March 26th, 2019

Rodeo club brings back tie-down roping clinic for kids

By Peggy Revell on July 11, 2018.

Maci Martens swings a lasso during The Short Grass Rodeo Club's annual tie down roping clinic Tuesday, July 10, 2018.

The next generation of ropers trained and tested their rodeo mettle, as the Shortgrass High School Rodeo Club’s annual tie down roping clinic returned this week to Kin Coulee.

Overseeing the clinic was former Canadian calf-roping champion Joe Lucas — also known by his nickname “Smokin’ Joe.”

“It gets the young guys and gals started off on the right foot with the proper basics,” said Lucas of the event, which ran Monday and Tuesday, and had dozens of youth practising roping and tying techniques with dummy steers.

“In roping there’s a million ways to do it wrong,” he said, and this can lead to bad habits. “Positive guidance makes it easier for them to become pros.”

Lucas’s favourite part of the annual clinic is seeing how it lights a fire with the youth.

“It’s always fun working with these kids to see so much improvement in a short amount of time,” he said. Many will go home and practise all year round, coming back next year having improved greatly. Some of his former students have gone on to win championships.

This is the second year at the clinic for youngster Jet Rowan, who practises roping 10 times a day and wants to be like Smokin’ Joe when he grows up.

Where to aim with the rope? “The ‘X’ on the neck,” said Rowan.

Learning, fun and friends are what Rykert Scherger loves about the program.

“I’ve learned to tie faster,” said Scherger, adding that he’s loved roping since he was little.

He wants to be a professional roper — his goal?

“I’m going to win $1,000,” he said.

“When I first came here, I didn’t even know how to hold a rope,” said 14-year-old Taylor Scholach. “My love for roping just grew from there, and I’ve come here ever since.”

Scholach has become serious about competitive roping over the past few years, most recently competing in Winnemucca Nevada at the Silver State International Rodeo.

She encourages all youth to participate in the clinic — even those who have no background in the sport.

“You can come here and not have any rodeo background, and come out knowing how to rope a dummy,” she said,

“Some kids are just beginners, some are older, but you just try your best,” agreed Scherger.

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