Well, I did it. I signed up for a breakaway clinic. I have wanted to learn how to rope since I was about twelve years old. At that time, my folks didn’t have any rope horses and really didn’t have the means to buy one. None of us knew how to train a rope horse. When I was growing up, I broke a lot of colts and showed horses, but I didn’t compete in rodeos. I did some barrel racing and pole bending. But I also did hunter/jumper classes, reining, trail – just about everything except rodeo.
One of my goals for this year is to learn how to rope. I’ve been roping the dummy for weeks, and with Garris’ help, I’ve gotten pretty comfortable throwing the rope. But I knew I needed some actual lessons.
Last week, I was scrolling through Facebook and found a breakaway clinic that is going to be held in Helena March 24 and 25. It was like a sign. I called about it and asked the woman putting it on if it would be appropriate for someone like me: an absolute and true beginner who has never chased a calf.
After I explained my situation, she thought it was awesome that I was willing to go to a clinic. And she thought this was a great way to get started ‘right’, with a solid technique so that I didn’t have to correct bad habits later on.
I checked with Cyris’ girlfriend, Regan, to see if she’d be interested. She was. Long story short: we’re going to this clinic together. I’m excited about it and hope I learn a lot in the two days. And I’m excited for Regan. Her roping has improved so much in the last four years, with Cy’s help. But she’s at a point where she needs someone besides her boyfriend coaching her. She’s talented. She rides his calf horse. And I know if she can get things figured out, she’ll be able to take her roping skills to the pay window beyond college.
I know I’m going to be the oldest person at this clinic. And I know for that alone, I’ll probably have a lot of people staring at me, wondering why this old woman is out there with a bunch of kids. But I truly don’t care. Everyone has to start at some point. I’m starting now.
Do I wish I had honed these skills earlier in life? Sure. And I do envy the kids who pick up a rope before they can even read, like my boys all did. But I decided that I either start now, at the point I’m at, or I’m not going to ever try.
I may go to this clinic and absolutely hate chasing calves. I may decide that’s all I need to do and not pursue breakaway any further.
But I may fall in love with this event. I may do well enough and learn enough that I take a chance with competition this summer.
Who knows? No one, yet. But I’ll be sure to let you know. In about two months, I’ll have a better idea of whether or not breakaway is for me.