How to de­ter­mine your haze.

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When Luke Brown was rid­ing Rockstar, he re­ally wanted to break more to­ward the pin. That re­quired me to score more and leave the steer straighter and have enough trust that he’d take care of me as far as not mov­ing the steer too fast. With other horses, Luke has wanted them lean­ing left more.

Lov­ing­ton, New Mex­ico, is a big arena with a lot of room to the right. You know there’s no pos­si­ble way the steer can go right, and it’s your re­spon­si­bil­ity to be the wall. You have no chance of win­ning if that run goes to the right.

Rodeos like Sike­ston, Mis­souri, are fa­mous for the boxes be­ing set down into a tri­an­gle. If the steer even looks left, you can’t make a run on him be­cause there’s zero room for the head horse to go any­where. You have to be a step later than you’re even com­fort­able with.

At a jack­pot—like the US­TRC or World Se­ries—head­ers get a more con­sis­tent start on the steer and scor­ing isn’t as big of a fac­tor. As a heeler, you can feel late. The head horses can re­ally run, so you can feel pan­icked. Even if you get a de­cent start, the boxes are longer. By the time you’re catch­ing up, the header has it on them. But that means you’re re­ally only one or two swings away from be­ing in the right spot. Hazing isn’t as big a fac­tor there be­cause there’s not much you can dic­tate. If you had a smaller jack­pot, with­out a heel bar­rier—those are the rop­ings where arena con­di­tions and the kind of steer you rope have a lot to do with it. The more pat­terned jack­pot steers are go­ing to want to step to the right more. You can be a lit­tle more ag­gres­sive with the steer and try to hold them up. If they feel a heeler, it will slow them up just a bit. You can re­ally pick them up and slow them down to help the header catch up.

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