Slow and steady wins the race? Or quick and consistent? Or a mixture of both?
When it comes to team roping, we’d say it’s a little balance of both, and 22-year old NFR qualifier, Hunter Koch, has seemed to have found the perfect balance.
We got to spend a day in the roping pen with Hunter, and afterward, we had the opportunity to pick his brain on how exactly he taught himself to rope, how he went from a three heeler to an eight and then to a 10, what he did to become so consistent, how he practices, the mindset he tries to maintain, how he prefers his horses, and a lot of other information you probably need to hear.
Here are a few key takeaways you can expect to get out of watching the videos with Hunter, and listening to his podcast:
Consistency really is key.
Sometimes, the first shot you think you might have, may not actually be the best.
And, sometimes becoming consistent in your catching means willing to be inconsistent in your tactics. Hunter said he really started focusing on setting his horse up to take the first legal shot, but going past that if it wasn’t right. If the steer does something or isn’t quite ready to be heeled yet, Hunter simply goes the extra jump. Something really interesting Hunter explained throughout our interview was that he often finds taking a little extra time to make sure everything is set up right, actually doesn’t take that much time. “That’s really what took me from an eight to a 10,” Hunter said. “My consistency got way more advanced altogether.”
Don’t complicate things.
It can be easy to overthink things in the arena. Especially, when the stakes are high. One way to combat the temptation of overcomplicating things, is to set the intention for the day. Whether you’re in the practice pen, at a jackpot, or a rodeo, your goal should be the same every time you back in the box. For Hunter, he said he strives to set up his run as fast as he can and be prepared to take his best shot, regardless of where he’s roping. Sometimes that means slowing things down, keeping things simple, and making a game plan with every horse and every steer before you ever step foot in the arena.
If you want it, you have to work for it
Hunter didn’t come from a background of team roping or rodeo. In fact, he is the only one in his family who ropes, and while he picked up a rope at a young age for the first time, he had to teach himself how to use it. He started studying online roping videos to figure out technique and timing. Roping every day he could, and entering as many jackpots as possible. While Hunter's team roping career started in high school as just an activity he simply enjoyed doing, his work ethic enabled him to make it into his full time career.
There’s a lot more tips and insights and tactics we discussed with Hunter, but we don’t want to give it all away here. Head over the videos we filmed with Hunter, or check out the podcast!