Clayton Van Aken, from California, ropes a steer in Saturday's team roping competition at the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series. Successful team roping — like most team sports — takes hours of practice to develop a pair's comfort level.

Photo by Ben Ingersoll

Clayton Van Aken, from California, ropes a steer in Saturday's team roping competition at the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series. Successful team roping — like most team sports — takes hours of practice to develop a pair's comfort level.

Chemistry proves critical in rodeo team roping success

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— What exactly does it take to be a successful pair in team roping?

Dusty Moore has the quick and easy answer.

“A lot of practice,” Moore, a Douglas, Wyoming, native says, flashing a grin that reveals the tobacco chew stuffed in his upper lip as well as his pride for what he does.

Moore’s teammate Trever McNamee, of Burns, Wyoming, dives in a bit more about how team ropers are successful as one of the rare team events in rodeo.

“A lot of practice together,” McNamee interrupts. “You can rope with someone different all you want, but you just have to rope with each other. You have to figure out each other’s preferences and stuff.”

McNamee certainly knows the feeling. He’s roped the better part of the 20 years he’s been alive, a good chunk of which have been spent coming to the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series, with different partners along the way but the same goal in mind — money and fun.

He and Moore — an Oklahoma Panhandle State University student — teamed up recently with varied success and an extremely busy summer schedule ahead of them.

Saturday morning, the two were in Evergreen, and by night were at the second night of the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series, chasing down a steer as a header-heeler combo against eight other teams. Sunday, Moore and McNamee will be at another Colorado rodeo, always chasing a paycheck, never stopping for very long each summer.

“Over the Fourth of July, I think we are in eight or nine in one weekend,” Moore said. “That’s pretty typical.”

McNamee said beyond roping a steer together and — hopefully — getting paid, the circuit finals are the ultimate goal of just about every team roping duo at Saturday’s rodeo.

The United States is broken up into 12 circuits, with Wyoming and Colorado making up the Mountain States Circuit. Every rodeo held in either state is an opportunity to stack points toward the circuit finals, and money won could spell points toward the national standings.

And while the Pro Rodeo Series held downtown throughout the summer is a chance to get to that stage to square off against the country’s elite, McNamee said Steamboat provides a bit more excitement than it should for its size.

“It’s a great rodeo,” he said. “We come to every one, and we’ve been coming for the last eight years. We’re huge fans of it. It’s always a good crowd. Aside from a rainy night every now and then, it’s great.”

Week 1 drew a handful of regional competitors and some from as far away as California, Hawaii, Georgia and North Carolina. And with the east grand stands at Brent Romick Arena nearly packed full both nights, opening weekend could be considered a success, even if the bulls and broncs got the better of the riders on Friday and Saturday for the most part.

But even for the good majority who are packing up their trailers to head to the next rodeo nearby or far away in search of a paycheck, McNamee said much of the glamour of summer competition comes from new faces and new places, even if it comes with a lump or two.

“It’s always a good time,” McNamee said. “It’s so fun traveling and hanging out. Rodeoing, it’s a good time. You get to a bunch of different places all summer.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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