Classifications - Why everyone can't be a #3
Team roping conversations used to be more about catching steers than about other’s classifications. Today, ropers are becoming too concerned with their classification. Let me be clear . . . Not every roper can be a #3 or #4! It’s almost out of hand there are ropers who have been roping their entire lives who want to be #3 ropers!
If you’re wondering about your own number or someone else’s, here are some general rules for classifications (these are Ty’s rules):
#5 Roper – This is an amateur roper. Probably 50 percent of NAA ropers fit this classification. They can ride, handle their rope, and on any given day put three good runs together.
#4 Roper – This is reserved for the bottom 40 percent of amateur ropers. Heelers catch about five out of ten; headers catch about seven out of 10 (and not in front of the chute). These ropers have more difficulty putting together three smooth runs.
#3 Roper – This is someone who catches about 30 percent of their cattle. That’s easy to remember – #3 equals a 30% catch rate.
Team roping is a mature sport; most ropers are classified correctly. There are concerns out there – especially about the young kids who get better each year. However, the USTRC does a terrific job staying on top of it daily. Classifications are designed to offers ropers of different abilities a chance to be competitive. And it works. However, it’s also set up to drive people and build the sport. If you are content with your roping abilities, then I applaud you. But if you still have a desire to win and compete at the best of your ability and to become better, then the classification system allows you to grow.
The biggest compliment you can receive in team roping is a letter or phone call saying your classification number has been raised. That means you have been turning heads and even more importantly, winning. Maybe your age, health, even your abilities have you grounded in your current classification, but if you’re a competitor—which if you rope, you are—then you can always maintain that hope that you’ll progress and become better.