Team Roping Dummy Guide

Two men practicing team roping in an open area.

Can’t get roping out of your head? Do you dream of roping in the big leagues? You may have the makings of a top-notch team roper. Team roping  is a rodeo event that starts with a rider on horseback. He or she will try to catch a steer with a rope. The sport started as a task cowboys had to perform, roping steers and calves to brand them or give them medical attention. Over time, it evolved into a competition to see who could rope a steer the fastest.

It can be an entertaining and thrilling sport, but success takes lots of practice. You can train with live steers of course, but this often isn’t an option. Fortunately, a team roping dummy can help when steers are not available.
A man riding a horse next to the steer, and a quote about wearing gloves for safety during practice next to it.

What Is a Steer Roping Dummy?

If you’re new to the exciting rodeo event of team roping, you’ll need to practice. And practice. And practice some more. Training as much as possible is the only way to build up your skills. But again, it’s not always practical to learn on live steers. That’s why investing in a high-quality steer roping dummy is so essential. It can be the difference between winning and losing your event.

So why isn’t it always possible to train on live steers? For one, repetition is the key to success, and cattle will tire out quickly if you run frequent drills on them. Plus, not every beginner to this sport will be able to have a steer at the ready. Buying or leasing these animals can be costly, and you will have to pay to keep them happy and healthy.

A steer roping dummy is a great alternative to the real thing, allowing a budding roper to practice. Some will use a bale of hay or some horns to stand in for the animal. This can be okay at first, but you’ll eventually want to upgrade to a dummy. Because other substitutes won’t authentically simulate the roping event. A dummy will be shaped like a real steer. It’ll have everything from horns to hooves. You can even have this prop towed by a horse or ATV to get as close to the real experience as possible.

What Other Equipment Do You Need to Get Started?

Team roping is an activity that begins on horseback, so you’ll need a horse to practice with. In fact, it’s essential that your riding is up to snuff before you start.

You should wear gloves at all times when competing in this event or practicing. Cotton and leather are good if they’re comfortable and protect your hands. Gloves will also help you get a better grip on the rope.

Finally, for team  roping, you’ll need to have a high-quality rope. Of course, there are a lot of options available. Some have different levels of softness, while others vary in length and materials. So, it may be hard to determine which rope is best for you, especially if you’re new to the sport.

We recommend starting with two ropes, one with an extra soft head and one with a medium soft head. Since rope prices can add up, this will help keep your costs low. It will also allow you to get a feel for roping before figuring out which ropes suit your style and needs. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can experiment with different ropes to find out which you like the best.
Side view of a man with a dummy, and some key points regarding general things to note in practicing team roping.

How To Practice With Steer Roping Dummies

When practicing for an event, follow the same steps you would take when competing. If you do otherwise, you might build bad habits that can hurt you when the competition rolls around. For instance, you always want to maintain excellent posture during training sessions. You should start off upright and straight when you ride your horse in. Then move into a forward position as you near the steer or dummy.

There are some other general things to keep in mind. For instance, you should always come from the left side when approaching your steer roping dummy. Start from about 10 feet out. Later, you can experiment with different distances as you progress. Additionally, your right arm should always be the one you use to rope, regardless of which hand is dominant. You should also make sure you don’t throw across your body.

Ready to Saddle Up and Get Roping?

Team roping can quickly turn into a glorious obsession. But if you want to compete, you’ll need a lot of practice. Consistent, disciplined, properly guided practice. The good news is that a steer roping dummy can make a big difference in your training routine. That’s because it’ll allow you to mimic what the actual event will be like. This is especially true if you have someone pull the dummy to simulate a live steer in motion.

And the best way to beef up your roping skills (aside from getting coached in person by a roping legend) is by pairing your practice with X Factor Team Roping. Our online coaching program combines a massive variety of resources and allows you to learn from the best in the roping business.

There are thousands of videos with online coaching, team roping instructional videos, roping highlights, exclusive slow-motion footage you won’t find anywhere else, and more. You can also ask top professionals any questions you may have along the way. There’s no better way to learn team  roping than with X Factor, so why not sign up for a free trial today?

A man riding a calf dummy in background, and a call to action button promoting Free X factor Team Roping Trial.


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Brad, Texas

Being able to watch the slow mo videos have really been a blessing for me. It’s helped me learn my delivery for heeling. Along with how and where my horse needs to be. Some nights my girlfriend and I will break down videos to help us out. She has really progressed in breakaway roping because of watching your videos.

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