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Tie,or dally?

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Well-known member
Apr 12, 2005
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South Texas
Of those who rope,who here ties,and who here dallies?It depends on what im doing,if im doctoring calves,especially alone,i tie off,but if im catching strays from shipping season,then i dally,so i can pull my rope through the trailer bars,and pull them into it.Most guys down here tie hard and fast,because of the thick brush,you only get one shot,and if you miss your dallies,then youve lost your shot,and a rope.The motto down here is simple.Kill the horse,Kill thy self,but rope and hang on.

I always read and heard about tieing on hard and fast, "you got it or it's got you".

Up here where we have less brush mostly it's dally. Tie on as you do, when it's needed. Why limit yourself to only one way of doing something? There are times when either way has advantage.

I read an interest story by Barney Nelson years ago in the Western Horseman magazine about Ross Knox. He grew up learning to rope both ways. He said,"When I go up north them buckaroo's call me a cowboy and when I go back down south them cowboys call me a buckaroo!"

He claimed that on a green horse he would be more apt to tie on hard and fast so as to not lose his stock, while on a broke horse he'd be more apt to dally as he would have a better chance of keeping up with the critter on a well trained horse.

We have a young man from this neighborhood, Brad, who went to Texas for several winters and broke colts with Buster McLaury. When Brad came home one spring he was riding a fairly green colt at a branding in the dragging pen. He took his dallies around the horn, leaving about 20 to 25 feet to rope with and then stuck the remaining coils of the rope under his knee. He was esentially tied on and could use both hands on the reins to steer the colt and yet in the event of a wreck he could turn the rope free. Seemed to work pretty good for him. I've done it a few time in the corral while riding a broke horse when I was working colts horseback, so as to free up my hands.

Are you familiar with the song/poem "Windy Bill"? he tied on hard and fast and "watched his Sam Stagg tree and ol' magee go driftin' down the draw. Great old song.

I hate to tie on for the simple fact of hurting myself or worse, my horse! 99% of the time you can rope a steer, calf, cow, bull and tie on and be ok, but then there is that one that wraps you or pulls something sneaky and gets you in trouble and you can't break loose of it. I understand some situations call for tying on, which is fine, but then again some situations arn't worth getting yourself or your horse broken up over. You get yourself broken up doing something foolish in the ranching business, some may call you a real "cowboy", but others will call you a damn fool! Especially when the situation could of been avoided hadn't the person tried to be such a "cowboy". Some things just won't work certain days and you need to go home and try again later. I need to eat those words really cause I don't do that....when I was riding bog checking cattle during my college summers, if I had to push a cow or mess with a calf and they didn't co-operate I'd like to kill myself and the critter trying to get what I thought needed acomplished acomplished! haha. Bovine can piss a guy off real bad sometimes.

When I was roping calves to doctor I'd dally first then after I realized things were under control i'd tie off my dally and step off. Of course if your roping sick calves and they give you a lot of fight maybe they can go atleast one more day without that shot/pill!!! LOL

If you have to rope and drag your cows around like dogs on a leash, you have way to much ear (darn brahmans anyway!) in them! But I understand the situation in South Texas. I know people who ranch big in the Bad Lands of South Dakota and their country is rough and rugged. The cattle, long horns especially have adapted well and the've got cattle they haven't been within shooting distance of for years! I think they've been getting frisky with the local mule deer!! lol

Of course when I'm team roping I dally or I'd be flagged out! LOL
Jingle Bob or TX Tibbs, don`t know if either of you remember when the SDRA had hard and fast team ropeing. But it got to be pretty hard on stock when the header went down the rope to tie the back legs.

I prefer dally, but if needed or the situation calls for it have tied on.
Typically I`ll try for one hind leg. Guess it`s what`s worked best for me in the past 40+years.
I sure have heard of Tie-down ropings! My grandpa Ancel Tibbs used to put on an annual tie-down roping in Fort Pierre, South Dakota for years...like 20 years or so I think. He did this until due to failing health and the inability to get sponsors he quit it. Not many people tie-down rope anymore. It was one of the very few in the area. His wasn't SDRA sactioned but were rather just an annual jackpot tie down roping type of a thing. It would draw quite a few ropers tho. I never did compete at one of grandpa's ropings cause usually I was stuck behind the chute pushing steers. It would be in August and I don't know if any of you have been to the Fort Pierre Arena in August, but it can be one hot, humid son of a pooch!! It was really ashame for that annual tradition to end, but my dad didn't want to keep it going and didn't have time to organize it each year and no one else stepped up so it just sorta went by the way side.

You'd see some good wrecks sometimes at them!
Almost always stir the horn, if I tie off, I can jerk a knot ang get free. Many years ago when I was young, I used to run several hundred wheat pasture horses every year with a patner, Jeff Smith. Many times the best way to catch a horse off of wheat pasture is roping him, and that's how we caught most of our horses. As they'd get fat and freshen up, we'd rope 10 or 15 and swap them.

It takes a faster horse to catch a fast horse, and I always had a couple horses that could catch about any horse. There were turnout horses that could run too, and these you cheap shot or outsmart, and if you're cheap shotting a horse to catch him, you better tie off. You have 1 shot and if it fails, you now are chasing a fast and smart horse. We had a big pretty bay JetDeck mare that was bred to run and could run, but I needed her caught. At the time my best catch horse was an aged grade buckskin gelding that was all of 16 hands, and he had alot of run too.

I knew I was in for a horse race so of course I tied on and grit my teeth. I herded the mare with about 40 other horses down to a creek hoping the creek would slow the herd down and I could cheap shot jet deck. I saw my shot developing and opened up on the Jet Deck mare, and it didn't take her long to see I was closing fast. The Jet Deck mare was blocked off by horses on both sides and the creek straight ahead. I got to her justin time to rope her as she was jumping off a 6 or 8 foot creek bank. It was the perfect cheap shot, but I couldn't get stopped before me and ol bucky went off the creek bank. The Jet Deck mare found her feet while bucky was still in the air, and when she hit the end of my twine, she jerked bucky down sideways in that creek. We were getting pulled along in the creek. but bucky soon fought to his feet and shut down the Jet Deck mare. From then on, that buckskin gelding would really really watch a rope.

Lucky I was tied off or I might have missed that mare, ha ha
Lol,good story Brad.I agree with y'all,i prefer to dally,but like said,there are times when you need to tie,i dont like to limit myself to one style either,the only problem i occasionally face is the long rope,and the need to tie off,i usually just let about two coils hang,to take about ten feet off of it because i prefer a 40 foot rope.As far as pasture roping,do any of yall use an aerna rope? I personally cant stand them,i have never found one i like,and when i start to get used to one,they start fraying and getting old,besides,i enjoy a longer rope for more dally room,just curious.
I like to tie on most of the time if i am ina hurry and gotta catch somthin i will sometimes dally if thigs are happnin fast , as i dont leave my horn knot on all the time i have sen some that do it and thats just like standing on a building with a lightning rod during a thinder storm its not if you get hit its when . I will not tie off in a corral but i see alot of our texas friends that like to do that but there are too many men and to much stuff in a brandin corral to be wiped out to be tied off if you get in a wreck . I dont tie on cause i am scared to loose what i roped , if i cant get my dallys when i catch somthin i better find a new occupation ha ha , its just easier to catch them criters when your tied off .

Jingle bob that deal you said about Ross knox i know ole ross very very well he is a damn good friend of mine i have known him for years he used to come down from the canyon and day work with us he is a good ole boy thats for sure , and when you get him drunk and playin cards ha ha ha he is alot of fun to be around thats for sure man the storys that guy has is crazy .

We've missed you...where ya been?

And I was around when tying hard and fast was the team roping event...but I was always glad when dally roping came along.

And I don't think there is a critter alive (in or out of an arena) that is worth hurting a good horse over...
FH, this was a post brought back from the dead.. Tibbs posted that back in 2005.. I think AZcowpuncher was doing a little archive trolling ,lol...
three words for you men HARD AND FAST over here catching wild cattle there are sure alot of pine thickets and drty pastures.so one chance is usually all you get plus most of the guys sround here are those competion ropers. and sure aren't that handy in the woods sowhen i catch'em i got to keep'em
azcowpuncher said:
Jingle bob that deal you said about Ross knox i know ole ross very very well he is a damn good friend of mine i have known him for years he used to come down from the canyon and day work with us he is a good ole boy thats for sure , and when you get him drunk and playin cards ha ha ha he is alot of fun to be around thats for sure man the storys that guy has is crazy .

So what is ross? A buckaroo or a cowpuncher? :wink:

I met him in Elko and he provided a lot of laughter. I sure like the poems he writes, that I have got to listen to. :)
well ha ha thats a hard one to say , he is a damn good horse hand and a good packer , he is good help and a hell of a hand with a rope , but he wears chinks and an a fork saddle and kinda acts like a buckaroo but he is good in my book ha ha . Yeah one of these days i will call you and tell ya about the story claude dallas that he told me , he was very good friends with claude .
Usually tie on with the chain link until we get to the trailer then dally.Unless Im scared, then dally all the way. Hey Ropesanddogs, I got some gritty cur pups for sale, call me.
Apparently two years later there is still a debate :)

My dad and his brothers tied on --dally wasn't even a word in anybody's vocabulary..not sure it had been invented yet :)

Me...I like to get out of a wreck every chance I get :) --so I dally --when I can. When I can't, I say, oh well, what the hell. Maybe next time :) :)
This post gets to sounding like 'What Not to Wear'-we live in brush and swamo country and I've never seen anybody ever tie hard-mind you we aren't roping dainty little desert flowers either. trust me when those old bulls get on the peck you don't want to be tied on in a willow muskkeg lol. As for hat styles a couple buddies of mine and I were gathering Simmental cows off a huge meadow full of runs in late fall one year. There were a bunch of native cows running out with two calves their yearling frm the year before and their spring calf-they were just like moose they knew every spot to cross those muskkegs-we finally got all but two charcross cows gathered and across the Beaver River. My bud got his loop on a big buckskin and got in a real jackpot in the willows. When he came out his Stormy Kromer had the brim pushed straight up-of course we didn't tell him-he looked like Elmer Fudd had ran into a brick wall. I told him I thought he turned it up to see better lol. The bottom line is there are good cowboys all over and who don't know the dress code but they get their job done. I have a feeling us north boys wouldn't last an hour in the rock and cactus but I don't think you buckeroos would find a day in frozen muskkeg much fun either. All I know it's fun to work stock with a good hand no matter who or where you are.
Good post NR. Been there and done that alot. Tieing hard is a death wish. Especially in the bush. A lot can go wrong in a hurry when you're after some bush running old darlin or bull. You want to get the job done but you don't want to hurt yourself, your horse, or the animal. Interesting you said charcross, because pretty much every stray we've ever had to catch was a char or charcross. I think alot of them should be raced on the track against horses because they can sure get out and scoot. That's probably why you'll never see any charolais blood in my own herd. I had a big old grey thoroughbred, percheron cross gelding one time that was great for going after these bush running cattle. If you lost them in the bush, you just stood quiet, and old Fuzzy, I called him, would listen and then take off on his own after them. You just kicked your feet out of the stirrups, dropped the reins, and let him go. You could use both hands for beating off bush. The guys used to call him Hounddog. He wasn't real fast, but he was good in the bush and going through swamp(size 2 shoes).
Yeah northern rancher i agree with you every one has their own ways of doing things . I tie on most of the time roping cows and yearlins calves and such and if i am by myself and got somthin shitty to catch i will always tie on , now its all on the situation weather to dally or tie hard say your on the side of a mountain you got a big bull on the fight your standin on shale rock there aint no flat for a mile or so up the country and you need to catch this bull that is on the fight , you can guarantee that my horn knot is comin off and i will dally cause i wanna be able to get away from him or ride up on my rope if i have too . See thats the difference with some guys tho , like and i am not sayin anything bad about anyone at all just wanna get that clear before i make my next statement ok . I have worked with alot of texans that tie off all the time no matter the situation and i have seen them laugh when their horse gets jerked down , and 90 percent of them guys that tie off all the time cant handle a rope and thats why they do it , or they step off and watch the wreck well that **** aint funny to me at all , if you got the balls to tie off and you get in a wreck then have the balls to ride it out then , dont step off and laugh and watch the wreck . You see alot in texas as well of 3 or 4 guys gettin a rope on the same critter ha ha why ???????? if you cant catch what ever you need to catch and handle them or tie them down by your self then you need to go back to the feedlot .

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