The Art of Trick Roping

Ever since I can remember I have always had a rope in my hand.  When I was about 10 years old that was the age that I learned my first rope trick, which was the “butterfly.” Roping has always been a huge part of my life, and trick roping has taught me a lot about how I like to handle my rope. 

I have always been one to watch, observe, and to listen to what other people have to say. I used to watch all of the big kids handle their ropes, and do tricks and that is when I started to get more interested in trick roping. I think that handling a rope is a huge key to success in the rodeo arena because the more familiar I am with the rope, the more things I can try to make it do. If I draw a tricky calf or if the steer makes a weird hop, it can help. 

The hardest trick that I have tried learning is the Texas Skip. It took the longest, and it frustrated me the most. Trying to time the jump right and get through it was way harder than any other tricks that I have tried. I remember when I finally jumped through it 3 times in a row, it was dark outside, and it was light when I started. When I had my knee surgery right after my senior year of high school, I couldn’t ride a horse for five months. That is when I started to get better at trick roping. Since I couldn’t ride, I just roped the dummy a lot. My arm would get so sore, so I would change over to my left arm and learned to do some of the tricks left handed. That usually worked well when we played  “pig” on the dummy. 

One of the biggest reasons that trick roping has been such a big influence in my life is because it has taught me to never give up. It has given me a lot of self-discipline that affected other parts of my life such as, rodeo, school, and basketball. Every time I am practicing something new, whether that is a technique on the dummy, or just in general, I don’t leave until I have done it at least one time perfectly. Many times I have wanted to throw my rope and walk away, but in the back of my mind I stop myself and keep trying. I don’t walk away until I do it perfectly at least once. That way I don’t give up, and I accomplish what I am working towards. 

Everyone has their own unique style, and being able to handle my rope in different ways has made it fun for me while roping the dummy, roping in the branding pen, or at a rodeo. I am glad that I love to rope so much, and I am very thankful for all of the opportunities I have had. 

Chelsey Bushnell