Blowing off the stink of winter is no cheap feat for a roper. He is sure to find that he needs new ropes, his trailer needs a new tire or two and of course, the horses need shod and his entry fee savings didn’t quite grow like he’d planned for it to.
Forcing him to do a little scratchin’ on paper, he’ll run a quick tally for an estimate of what the roping and rodeo season ahead is going to cost him. What does it all mean to him? Absolutely nothing.
Serious discussion around the watering hole has the cowboy making rash statements like “the price of diesel may keep me home a little more this summer.” What he really means is “I may not be able to pay the rent, but I’m not missing a roping!”
Taking an extra job to try help with his personal budget deficit comes up in conversation from time to time. The suggestion of becoming a part time bartender brought a round of applause from fellow ropers followed immediately by requests for confirmed discounts from “friends” who he had not yet met.
If someone with a bookkeeping background were to put the roper’s financials on paper, it would read something like “Income and Expense Statement, Profit Center: Competition Roping.”
The expense column would have a long list of “must haves” that total to a shocking number. The cowboy will qualify the sum with “estimate only – exact records are not required.”
It is hard to tell which comes first, the rope, the horse or the rig. They are listed here in no particular order of importance.
Top notch #1 winning rope horse $10,000
Back-up practice horse $9,500
Three-horse slant aluminum trailer $30,000
Two-seater truck to pull trailer $40,000
Seasonal Fuel Costs –Not to be discussed
Ten Corriente steers for practice $5,000
Worthless Blue Heeler dog named Radar $200
Arena for practicing and socializing $5,000
Hydraulic chute (cheaper than a divorce) $3,500
Roping school with National Finals winner $700
Different roping school with a good teacher $700
Entry fees (to date) $900
- New saddle $1,200
- EXTREME go and slow bit, $125
- Polyethylene urethane no-pressure saddle pad, $125
- A box of “no miss” ropes $250
- “Never get’em hurt” horse leg-protection $125
- Space-age biothane tie down $20
- Straw hat (came with full-size George Strait picture) $70
- Headstall with turquoise $200
Total estimated expense before fuel $107,615
First in the average at Podunk Arena, Anywhere, USA
3:14 p.m., Sunday, April 1, 2012 $228
Total income (exact figure) $228
In spite of the math, every rodeo ground in America continues to be covered over in trucks, trailers, hats, and swinging ropes throughout the spring, summer, fall and well into winter. It’s a man’s sport, a woman’s sport and a family sport. It appeals to doctors, lawyers, a few Indian chiefs and every now and then, even a genuine cowboy.
If you happen to be looking for a way to put a little disposable income into circulation, buy a rope. The rest will just come naturally.
Julie can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org