Team roping: Cowboys and cowgirls must rely on each other like no other event in rodeo.
One bad move or a poorly thrown rope can spell disaster for many of the contestants in this year's Silver State International Rodeo.
For the novice, the idea is for the header to throw the first loop and snare it around the steer's neck. The steer is pulled to one side to allow the healer to rope the hind legs.
Nevada cowboy Keston Denny of Gardnerville said the event depends on several successful factors.
"Having a good horse cooperating," is the first thing Denny said was important, "and drawing a good steer, one that will help you out a bunch."
He and partner Amy Beaupre of the Mark Twain Estates near Dayton have been team roping all season, and they have had to overcome transportation barriers even to succeed.
Denny and Beaupre attended different high schools, but they belonged to the Douglas-Carson Rodeo team.
"The hardest thing was getting to practice together. We couldn't everyday," she explained.
Consequently, Beaupre worked out with a trainer in Dayton and then several times a week, either Denny would travel to Dayton or Beaupre would drive to Gardnerville.
Beaupre said she and her partner are happy to be in the SSIR. On their first run, they had a time of 11.20 seconds.
While Denny called their time "a little slow," Oregon cowboy Greg Schaffeld from The Dalles was pleased with his time of 11.61. His partner is Katrina Pelroy from Crane.
"That's perfect. That's an average," said Schaffeld after they completed their first run. "You don't get a saddle on one steer."
Schaffeld and Pelroy each picked up team roping as an extra event at the SSIR, and both ropers felt good about their first time roping together.
Pelroy, though, said the hardest part is figuring out the partner's horse and how it reacts in the arena.
Familiarity with one's partner, however, does not guarantee success.
Utah brothers Olin and Luke Pulham, who finished fifth in their state competition, couldn't synchronize their roping.
"Can't catch them all," said Luke after he exited the large arena.
Olin Pulham didn't seem too upset.
"We've had our share of success," he added.
Team roping has attracted one of the largest fields of competitors this year to the SSIR. Approximately 112 teams are competing in four performances with the Top 15 vying for the first place saddles on Saturday night.