JAKE BARNES: Talk it over, make a plan and ex­e­cute

Spin to Win Rodeo - - News -

When you’re at the top of your game you don’t have to think about chang­ing your style or strat­egy, be­cause ev­ery­body’s chas­ing you. You make your game plan and go ex­e­cute it. After all these years I know all the set­ups and con­di­tions, so I ba­si­cally know what it takes to win wher­ever we go. But that said, as the rop­ing bar keeps get­ting raised, I’m now hav­ing to re­think my strat­egy to keep up with the times. The con­di­tions we rope un­der re­ally vary. We go to lit­tle build­ings for one-head­ers and we go to a five-header over a long score at Sali­nas. I’ve seen it all so many times that I know what’s ba­si­cally go­ing to hap­pen be­fore we even get there. At Red Bluff (Calif.) ev­ery spring, it’s likely to rain and the steers are likely to ei­ther go left to that fence or try to beat you to the right. At Clo­vis (Calif.) it’s easy to get into that left wall, and the catch-pen is in the left cor­ner. So by the time the short round comes there’s a good chance they’ll be headed left, which makes it hard. Luck of the draw and con­di­tions are huge fac­tors in what we do. But no mat­ter where we are or what the con­di­tions, we al­ways make a pre-game game plan or strat­egy ev­ery­where we go.

As just one ex­am­ple of con­di­tions, the steers at Guy­mon (Okla.) are dead fresh. They’ve never been roped or even run through. So in the first round, the steer’s go­ing to walk out and there’s no telling where he’s go­ing to go. You know be­fore you get there that you need a horse that’ll stand there and score. You also know right up front that be­cause of the de­gree of dif­fi­culty on those fresh cat­tle, three 7-se­cond runs will win you big money there ev­ery year.

At Guy­mon and Cheyenne (Wyo.), I use sim­i­lar strat­egy, be­cause the steers are dead fresh at both places. At Cheyenne they put two steer rop­ing runs on the steers first, then we team rope them. It’s im­por­tant at both those places that your heeler does not wig­gle over on that heel­ing side or he’ll shoot the steer left. A lot of guys nod for their steer at those places when the steer turns his head back­ward, be­cause a steer’s more likely to walk out than take off run­ning if he starts with his head turned back, as op­posed to fac­ing for­ward when you nod.

If you have a steer that runs over to the left at Cheyenne it hurts your chances, so it’s re­ally im­por­tant to keep steers out in the mid­dle of the arena or even headed to the right a lit­tle bit. Since the steer’s go­ing to re­act to what he sees first, it is again crit­i­cal that your heeler sits still over there.

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