training techniques. ROPRO Training Systems has helped create roping champions in a multitude of arenas across the country. Over 2 million dollars has been won by ropers who have trained on ROPRO Training System's equipment or attended our schools and clinics. Ropers have claimed championships and winnings from Booger Barter Productions, the NFR and PRCA Rodeos, Bud-Lite Team Roping Championships, International Pro Rodeo Association, Original Team Roping Association, Senior Pro Rodeo Association, Mid Eastern TeamRopers Association, American Cowboys Association and the United States Team Roping Championships, just to name a few.

After the patent of the Slick-Stick, I started publishing articles about training methods used in teaching team ropers to rope. When I first introduced the idea that team roping training could be more effective if methods used in other sports were incorporated into team roping training, my theories met, to say the least, some resistance. Those that took the time to fully evaluate my theories found out that I was not blindly condemning the old, traditional ways of learning how to rope, but that I was introducing a far more effective and progressive way in which ropers could learn. Now, several years, hundreds of schools and clinics and thousands of students later, we have been able to prove our theories and develop what we call the ROPRO Training System. Still, many are skeptical. If you have roped for a long time, have roped the dummy religiously, and are satisfied with your roping, it's pretty hard to listen to a guy telling you that the dummy doesn't work. But this information is not about how good you are, this information is about how good you could be. In all the years we have been sharing this information, I have never had even one person, beginner to pro, who has taken the time to evaluate and understand the ROPRO Training System, who has not drastically improved his ability to rope. It is within our human nature to resist change, although many resist change just because they don't want it to be true. Let me suggest to you, "Don't resist change from a point of ignorance." Untrue assumptions could be keeping you from becoming a truly great roper.

The most untrue assumption in team roping is that a roper can learn on a dummy and then automatically, over time, learn to rope steers with a high degree of accuracy.

How Good You Could Be Every roper that ropes with a National Finals type of ability delivers a loop that is different from the loop thrown at a dummy. (Yes, I can prove that. Computer/Digital technology is amazing and available to everyone.) This group of ropers makes up less than 1/10th of one percent of the total number of ropers. 99.9 percent of the ropers do not swing or deliver a loop with the Bio-Mechanics of the top professional ropers. These statistics would make you think that it's pretty difficult to become a top notch roper. Not if you take the dummy out of your swing and delivery. Does this mean that you can't learn to deliver a professional loop if you rope a dummy? Of course it doesn't. But it does mean that you will never learn to deliver a professional type of loop until you remove the dummy training from your swing and delivery. In other words, if you want to learn to team rope steers, you only have to learn one sport. If you learn to rope the dummy and team rope, you have to learn two sports, Dummy Roping and Team Roping. The Bio-Mechanics are different.

In over seven years of teaching the ROPRO Training System, once the difference has been identified by the roper, not one roper, not one pro, not one intermediate or not one beginner has been able to catch a dummy with the swing and delivery that ropers themselves describe as the loop they would use to catch a steer. The statistics of team roping help prove this.

85 percent of the team ropers in the country are number #3 or less. 92 percent are numbered as a #4 or less. Anyone who has roped more than a week can see that there is a huge difference between the swing and delivery of a #4 or less and a #5 and above. Most of the difference you see with the better roper is the disappearance of the Bio Mechanics of the dummy loop.

I recently pulled up to a roping and noticed a roper roping a head dummy stuck on a metal frame. He had a really nice horse tied next to his trailer and I decided to keep track of how well his roping day went. Through three rounds, with three partners, he never missed a steer. When it came to the short-go, he was 1st, 3rd and 7th fastest back. He missed all three steers and dejectedly walked back to his trailer and put his dummy away.

We all know that this scenario is not uncommon. Maybe it has happened to you. What most ropers don't know is that it is not necessary. There are specific Bio-Mechanical reasons why we respond to situations like this one.

As instructors, I believe we have an obligation to know the truth. I do not believe anyone is out there intentionally lying to team ropers, but I do believe there is a lot of inaccurate and incomplete information. Part of the credibility of teaching is that those learning from you can put their complete confidence in what you say. Knowing and learning the truth takes a lot of work, but the information is out there.

I recently read a couple of articles and an ad or two that proclaimed that horses "can't be taught to run, either they have speed or they don't." I was really disappointed to find that out, since I have spent about 20 years of my life and have made a fairly good portion of my income from teaching horses to run. What do good race horse trainers do, anyway? Before you believe that you "can't teach a horse to run," I suggest you find out all you can about one word, IMPULSION, and how it relates to horsemanship. The reason most riders have trouble with speed is they LET A HORSE GO AND MAKE HIM STOP. When you learn to MAKE A HORSE GO AND LET HIM STOP, speed will no longer be an issue. You don't have to ride a "fire breathing dragon" to be able to catch a steer.

Advertisers also have a responsibility to know the truth. A recent ad I read proclaimed a tremendous percentage of improvement over a relatively short period of time using a particular device.

If ropers caught 10 steers out of 200 before and then 20 steers out of 200 after practice, the results would be simply 100% more steers caught, not 100% improvement.

The actual improvement would only be 5%. The ad alludes to a tremendous improvement percentage, when in fact improvement was barely enough to get any of the ropers, on average, past the first go of any roping. While the product could be credible, the training Bio-Mechanics and the math used were certainly misleading and false.

Why is the truth so important? Team roping is evolving very rapidly. Up to now, team roping has drawn from within the western industry (family and friends) for new ropers. But there is a tremendous untapped resource of prospective ropers out there. According to American Sports History, Inc., Rodeo and NASCAR Racing are the two fastest growing sports in the United States. In 1996 over 22 million spectators attended PRCA sanctioned rodeos in the United States.

In an exit survey conducted at the 1996 NFR, fans named Team Roping as their favorite timed event. Team ropers spent an estimated $50,000,000, collectively, for entry fees in 1996. Team roping's next great expansion will come from the non-western population. Team roping is about to evolve from a cowboy sport to a professional sport. Many people still believe that to participate in rodeo, particularly team roping, you must come from cowboy heritage. There is too much market potential for large companies to ignore the expansion of the western industry into the non-western population.

Truthful, credible representation from within our sport will certainly benefit all of us.
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A Magic Pill?

By DAVID E. JONES

Who would have thought that what started as a project for me to help my son, Michael, learn to rope would have taken our family on such a challenging journey; from pride to frustration, from ego stabbing to ego stroking; from challenges to excitement, the road to change has taken many turns.

As humans, it is within our nature to resist change. Our forefathers of the 1700s let blood and used leeches to cure illness (or at least they thought they were).

Our country was nearly torn in half in the 1800s over change.

In the early 1900s, the Wright brothers withdrew their airplane patent from production for nearly five years while the French continued to develop a more accepted "flying machine theory."

But, some important elements of physics had been ignored in the French theory and, once a plateau had been reached in the development of flying and the French theories had proven themselves unsuccessful, then the Wright brothers re-introduced their patent and flying became successful. Complemented by physics, flying has taken us to the moon and beyond.

Over the last several years of instructing team roping and team roping schools, I have had the advantage of seeing over 290,000 loops thrown by students, mostly from less than 10 feet away, and from nearly every possible perspective.

Because of the way we use our Slick-Stick and other training equipment, these loops, thrown from a position of actually roping steers, show many progressions in team roping that have never before been analyzed.

You may not find it hard to believe that all ropers go through the same progressions in learning how to rope. You may notice that the guy who just roped had exactly the same problem that you did only a couple of weeks or a couple of months ago.

Once you have worked through a problem, you find it hard to believe that solving the problem is not as obvious to him as it was or now is to you.

Fortunately, for less than 1/2 percent of the team ropers, moving through progressions and problems is a gift. In other sports, these individuals get gold rings and are called Champions. In team roping these individuals get gold buckles and are called World Champions. Not unlike other sports, team roping champions are truly gifted individuals. Unfortunately, the other 99.5 percent of us have to learn and progress at a different pace and with great effort, to work our way through the progressions of team roping.

As with any other sport, in team roping it becomes necessary to know and understand the basics of what you are trying to accomplish. Let's assume, for example, in team roping the goal is to learn to catch a steer or a number of steers. Then the basics of learning to catch steers would involve every motion of the body position, grip of the rope, pick-up, swing and delivery to the steer that allows the rope to go on as efficiently as possible. The more complicated that becomes, the less basic it is.

Harvey Penick, world famous golf instructor, once said, "Unless your stance and grip are accurate, all other information about learning to golf has no meaning."

I believe that same holds true in team roping. In fact, almost 300,000 carefully analyzed loops clearly shows me that not only have the head dummies and sawhorses NOT helped the team roping industry, but they have kept 99.5 percent of us from progressing beyond some very basic plateaus.

It would take a pretty ignorant individual to look at a saw horse or dummy and say that it is the same as a steer. It is different in form and function. By definition, if its form and function are DIFFERENT from roping steers, then it CANNOT BE THE SAME. The basics of team roping must be developed from something that experience has been.

In general, if we can get to a beginner (who can ride a horse fairly well) before he begins practicing on a dummy, by using our ROPRO Training System, we can have that beginner catching consistently on the Slick-Stick within a few minutes. Within hours, most beginners will be catching consistently on a horse, up to speed, on the Sled. And, in just a couple of days, they will probably be roping cattle successfully. If that quality of practice is maintained, they will continue to progress rapidly. If you rope a dummy, DID YOU PROGRESS THAT RAPIDLY?

On the other hand, the more someone has roped a dummy or sawhorse, without roping large quantities of cattle, the more difficult the process of learning to rope cattle becomes. Don't panic, I said difficult, not impossible. Why? Because roping dummies is not basic. In fact, it is not even about roping cattle ­ it's about roping dummies.

I get several calls a week, from ropers that have been through our programs, urging me to have frustrated ropers call them so that they can tell about their experiences before and now, after ROPRO training. I guess I could do just that.

If you would like to call (254) 796-1970 and visit about your roping, we will be glad to give you a list of ropers who have been through our program and can tell you how our system works for them.

You may be surprised to find out that these ropers have had the same problems you are having, and they have learned to overcome them. You also may be surprised to find out that ropers from all ability levels, from beginners to pros, are using the information we have to offer.

After all, when you know you can catch four steers in a row, that's probably the kind of change you can accept.
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A Good Missed Steer

By DAVID E. JONES

Bubba Jim backs nervously into the heeling box. The summer tan on his face has been replaced with a grayish, whitish lack of color that nearly matches the color of his white knuckles. The header nods for the steer, quickly catches and turns. Where is Bubba? The rope is finally "shook loose" from under his stirrup and is now swinging wildly, like an out-of-balance windmill. As his horse cuts the corner, Bubba leans to the right and front of his horse to get a better view of the steer. As two feet hang in the air, where anyone should be able to rope them, the horse runs up so he can check the head catch. Bubba experiences the pain of the saddle horn as he tries to maintain his balance, stop his horse, and throw, all at the same time. The rope follows the wobbly path where it had been swung and continues powerfully into the dirt, three feet to the right of where the steer's feet used to be. Jerking his horse, throwing the tail of his rope into the air as he shakes his head, wondering how he could have possibly missed that steer, Bubba insults the steer's parental heritage loud enough so spectators near the fence can hear him. Is he the only one that even thinks he should have caught that steer? If, by some twist of fate, the loop had managed to go on, would it have been a good catch?

While, of course, the goal in team roping competition is to catch two feet, we can't always judge the quality of the run by the catch.

I think this is especially true in team roping practice. At our team roping schools I see many students who are trying to improve their roping, but are so focused on whether they catch or not that they become frustrated with themselves and forget that there is more to catching steers than just a throw and catch.

Let's say you decide to practice a more consistent run. As you practice a better position to the steer, a better corner and a better swing, several distances or dimensions to the steer from the delivery change. If your swing was behind your head with your thumb up or your elbow down and you now move your hand to the right front, above the steer with your thumb down and your elbow up, your hand position may move as much as 18 inches. That means your swing can be as much as 18 inches closer to the steer target.

In golf, you know that there is a big difference between a 4-foot putt and a 5 1/2-foot putt. If you want to make 5 1/2-foot putts, you have to practice 5 1/2-foot putts. At first you will miss a lot until you get control of your stance, swing and force that you hit the ball. A miss tells you you haven't done everything else accurately enough for you to make the putt.

18 inches is also a considerable difference in target in team roping. While the old swing, that feels comfortable, won't catch cattle, the improved swing, that will catch cattle, feels uncomfortable or unfamiliar. But, using the improved swing, you still miss. Why?

Quite simply because each change or improvement in your roping procedure needs to be retargeted. Just like resetting the sights on your favorite rifle, it takes your body a series of tries to become accustomed to a new target.

During this retargeting process, if you are judging your success strictly on whether you catch, you put undue and unnecessary pressure on yourself.

If you are resighting your rifle and your practice pattern is off, you don't throw your arms in the air and throw a fit when you don't hit the target, you continue to reset the sights until you are on target. The result is that when your sights are set correctly, you hit the target. Of course you have to know how to reset the sights. Is it any wonder in team roping that, if you don't know how to retarget, the only thing you can judge is the catch?

Here are some guidelines:

Uncomfortable or unfamiliar do not necessarily mean wrong. Your first head or heel loop probably didn't feel all that great either. If the position of your horse and your position on your horse are acurate and your swing is accurate, then and only then, can the delivery and catch be accurate. Following this theory, it makes practice on a dummy or sawhorse seem pretty outdated, doesn't it? If your practice goals are correct, a miss should mean you are trying someting and just don't quite have it perfected yet. A MISS SHOULD NOT BE A JUDGMENT OF YOUR INTELLECT. Just as in other sports, many attempts at practicing accurately will yield acuracy.

Are you practicing correctly or do you simply not yet know how to practice?

David
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What is Muscle Memory?

By DAVID E. JONES

Muscle memory is a "pop" expression for what is clinically referred to as "laying down engrams." The process is very specific and subject to the task we are performing and how we perform the task. In other words, when we practice learning to rope on a standing horse towards a sawhorse tied to a fence, the muscle memory we obtain is to rope on a standing horse towards a sawhorse tied to a fence.

Using these engrams and other stimuli we attempt to collate various forms of information by a process called "motor planning."

In motor planning to rope, we use muscle memory, arena condition information, horse, rider and steer variables as well as a variety of other information to "close the motor loop" of what we want to accomplish. If the muscle memory is not accurate for what we are trying to accomplish and we draw upon it in the motor planning process, we don't catch consistently.

I believe muscle memory is exactly the reason that sawhorses and head dummies don't work, or at best are a very slow and unrewarding training aid. Simulators, on the other hand, remove predetermined, unnecessary, variable obstacles from our practice so that muscle memory has the ability to be effectively used in the motor planning process of learning to rope steers.

Not only can this information be verified through volumes of information that are published for the sports science industry, it can also be verified from the results of our private clinics and roping schools.

Few, who want to go and rope, want to have to learn all of this information. Most, however, would like to learn to catch effectively. We have developed and patented our equipment and methods to allow you to put this information into controlled, easy to understand, "perfect practice."
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An Alternative Method

-By DAVID E. JONES

While delivering Slick-Sticks and putting on a ROPRO Training clinic in Arizona, I had the good fortune to meet an international training instructor. This instructor suggested that an attack on a particular training method could be interpreted as an attack on the professionals using that training method. The thought had never crossed my mind.

Is it possible that anyone would think that I was personally attacking the heroes of the team roping industry?

Let me be clear on this I have a great deal of respect and admiration for all of the past and present World Champions. Of course, like you, I have my favorites. Most of us can only dream about what they have accomplished. They are the heroes of team roping. The information we have gathered and researched comes from their performances. However, I think it would be safe to say that even our heroes are constantly attempting to better themselves. After all, that's what practice is, isn't it?

If you remember when you first swung a rope, or first rode a horse, or first roped a dummy, how difficult it was to accomplish more than one thing at a time. First you did this wrong and that right, then you did this right and that wrong.

Well, quite simply, that's just the way the human body works. We can only process so much information at one time and it's really important that the part that you accomplish be accurate since it affects how you continue learning.

When most of us learned to drive a car, we went through a classroom instruction period, followed by actually driving with a driving instructor sitting beside us in the car. Drivers education programs, from most state laws, made driving with an instructor mandatory. Why? Because the instructor actually with you, as you are learning, helps keep you from making dangerous mistakes as your body learns to process the variety of information it needs for you to learn how to drive.

To get a pilots license you need so many hours of classroom to understand flying. Then so many hours of flying with an instructor followed by so many hours of solo flying.

Slick-Stick and the ROPRO Training System is an alternative training method that actually allows you to have an instructor with you, in position as if you are actually in the process of roping (both heading and heeling). The instruction comes with the machine and clinics are available as you feel it's necessary. You can then "solo" and work whatever information you want into your practice.

Practice in the past, even with an instructor riding down the arena with you, has more variables in it than the body can effectively overcome for you to learn quickly. The result: by the time you get one thing figured out, another obstacle has been created for you to overcome.

Our research and results show that by using the ROPRO alternative training method, not only do ropers learn faster but it becomes very obvious that some techniques used in conventional training are no longer necessary.

Since our training method is relatively new, many have not yet tried it. Many are skeptical because training as if you were actually roping steers has never before been available as it can be using the ROPRO Training System. I hear people say, "what we are doing works just fine." But does it? Can you catch? Can you win? Are your horses quiet, effective and well trained?

Maybe a better alternative for practice is all you need.
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What If???

-By DAVID E. JONES

WHAT IF: Team ropers could learn how to catch? I'm not talking about the professional roper here, I mean the thousands of beginning and intermediate ropers that are flocking to this great family sport. We are now involved in the next great change in team roping, catching steers. Organizations, like the USTRC, have added tens of thousands of new and revived team ropers to the industry. To keep these ropers active and open to other new and inventive roping formats, I think it is logical that one most important thing must happen. Ropers need to know how to catch steers. We have attracted many business oriented, professional people into team roping. This group knows when to cut their losses and run. Lack of success in anything promotes discontent and disunity.

You are at the biggest roping of your roping career. As a header, you ride into the box. Your horse feels your tension and is a little hard to settle. There, that's good enough, and you nod for your steer. You push back the barrier perfectly. You're out. The steer runs straight, not a "pup" but the kind you would like to rope. Now swing and throw. You've got this one, you can feel it coming. The rope travels through the air, accurately going around the right horn, the right horn, the right horn!!! No, you missed the left horn, AGAIN!!! Sound like something that has happened to you? WHAT IF: I could prove to you that the missed left horn, the "pop-off" and the "frisbied" heading misses were all directly related to practice on a head dummy?

As a heeler, you leave the box, just right. You feel that your position on the steer is great. The steer runs straight as you haze him perfectly to set up a great head catch. With a good handle, from your header, you steer moves through the corner as you ride to your favorite heeling position. This one's easy, we are going to win this roping. Now get the rope across his back and deliver. OOPS!! Why is your rope laying in the dirt to the right side of the steer instead of on the feet. Or, maybe you hit him in the side or roped the steer's front leg. WHAT IF: I could prove to you that these three basic heeling misses are a direct result of practice on a sawhorse and attempting to rope a steer like a sawhorse?

For 20 YEARS, team roping has used dummies in an attempt to learn to rope steers. LOOK UP, FOLKS, it hasn't worked. There is a world full of world class dummy ropers but less than 5% of the ropers, at most any roping, at all ability levels, can catch 3, let alone 4 steers to even have a chance to win. I'm not just trying to sell equipment here. For this great industry to maintain its growth, the ropers that we have attracted must learn to be successful - quickly. Let me give you an example: #1. You are a trainer for a professional sports team. #2. You are hired to teach the team to improve in their sport. #3. You develop a training program using a variety of techniques. What should the team expect? If the team only won 5% of its games, using your program, would the owner or the coaches continue to use your program? I don't think so. And they certainly wouldn't continue the program for 20 years.

When I developed and patented the Slick-Stick, my purpose was to help my son learn to rope safely, quickly and accurately. I had been to several roping schools and had roped a head dummy and sawhorse for almost 15 years, 150 or more times a day. While I could catch the dummy from any angle or direction, I was still a beginner roper of live cattle. I thought that if I could make a training simulator that actually allowed my son to rope through an entire heading or heeling run, from the positions he would actually use to rope steers, that he could learn to use the exact muscles that it took to rope. The idea that you use one set of muscles to practice and another set of muscles to rope hadn't worked for me. WHAT IF: my theory worked for my son, Michael.

I guess I really wasn't surprised, when we started testing my theory and began doing research, to find that there were volumes of information for the sports industry. There are sports science research comparison tests, sports medicine college courses and accepted physical therapy and rehabilitation procedures that the team roping industry has simply not been able to use until equipment was developed to make accurate practice possible. In all other sports, inaccurate practice is not even considered because it is known to have a negative effect on the learning process.

The Slick-Stick doesn't have a brain, it merely "lets" you rope from accurate positions as if you were actually roping cattle. Can you rope it wrong? Sure, you can rope it upside down and backwards if you want to. However, by being in correct position when you practice, you allow your body to seek the most energy efficient way of learning how to rope. In other words, if you rope on the Slick-Stick as if you are actually roping steers, you will learn how to rope steers.

The problem with on-the-ground roping, of the head dummy and sawhorse, is that you are "never" in position, nor can you make yourself get into position to make them benefit your roping. Dummies don't work, simulators do. Next time you fly, ask the pilot what he thinks of simulators.

OK, OK, but at least the head dummy gives me some rope handling ability and it teaches me how to swing my rope. WHY? What does the dummy do to help your rope handling ability? Rope handling is the ability to handle a rope and is developed during an accurate swing. There are many good rope handling drills, none of which has anything to do with a dummy.

To learn to catch steers, you must swing accurately, in the direction of the target (the steer) and extend the swing into the delivery. Sound familiar? Sure, you've heard it before, but you hae to be able to apply it correctly.

WHAT IF: You could have the ability to learn how to catch and know why? No guesses, no misunderstandings, just facts!!!

Brad (Texas) had never roped live cattle, but doubled the first three steers he ever attempted to heel.

Steve (Tennessee) was a 3 year beginner, left-handed roper and was very frustrated with his roping. He managed to switch to right-handed in just three days and won a shoot-out position for the USTRC finals in Guthrie, OK. Tom (Ohio) went from swinging his first loop to winning his first jackpot (225 teams) in under eight weeks.

Nick (Alabama) won his first high point saddle, heeling, just a few months after he began to heel and wouldn't think of using a sawhorse. Mark (North Carolina) won two saddles, heading, within weeks of changing his practice techniques.

Gary (Michigan) went from not being able to coil his rope at 9:00 a.m. to catching steers consistently and handling them so they could be doubled at 8:00 p.m. the same day. Steve (Arizona) won over $9,000 in just a few weeks after changing his practice techniques.

Hundreds of ropers, from beginners to #9's, have listened to our information, looked at the facts, and checked out the results of the ropers that are using our system. Our success rate is very high. I invite you to do the same thing that I ask them - Don't believe me - check out the information for yourself. I will be glad to share it with you. We're not trying to keep any secrets. For team roping to remain successful, ropers must be able to learn how to catch.

WHAT IF: I'm right?
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You Can't Defy Gravity!

By DAVID E. JONES

When the Slick-Stick was first developed, several of the top team ropers offered their advice on what it would take for the Slick-Stick to become successful. If you could teach people to rope in less time than it takes now, it would be successfulÉ If the ropers who don't have a lot of time to rope lots of cattle could practice without cattle and still be able to compete, it could be successfulÉ

Our, schedule, this year, has been full of schools and private clinics with ropers of all ability levels who have found out that not only have we been able to do all of the above but much, much more.

I was recently talking to a golf semi-pro who also team ropes. Once he understood how our training system works, he said that he understood clearly why the dummies and sawhorses are keeping ropers from learning to catch. Golf is a large muscle sport. The fewer small muscles or finesse muscles you use, the easier it is for you to improve your game. Team Roping, like golf, is a large muscle sport as it is actually performed by the pros. However, Team Roping is taught on head dummies and sawhorses as a small muscle or finesse muscle sport. No one, who plays golf, would think about spending hours practicing "breaking" their wrist and then expect that they could keep their wrist "locked" when playing the game.

For years we have been told that you can't watch the tapes of the pros roping and learn how to rope. Everyday we prove that theory wrong. What you can't do is learn how to rope a dummy from watching tapes of the pros roping steers because they can't and don't rope a dummy the way they rope steers. Check it out for yourself. It defies the laws of motion and the laws of gravity to be able to rope down to a steer and up to a dummy in the same way.

If anyone thinks that they can do that, they should get a grant from NASA and prove it. No one yet has been able to prove that they can defy gravity.

Anyone who has been to one of our schools or clinics knows that my intentions and motives are simple. I am genuinely interested that Team Ropers find out that Team Roping is not nearly as hard to learn or conquer as it has been taught.

Of course, I am grateful that many Team Ropers have accepted and purchased our products as well as attended our schools.

Team Roping, this sport we enjoy, is filled with ropers who have invested tens of millions of dollars in horses, trailers, trucks, roping facilities and equipment. Training successful ropers will keep this industry in business.
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Over $1,000,000 Won by Slick-Stick Owners

By DAVID E. JONES

ROUND ROCK, TX - OVER ONE MILLION DOLLARS WON BY SLICK-STICK OWNERS!! There is a revolution going on in team roping and those that have chosen to join the revolution are reaping the benefits. CONTRATULATIONS!

What are your goals in team roping? Just to be able to catch one steer at a roping? To rope safely with your friends at home? To win a USTRC shoot out slot? To make it to the NFR? To be a World Champion?

How you approach your goals may determine whether you even have a chance to be able to attain them.

Have you reached a plateau in your roping that you just can't seem to get beyond? It happens at every level of ability. Well, let me share something with you that should not have been kept secret. In this life there are certain laws of physics that cannot be denied. The laws of motion and the laws of gravity have been ignored in the process of teaching team roping. If you understand the physics and biomechanics of team roping, sawhorses and head dummies make no sense, unless your goal is to create plateaus that you cannot get beyond. It has been said, "If physics doesn't get in our way, we can reach our goals." If your goal is to become an accomplished team roper, then your practice and competition must not keep you from reaching your goals.

I was amazed, as we put on roping schools across the country, at the vast number of ropers that are frustrated with their roping because they don't have accurate information. Try as they may, they can never conquer it. They just can't get beyond their own plateaus.

How many times have you thought, "If I could just figure out that hand position or follow through, I could conquer this sport?"

How many times have you heard a roper say that he thinks he has this roping just about figured out but if he could just get the "mental game" he knows he would be able to conquer the sport.

Well, I have good news and bad news. There is no one magic hand position, there is no magic rope, there is no magic saddle or bit.

What is "magic" is practice - perfect practice. Practice from a height, direction, distance and motion that allows you to understand and practice using the laws of motion and gravity as they pertain to team roping. THE MENTAL GAME IN TEAM ROPING COMES FROM ONE THING, KNOWING THAT YOU CAN CATCH THE STEER. With perfect practice, the result for you will be that you will understand the mental game because you will KNOW HOW TO CATCH.

It won't be a secret or an unobtainable goal any more. Sound simple? Well, it is. Swing the rope in a direction toward the target, use the laws of motion and gravity to your benefit and release the rope so that you don't mess up what you're doing.

ANYONE, 100% of the ropers that have paid attention and tried to understand what the ROPRO Training System is all about will tell you that they never dreamed team roping could be taught and learned so simply. Reports from Slick-Stick ropers, who regularly compete in team roping, and practice 1/2 hour a day, five days a week on "Slick," show that on an average, they win three times the cost of the equipment back in the first year alone.

I have often wondered what I would do if someone pulled into our yard with some new fangled contraption that was supposed to help me rope better. Chances are I would have been skeptical even doubting. I would have probably asked friends and those whose roping I respected for their opinion. Would I have listened to the theory and made up my own mind from logical information? Well, I don't wonder any more, I know what I would do. I would listen until what was said to me no longer made sense. I would expect facts, provable facts. And, I certainly wouldn't accept the opinion of someone who hadn't based that opinion upon logical, accurate information.
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Do you think it will work?

By DAVID E. JONES

One day, after winning a couple of ropings, a saddle and placing in another roping, David Clark (North Carolina) was pretty pleased with what he had been able to accomplish. A fellow team roper walked up to him and asked, "David, do you think your Slick-Stick helps your roping?" He had heard the question before and had always spent lots of time explaining "ole Slick" to those that ask. Sitting beside his new saddle and counting his money, I guess David snapped. "No, I don't," David said. "You see I just had this extra $6,000 lying around, doing nothing, there on my dresser. I thought that if I didn't spend it on something, my wife might go out and spend it on something foolish like food or clothes or tires for her truck or something like that. The best thing I figured I could do was waste the money on something stupid that I thought wouldn't work. But now I'm disappointed. You see, "I'M SITTING HERE WITH THE SADDLE AND THE MONEY AND YOU'RE ASKING ME IF IT WORKS. DAAAA!!!"

I've written in the past about research that has been done in the industry. From that research we have been able to come up with some interesting and reliable figures about how many good loops it takes to become an accomplished roper. Using older methods, on the average, it takes approx. 58,500 catches (on cattle) to become an accomplished roper (a #6 or #7 that can win consistently at 4 head ropings). We can find NO PROOF that by roping on a head dummy or sawhorse those numbers change. Whether you rope on a dummy or not, it still takes 58,500 live cattle catches to become an accomplished roper. There is LOTS OF PROOF, though, that those that rope the dummys and don't rope many, many cattle, don't progress to accomplished ropers. How many people do you know that rope the dummy a lot, have been doing so for 10 to 25 years and are still #2's or 3's?

If you rope on the Slick-Stick for your perfect practice, instead of the dummys, our results prove that on the average it takes approx. 6,000 good loops on the Slick-Stick (100/day x 60 days) and approx. 500 live steer catches to become a good solid #3 or #4. To become a #6 and #7 it takes approx. 24,000 good, Slick-Stick loops and approx. 2,000 live steer catches. The number of live steer catches can even be lessened greatly, by using the Slick-Stick "SLED," that we have developed as a replacement for live cattle runs. It's about this simple. If you have the right equipment to practice perfect, on the average, you can become an accomplished roper by roping less than 2,000 live steers. If you don't have the right equipment on which to practice, it takes approx. 58,500 steers to accomplish the same thing. How much extra time, money, horses and wasted entry fees would it take you to rope an extra 58,500 live steers just to get to where you want to get???
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You're Really Not Stupid, Are You?

So you've really been working on your roping! After all, if you and your partner can just catch four steers by two feet you usually win. The steer is less than eight feet away from you. You've got six feet of loop and the target is only about two feet wide. It seems like you ought to be able to do this.

Whether you are a #2 or a #7, it doesn't change. If you don't catch four steers by two feet you probably don't win. Yet in most any numbered roping from a #5 to a #11, rarely less than 5% of the contestants catch four or even three steers and it's usually the same people. Is team roping a timed event or a catch contest?

I get asked frequently: How does the Slick-Stick compare to the Buford dummy? I would say, "Not at all." The Slick-Stick was never designed to be a dummy. There are no intended similarities. Among other things, the Slick-Stick is designed to train your muscles to fire accurately, using controlled repetitive practice. This process is used in all other sports and has been universally accepted as the way to train rather than the variable, random practice that has been used in team roping. I would only compare the Buford dummy to the S-S Sled we manufacture. I wouldn't attempt to make claims for Buford, but I can tell you what our Sled does. First of all, you use our Sled like a real steer. Ride down the arena as if you were actually roping, head or heel from an actual roping position. Second, it's great to train your horse. No fear, no pressure, just keep your horse in actual roping position throughout an entire run, at whatever speed fits the training level of the horse. Third, you and your horse can practice together, under actual conditions, yet controlled. You'll have to decide for yourself which product will work better. You could try asking a person who uses the Buford dummy or those that use our Sled, then watch their horses work and then watch and see if the roper can catch horns and two feet when roping live steers. The results are obvious.

For years you've been told at roping schools that if you rope the head dummy and sawhorse, your roping live cattle will improve in about three to six weeks. Do you feel stupid because it didn't work? You must not be trying hard enough, right? Why did your ability to rope the dummy improve but not your ability to rope cattle? Do you suppose it could be because you are practicing learning to rope the dummy and not practicing to rope cattle?

A #7 header from Washington State called me a few weeks ago and was trying to tell me how great his instruction on a dummy worked. I asked him how he knew. "Well, I see the results of them getting better roping the dummy," he said. But what about cattle? Canthey rope cattle? "Well, not right away, but they can learn to," he said. I asked him if he had ever tried instructing without using the dummy. "No," he said. "That's what 'everybody' uses."

Well, not everybody!!! Once you quit using a dummy and start using equipment designed to teach team roping you will be surprised to find out how much the dummy or saw horse have kept you from learning how to catch steers. Don't believe me, find out for yourself

Over the last two weeks, we have had students from Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, Iowa and Texas at our arena for private clinics (#1's to #7's). In every case the improvement in roping cattle was drastic. One beginner had never been exposed to a saw horse or head dummy. The instruction using the Slick-Stick was simple, and the roper went from not being able to coil his rope at 9:00 a.m. to roping live steers, slick around the horns and turning them off consistantly so that they could be heeled by 8:00 p.m. - THE SAME DAY. I don't know how typical that is because we don't often get a chance to work with someone who has never worked on a dummy. But, so far, everytime we have gotten the opportunity, the results have been the same. After he had been through our training process, we showed him a head dummy. This logical businessman, who was now catching cattle in one day, was amazed to find out that people tried to learn to rope using such methods. The dummy made no sense to him at all.

A couple of #5's and #6's learned that if they quit trying to apply saw horse theories to roping cattle that not only did their roping improve, but their delivery became automatic and not a mystery of "where the hand should be." One of them made the comment that after 15 years of roping, heeling now made sense. He said that he could actually make a plan to rope a steer by two feet and see that plan develop. No longer would he approach roping a steer as if he were roping a saw horse but now could practice as if he were roping steers.

I feel that the reason our roping schools and private clinics are so successful is that the information makes good logical sense and it works. The people coming to our schools are relieved to find otu that they are NOT stupid and incapable of learning how to rope. When roping is explained and taught on equipment that is designed and patented to teach them roping, it becomes very easy to improve. You, too, can find out what my new friend from Washington now knows, even a #7 can learn to catch four steers.

For those of you that want to learn to rope, NO, you're not stupid or incapable. You just need better information!!
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What is Perfect Practice?

By DAVID E. JONES

The brain receives a signal through the senses (sight, sound, etc.) A series of electrical impulses are fired from the brain down through the spinal cord, on nerve fibers to neurons attached to muscle fibers. The brain identifies which muscle fibers need to be fired to complete a given task. Individual and groups of muscles contract in a specific order to accomplish the body movement required. If the impulses are fired in the wrong amounts or to the wrong group of muscles, the task is not accomplished with the desired results.

By repeatedly and precisely using a group of muscles, toward a desired result, the firing order of the impulses to the muscles can be trained into a spontaneous action. This is precise practice; the use of specific repetitious training patterns to verify motor control of the muscles. The terms commonly used are muscle memory or motor planning. As the practiced task is accomplished correctly, the brain releases chemicals that give us a reward sensation. As perfect practice continues, biochemically, the body releases inhibitors and neutralizers that stabilize the pattern of the movement that you are trying to conquer. Now your practice has produced muscle memory.

The key element to this process is repeated, precise practice, hundreds, even thousands of repetitions, using the same visual picture and the exact muscles required to complete the task. When you have accomplished this process you have completed what is called "closing the motor loop". The motor loop can be expanded or varied by continuing and broadening the precise practice process.

The result, in team roping, is a natural and stable rope swing that allows you to have time to react to unusual roping situations. In other words, your brain capacity is not used up trying to keep your swing correct while you decide what you need to do to catch the steer.

The swing must remain stable so that the "Laws of Motion" do not adversely affect the delivery of the loop.

The stable swing principle ahs not been applied correctly in team roping because until the invention of the Slick-Stick there was no practical way to accomplish this task.

Attempts have been made to create this process by using a new horse, hay bale with horns and other training devices but in each case, the only result can be the ability to create muscle memory for roping a sawhorse, hay bale or other training device. While you may become proficient at roping these "imitators" the process is not transferable to team roping without beginning, again, with the practice process. Only about 1/3 of the muscle groups needed to rope effectively on a horse are stressed when practicing from the ground. Closing of the correct motor loop, to rope steers, can never be completed by ground practice. And, in fact, having to reprogram the muscle memory (motor planning) process actually takes longer and is more complicated than just practicing the process correctly.

Without the Slick-Stick, the attempt is made to conquer team roping by roping numbers of cattle. Roping cattle can not be described as precise practice but only as a roping scrimmage or random practice. There are never enough repetitions to employ the muscle memory.

Random practice employs a variable choice of muscles. No basic group of muscles are ever trained to fire in a particular order to close the motor loop. Under pressure or competitive stress, adrenaline is released by the body. Increased blood flow is sent to the muscles and the neurons fire without a particular predescribed order. The result is eratic muscle firing. You miss! You wonder why! You make excuses!

Random practice uses a decision making process that is time consuming to learn and apply. It is widely known in sports science that under pressure and competition stress, that we do not have the capacity to use the decision process effectively. The basic task must be controlled by muscle memory allowing the brain the capacity for the brain to make decisions for variables.

Under pressure and competition stress, the

results of applied precise practice should be: increased efficiency and, in the case of team roping, decreased time. Team roping results, up to this time, verify that current training practices are not effective.

At the highest level of the team roping sport, under pressure, misses increase. The percentage of UNSUCCESSFUL runs at the 1993 NFR was 58%. Not since the late 70's has there been a consistant and appreciable difference in the average time.

This does not mean that what is being taught in roping schools is incorrect. Only the application of the teaching and training is incorrect. The instruction, in most cases, is very competent. Using the same basic instruction and the Slick-Stick Training System, all of the motor skills can be easily implemented.

Use of the Slick-Stick Training System is uncomplicated and the results of those using the system to its fullest are dramatic. As a fact of nature, your body seeks the most efficient way of performing a task. Don't panic. You don't have to know all of this to learn to rope. We have designed the Slick-Stick so that it places you in the correct visual and body position, throughout a run.

With the Slick-Stick and with the use of these precise practice principles, your body uses its own ability to find the most efficient way of roping and your practice becomes effective. Competent instruction will greatly enhance the use of the Slick-Stick. One by one, group by group, progressive team roping instructors and our team roping students are learning why our process works.

This is only a sample of the material we have available for instructors and students. Interestingly enough, most of the muscle training principles also apply to training your horse as well.

We verify the information, we distribute, through the sports science industry. Anyone who tells you that our information is not accurate, simply has not taken the time to educate themselves.

Slick-Stick, Built for Perfect Practice!
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It's a Matter of Time

By DAVID E. JONES

An article published in the May 1994 issue of the "Sooper Looper" (The Top Ten List for Winning at the National Finals by John Findlay) stated that, on an average, ropers winning at their national finals had 15 years of roping experience. "Don't be discouraged," the article stated, "It takes time to gain the consistency it takes to win the Big Ones."

One of the world's great team roping champions told me that he considered himself fortunate to get 1 steer out of 15 or 20 runs that could truly be called a good practice steer.

Let's say that you get 5 good practice steers a roping night (perfect position, perfect speed, perfect handle and perfect loop). You practice 3 nights a week, 12 months a year. That's 780 good practice steers a year or 11,700 good practice steers in 15 years.

If you feel that you get more practice out of your steers, let's say 1 out of 5 good practice runs, published data will tell you that "on an average" you have to catch 58,500 steers or more to become a big winner.

Now, if you can rope those steers for $1.00 per run, whether it is at a practice session or you figure your own true cattle and arena costs (I think you will find that it costs more than that) then it is easy to see that it costs you almost $60,000 to become one of the big winners and that it is just for the steers that you caught. We haven't even factored in the cattle that you missed.

Let's say you are 35 to 50 years old and just entering this great sport, add 15 years to your current age. Do you really want to take that long to learn how to be consistent enough to become a big winner?

There is a better way. Years of research have gone into the development of the patented Slick-Stick and the ROPRO Training System. The equipment is designed so that it duplicates heading and heeling runs. Precise, perfect practice, using the exact muscles that you use to rope and an accurate site pattern allow you to create muscle memory (motor planning). These are the ingredients necessary to create consistent team roping runs.

If you rope 100 perfect steers a day on your Slick-Stick (easily accomplished in 1/2 hour), 5 days a week, 12 months a year, you will have roped 26,000 perfect practice runs in just ONE year. That is over 2 times as many good practice runs in 1 year as it takes to rope live cattle in 15 years. Of course, your results will vary depending on your own personal ability and your determination. The Slick-Stick, for you, costs under $6,000 or the entire ROPRO Training System, for you and your horse, costs under $10,000.

If you don't have the time or the money to learn the rope the "old" way, give us a call.
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Perfect Practice

By DAVID E. JONES

About 20 years ago, as daily team roping started to evolve into its current form, great ropers attracted many of us into what has become a national family sport that has about 1/2 million participants. New ropers enter the sport by the hundreds every week. The question is, HAS THE TRAINING OF THE ROPERS KEPT UP WITH THE CHANGES IN THE SPORT?

To answer that question, I think we need to understand how team roping training and instruction have evolved.

Twenty years ago, as groups of 15 to 20 teams of beginning headers and heelers gathered for roping schools, the immediate problem was what to do with them for the 3 or 4 days of a roping school. Running cattle when you couldn't ride or rope was pretty wild. The hay bale with horns and the saw horse solved the immediate problem. We all gladly stood behind these roping dummys for hours trying to copy the loops of our instructors.

Before, all we could learn on was a bucket or a fence post or a telephone pole. What an improvement to have "two legs" or horns to throw toward. The intention, at that time, was not to replace live cattle with a new breed of wooden or alfalfa roping cattle but simply a

way to learn to swing a rope in some kind of a chosen direction.

Over the next 15 or so years, as more and more beginners entered the sport, the focus changed. The saw horse and the head dummy became the tools for trying to learn how to rope. The roping schools could handle more students if they roped these imitators and the instruction was geared toward learning how to rope saw horses and hay bales.

Slick-Stick with Sawhorse Slick-Stick with Sawhorse Now, Ropers have successfully learned how to rope the saw horse and head dummy but few have successfully learned how to rope steers. NO, THE TRAINING HAS NOT KEPT UP WITH THE CHANGES IN THE SPORT. Is there anything about a hay bale or saw horse that looks, moves or is reasonably close to the height of a steer? What makes us think that roping a saw horse would make us rope steers better. Seems kinda silly.

Last week at a roping, I watched a roper get out his saw horse and stand behind it for hours. His confidence grew as he proved to himself and those of us watching that he was a very good saw horse roper. Over the loudspeaker, his name was called. He jumped on his horse and rode up behind the saw horse for "one more good loop".

The rope never touched the ground as it swooshed under the saw horse without coming close to looking like it would catch a steer. You could see the confidence drain from his face as he recoiled to try again. This time the loop hit the ground to the right of the saw horse in a pile that imitated spaghetti. No time for another, it was time to rope.

The fact is, that to train your muscles to do anything, you must use the exact muscles in exactly the same way that you want them to learn. That just can't happen on a saw horse. If you want proof, just keep track of how many ropers can catch all of their steers at the next roping you go to. Keep in mind that they are using about 6 feet of loop from only about 8 feet away from the steer. You would think that, if the practice was correct, catching steers would not be such an impossible task.

If you get rid of your saw horse and head dummy and practice from the correct height, angle, distance and motion, you will be amazed at how quickly you can improve your team roping.
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Painfully Obvious

By DAVID E. JONES

Any of you that know me, or have read my articles in various publications, or are on our mailing list, or have been to one of our schools, know that I have a burning desire for our western heritage to be maintained and promoted through team roping. My goals include helping people who want to learn to accomplish our sport, learn to catch and compete effectively.

I developed the Slick-Stick and the ROPRO Training System for my son, Michael, and I to be able to accomplish what seemed like and almost impossible mission. As other ropers became interested in our system and showed drastic improvement and as the results of our efforts were being proven, several things about team roping became painfully obvious.

There is plenty of evidence and proof that the methods that are currently used at most roping schools are not effective, take too long to accomplish and don't produce enough ropers that can simply catch steers. Many ropers are caught up in training that was "the best there was."

When I was a little kid, I can remember my grandfather buying a small farm. He had about eight acres of hay ground and I can remember watching him hand cutting and windrowing the hay and hand turning it as it cured.

He had an old tractor that he hooked to his hay wagon. He hand loaded the wagon, a pitchfork full at a time, getting on and off the tractor every few yards. The tractor was them parked below the hay loft doors where hay hooks lowered from the hay track and grabbed lifts of hay that were hoisted into the barn by a rope pulled by grandpa's horse.

Then he crawled into the hot, dusty loft and leveled, layered and salted the hay to preserve it.

After the hay was cured, the daily ritual of forking down hay and carrying it, a pitchfork full at a time, to each hay bunk, began.

I remember the neighbors had one of those new baler things. Not only did the neighbor get his hay put up without killing himself, but also when he went to feed, precise amounts of feed could be fed to each animal. What a time, energy and money saver.

I remember asking, "Why don't we bale hay, Grandpa?"

"David," he said, "this is the way I learned to do it. My father and my grandfather did it this way. We don't need any of those Ônew-fangled contraptions.' This way is just fine." It wasn't many years before my grandfather had one of those "new-fangled" baler things.

My point here is that I wish you could understand the frustration when you know that you have information, equipment and instruction to really help ropers conquer their sport and then you discover that few know that they need the information.

Just think about the: Imagine beginners learning how to catch, consistently, in just two days.

Imagine advanced ropers drastically improving their catch percentage and learning how to catch the one they always miss.

Imagine a roping school where ropers say that they wished that there were MORE students because they got to train more that they had arms or horses.

Imagine understanding that right horn-left horn and front to back heading swings are products of a head dummy and have no merit when roping steers.

Imagine a heeling delivery that ALWAYS catches cattle when the correct muscles are trained to control that swing.

Imagine judging the quality of a roping school on whether you could learn how to catch cattle and if that information stayed with you the next week, the next month and for the rest of your life.

Imagine a roping school designed so that you can return for more information, not just the same information. Imagine instructors trained and licensed so that you know that they have the information that you need.

Imagine that you could learn or improve your team roping in a fraction of the time it used to take to learn.

We can! We do! Been there, done that, as the saying goes. We can prove everything, to your satisfaction that you have just been imagining. I think my grandfather would have even liked one of these "new-fangled" systems.

Now, here is the good part. We are NOT trying to keep the information secret. We're not trying to make anybody mad. We're not trying to take business away from other roping instructors. In fact, exactly the opposite is true. Our goal is to get information to qualified instructors and equipment to their schools.

However, simply borrowing a machine to put on schools isn't good enough. I don't think it's a service to the ropers, the instructors, the equipment or the quality of our training system if the instructors don't have the information to instruct effectively.

Even my grandfather got instruction on how to use his "new-fangled" baler.

It's easy to "shoot the messenger." Please, save your "shots" and find out what hundreds of ropers already now know. Our message is honest.

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Linda Jones Articles

 

A Reliable Piece of Equipment!

By LINDA JONES

The most effective and reliable piece of equipment one has to work with in team roping is your body.

It is an amazing machine with sensors and incredible abilities to gauge distance, angle and force by being exposed to training in the correct order.

How did you learn to pick up your feet and put them down efficiently when learning to walk?

How did you learn to put a fork in your mouth without stabbing yourself?

How do you learn to catch a ball coming at you?

How do you learn how much pressure to apply to the brakes on your car to stop the car without throwing yourself through the windshield?

Because of the body's amazing abilities, putting your body in the correct situation and allowing it to develop each skill in order, according to one's own structure, you gain the fundamentals or a foundation on which the body can continue to build and refine. Take the foundation or fundamentals away and you have no support.

The state-of-the-art foundation in team roping is Slick-Stick. Beginners need fundamentals, so do pros in all fazes of sports. Think about it; if you don't believe it, check it out at your local library.

Your body is your best team roping tool when it is permitted to learn properly.

linda@teamroping.com

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That "Feel Good Thing"

By LINDA JONES

As we learn a new skill or sport, everything feels awkward, uncomfortable, not natural.

As we practice more, we settle into feeling familiar, comfortable or natural with the skill or sport.

As we become more practiced, wasted energy and excess movement is cast aside by the body. The skill becomes more refined, efficient and comfortable to execute.

Now we find we need to change some part of our training. YEEOH!!! Again we feel awkward, unnatural and, of course, uncomfortable. It just doesn't feel good. We are tempted to do what was comfortable, even if the results are not what we want.

If your instructor has logical, meaningful information, keep striving to make the corrections needed. As you continue to work on the corrections, they, in time, will become more and more familiar, comfortable and natural.

Your corrected skill will have that "feel good thing" and you will be pleased with the results.

Happy Trails,

LINDA

linda@teamroping.com

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Wildfire!

By LINDA JONES

As many of the guys and gals that practice on the Slick-Stick and have trained their horses on the sled have told me, the ROPRO system is like a brush fire spreading all over the country.

Once they have been to a school or two or have had a private clinic and had a little time to begin to understand the ROPRO theory, "They become born-again Slick-Stick people!"

To those bodies and the ones we have yet to meet, I say "Thank you!"

It's pretty exciting to see an old or new roper start schooling and begin to understand and feel how to use his or her body and its individual parts to improve their roping.

Even if they miss in a practice swing, they don't have to ask someone else why they missed ­ they understand the process and know how to control and fix it.

Did you know the position of your chin and the angle of your head can determine a catch or a miss?

Do you hold your breath when you swing and deliver?

What type of food and exercise is best before competing?

All these things put together give you a little more edge than the next guy. Isn't that the idea?

Take care of that great roping machine (your body) just like you do your favorite truck or other piece of equipment.

Put it in a position to do the best job it can do for you.

Happy Trails,

LINDA

linda@teamroping.com

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And you're upset because your husband ropes?

By LINDA JONES

One day, long ago in the early '70s, my husband said he really liked team roping and wanted to learn how to do it.

He started hanging out with some fellows down the road that roped. They showed him sort of how to swing a rope, sort of how to let go and sort of how to dally.

He tried this for awhile but was not satisfied with the progress for the amount of effort. Then he said, "I think there should be a school I could go to, to learn better and faster."

He tells me that Leo Camarillo is having a school in Dodge City, KS and since I have family there, we should go for a visit.

Home from the school, the practice begins, every night roping a dummy on the ground. He tells me, he's really good at roping the dummy on the ground but doesn't rope any better on a horse and he wonders how standing on the ground can help when it's nothing like sitting on a horse. Then he tells me he's got it! Saddle the horse and rope the hay bale... No... Horse's back is soft and doesn't feel the same and still the angle and distance is different. Can't practice dallying and turning off, or turning the corner to heel. Next, I hear clang-bang out in the barn and out comes a metal thing with feet that swing that you pull by a rope.

Now that we're all set, we have to go clear to Colorado to buy a good horse.

The good horse comes home and we buy more fresh steers. The horse runs so many steers practicing that he's sour (worn out, I'd say.)

One day my husband says, "Look at the things the announcers are saying about these Olympic athletes, how they practice, how they train. Look at the pro golfers, pro tennis fundamentals, drills. Why can't team ropers do that? There must be some kind of machine that is more accurate so you can 'practice perfect' like other athletes do."

Then one day he says, "I think I've got it." He shows me this paper with a horse figure and a steer figure that move. I said, "Sure, Hon!"

20 years go by!! Once again, there's a bang-clang in the barn. It goes on for a long time (months). One day he says, "I got it!"

And there was Slick-Stick. Now, my husband says, "We'll go tell everybody all across the country there's a better way to learn and a better way to practice. They'll love it."

After 3-1/2 years and 350,000 miles or so and a lot of guys who stepped up and bought the first Slick-Sticks and started winning big time, the word is really getting around. Guys that have only roped a year and guys that have roped 15 or 20 years all of a sudden get drastically better and increase their consistancy.

Now we're 25 years later, my son ropes left or right handed, heads & heels with no hassles and understands roping. My husband is able to rope successfully because of the Slick-Stick.

My point is - Gals, if all he wants to do is rope, give him a kiss on the cheek and tell him "Sure, Hon." But get him a Slick-Stick so you don't have to go thru 25 years like I did.

I love team roping and it's worth it.

linda@teamroping.com

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Your Instructor's Approach

By LINDA JONES

Left foot, right foot, left hand, right hand - do you know that ROPRO Professional Team Roping School instructors can better help you conquer your roping, based upon what foot you naturally walk off with. What other activities do you enjoy? It is golf, tennis, basketball, music, weight lifting, football or motorcross? A person's prior knowledge and experience has a lot to do with the approach your instructor SHOULD take in teaching you to rope or in aiding you in getting rid of bad habits. If you only fix one thing, that's a band-aid. Fix the origin of the problem and you have a cure.

A very nice man, Mike from New Mexico, came to Texas for a private ROPRO clinic. Mike is left-handed. He started learning to rope right-handed on the Slick-Stick and within two days he was roping two feet consistently, right handed.

Gary, from Michigan, came to Texas to learn how to rope. He had never picked up a rope and within two days learned to consistently slick horn cattle. Why? No bad habits.

Manuel, from Texas, came for a private clinic. As a #5, he can't rope consistently. Within one day he saw the correct practice process and started to rope consistently. Within two months, he has won two saddles.

Regardless of your weight, shape, size and age, it can happen to you. Find out how your body operates and put yourself in the position to use it to your best advantage. You, too, can be one of the winners.

To all of the "bodies" that understand the ROPRO Training Systems method and that continue to call and write about your practice and winnings, we pledge our continued support and we certainly appreciate yours.

Thank You !!!!!!

We love ya,

LINDA

linda@teamroping.com

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