Roping training device speed roper
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A roping practice device for training headers and heelers is provided. The present training device generally comprises a vehicle-pulled sled unit, a pivotal vertical support unit, and a main frame unit, pivotal about the vertical support unit to allow for offset positioning of the main frame to mimic the natural inclinations of a steer to swing around a corner. The main frame comprises a pivoting frame from which depends a pair of hind legs. A drive means and linkages are provided to rock the legs back and forth and to move the rear of the animal up and down. A linkage for rocking the legs is adjustable and provides a roper the ability to alter the starting point at which the legs rock, thereby allowing the roper to mimic the natural inclinations of a steer to run up the rope and drag. A further adjustable linkage also provides a roper the ability to alter the range of the leg rocking motion, further mimicking the variety of natural reactions exhibited by a steer encountered by a roper in a roping competition and means for staggering or offsetting rear leg movement.

Perkins, Girard Davis (Hugo, OK, US)
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Primary Examiner:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Girard Perkins (Hugo, OK, US)
I claim:

1. A roping practice device for training headers and heelers wherein the device comprises: a) A support unit having a vertically disposed post; b) A vertically disposed mounting tube for pivotal engagement of said vertically disposed post; c) A frame, pivotally attached to said vertically disposed mounting tube; wherein said vertically disposed mounting tube is provided with a transversely extended rod for pivotal movement of said frame; wherein said frame is provided with a pair of rearward extending rails having an arch for secure transverse engagement of said rails; wherein a rearward most axle; or shaft. d) A pair of hind legs depending from said axle; wherein said hind legs depend from said axle outside said rails; wherein said hind legs are pivotally attached to said axle for pivotal rocking movement of said hind legs; a beam member, extending rearwardly and horizontally from said vertically disposed mounting tube, having mounted thereon a slidable sleeve member. e) A motor mounting platform extending rearwardly and horizontally from said vertically disposed mounting tube, having mounted thereon a gear motor. f) A drive means, mounted on said platform for driving said pivotal movement of said frame and for driving said pivotal rocking movement of said legs; g) A left side drive which has offset cam to raise and lower body and drive sprocket for left rear leg. h) An offset cam to body link to connect cam to body to raise and lower body. i) Means for adjusting leg body timing of left and right legs. j) A means for mounting and moving front leg. k) A means for offsetting or staggering rear leg movement and a means for changing offset or stagger. l) A means for supplying energy to said drive means. m) A means for pivotally attaching support tubing so that it is spring loaded. n) A means to adjust both rear and front legs to different positions.

2. A roping practice device according to claim 1. Wherein said drive means comprises an electric gear drive motor mounted to said platform, said gear motor having two output shafts, one output shaft drives offset cam which raises and lowers body on also has a sprocket that moves left leg. Backward and forward, other output shaft has sprocket and arm which moves right front and rear legs backward and forward.

3. A roping practice device according to claim 1 wherein said means for adjusting said drive arms an said drive sprocket with change the offset or stagger of rear legs.

4. A roping practice device according to claim 1 wherein said means for adjusting each legs rearward and forward movement by adjustment of leg slides.

5. A roping practice device according to claim 1 wherein said means for supplying energy to said means comprises a twelve volt battery in electrical communication with an electric motor.

6. A roping practice device according to claim 1 wherein said support unit comprises a sled frame adopted for being pulled across the ground an a pair of skids.

7. A roping practice device according to claim 1 wherein said sled frame is provided with a battery box and speed control switch.

8. A roping practice device according to claim 1 wherein said support unit is a vehicle hitch assembly.

9. A roping practice device according to claim 1 wherein said support unit is a recreational vehicle or a pickup truck.

10. A roping practice device according to claim 1 wherein said frame supports an animal torso unit provided with a horned head.



1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to training devices to improve roping skills, and more specifically, to a roping training device designed to simulate the natural hopping action of a live steer in tow by head horse.

2. Background of the Prior Art

The ability to rope, control, and bring down a calf on the run without causing injury to the animal was a necessity to the American cowboy. Images of cowboys on the range dusty cattle drives are the linchpins of the American old west. The typical ranch hand of the old west was expected to be proficient in the use of a lariat rope, a skill essential to routine ranch work such as examining, treating, and branding cattle. Like many other occupations requiring talents involving hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, and strength, the common chore of roping cattle became a contest of skill among the ranch hands. Eventually, ranch workers and owners began to organize events and competitions amongst local ranches to showcase the various talents of the ranch worker.

One event that evolved from local-ranch competitions was team roping. In team roping, the first member of a two-person team, the header, attempts to rope the horns of a moving steer. Upon successfully roping the horns, the natural movement of the steer is transformed from a running-type motion to a hopping motion as the steer struggles against the force of the header's rope. The header will next wrap or “dally” his rope around the horn of his saddle and direct the steer across the arena. As the header leads the hopping steer, the second member of the two-person team, the heeler, moves into a strategic position behind the steer and throws a rope in an attempt to rope the moving hind legs of the animal. Each competition is based upon the time that elapses from the initial release of the steer to the point at which both horses are facing each other in the arena with the steer roped tightly between the header and the heeler. Time penalties are accessed in circumstances where the header does not allow the animal a proper head start and where the heeler successfully ropes only one or the rear legs.

While the header is primarily concerned with roping the horns, the heeler encounters a Variety of reactions from the steer as it struggles against the header's rope, making the timing of heeler's throw of the rope in concert with the hopping steer essential to achieving success in a roping competition. One steer reaction encountered by the heeler in a roping competition is a steer that “runs up the rope.” A steer that is running up the rope is identified by the exaggerated rearward position of its hind legs in relation to its body. A roper, and in particular a heeler, encountering a steer running up the rope must make appropriate adjustments to the timing and technique employed in attempting to rope the hid legs of the steer. The opposite reaction of a steer to running up the rope is “dragging.” A steer that is dragging is identified by an exaggerated forward position of its hind legs in relation to its body. Once again, a heeler encountering a steer that is dragging must make appropriate adjustments to the timing and technique employed in attempting to rope the hind legs of the steer. Along with running up the rope and dragging, a steer in a roping competition will often “swing” around a corner. This is likely to occur both before and after the header ropes the horns and is identifiable by a misalignment of its hind legs in relation to its front legs. As the steer turns its body to the left and right, it often raises its rear end and hind legs, most often favoring its right side, as the steer maneuvers around the competition ring or arena. In addition, a steer will turn its head to its left and right as it moves about an arena or competition ring.

The urbanization of America has resulted in the movement of roping enthusiasts from rural areas to towns and cities. Urban ropers interested in improving roping skills and practicing for roping competitions no longer have ready access to ranch facilities and live cattle. Even ropers who live on ranches or have access to ranching facilities and live animals on which to practice are increasingly choosing to practice with training devices in lieu of live animals due-to the expense and stress of raising and boarding steers for the purpose of practicing for roping competitions. Accordingly, there is a need to provide convenient, cost-effective, and realistic roping training devices on which ropers can practice.

The resourcefulness of rural and urban ropers has resulted in a number of roping training devices, examples of which are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,451,045; 4,960,076; 4,995,618; and 5,709,386. Each patented device suffers from one or more shortcomings, such as excessive cost, lack of durability, the need for towing vehicle to mimic a hopping animal, unnatural relative movement between the animal body and the legs, the inability to adjust the range of movement and position of the rear legs, and the lack of direct access to the mechanical components for servicing the device while it continues to be operational.

In addition, none of the devices known in the art can be configured in a manner such that it mimics the natural inclination of a live steer in a roping competition to run up the rope, swing around a corner, drag, none of these devices have offset or staggered rear legs. There remains a long-standing need for improvements in roping training devices to better simulate the natural inclinations of steers encountered in roping competitions. Such improvements would allow the roper to hone his roping skills that are needed to be successful in competition.


The Speed Roper device includes a sled that is adapted for pulling across the ground. The sled has a wheel centrally mounted to help carry the weight of the Speed Roper. The sled supports a battery that provides electric power to the apparatus. The sled also includes a vertical post. A mounting tube is received about the post and is spring loaded to let the apparatus pivot and simulate steers that are swinging on the headers rope. Secured to the tube is rearwardly and horizontally motor mounting platform. A main frame for supporting the hind legs and simulated body of the Speed Roper is pivotally attached at either end of a horizontal, transversally extended rod that is fixed to the front side of the tube. The frame includes a transversally extended axle on which are pivotally mounted a pair of hind legs which extend downwardly outside the rails. Also mounted on the tubing is a support brace for the motor mounting platform. This brace has a horizontally mounted rod to support the front leg.

The motor mounting, platform is a flat surface with motor and gear box mounted on it. The gear motor rotates and on the left side drive is an offset cam, which lifts body up and down and also has a leg drive sprocket to drive the left rear leg. The gear motor also has an output shaft on the right side, which drives the right leg, drives sprocket and also drives front leg. The leg drive sprocket has leg drive arms pivotally mounted on them. The leg drive arms are mounted so there is an offset or staggered movement of rear legs. The drive arms are adjustable so you can move them to put more offset or stagger to rear legs. The leg drive arms are connected to the legs by a leg drive rod. The leg drive rod is a square tube inside a square tube which hand set bolts. The leg drive rod lets you adjust rear legs to different positions.

The present invention provides a roping training device that mimics a hopping animal. The roping training device is durable and provides natural and adjustable relative movement between the animal body and the legs, such that the device can be configured to mimic the natural inclination of a steer to swing, run up the rope, drag and offset or staggered leg movement. The user can access the mechanical components of the device for servicing while device continues to be operational. The roping training device also can be easily mounted on a vehicle, such as a pick-up truck or a recreational vehicle. These and other advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reference to the following specification, drawing, and claims.


FIG. 1 is a top view of the sled.

FIG. 2 is a view of left side of speed Roper with left leg shown forward and rear ward.

FIG. 3 is a view of right side of Speed Roper with right rear leg shown forward and right front shown rear ward.

FIG. 4 is a view of speed Roper full internal assembly.

FIG. 5 is a view of #20 left side drive and #31 right leg drive sprocket with both left leg drive arm #22 and #30 right leg drive arm.

FIG. 6-9 are pictures of Speed roper without body.


#1 Skids made of 2×3 tubing.

#2 Sled frame.

#3 Battery box.

#4 Tow bar.

#5 Tow bar pins.

#6 Vertically post pipe tubing support for roping dummy.

#7 2×3 tubing to hold runners and support #6 pipe tubing.

#8 Side bracing for #6 tubing.

#9 Front bracing for #6 tubing.

#10 Wheel and tire to help carry weight.

#11 Mounting brackets for tire welded to #7.

#12 Spring for body pivot swing.

#13 Mounting post.

#14 Set bolt.

#15 Gear motor mounting platform.

#16 Main frame for supporting body and rear legs.

#17 Horizontal, transversally extended rod that is fixed to front side of tubing #13.

#18 Bearing attached to rod #17 and main frame #16.

#19 Gear motor with duel output gearbox.

#20 Left side drive is an offset cam which lifts body up and down and also has a leg drive sprocket to drive the left rear leg.

#21 Body link connects offset cam #20 to main frame #16.

#22 Left leg drive arm is bolted to leg drive sprocket #20 and leg drive rod #23 this arm can be moved in different notches is sprocket to change movement of left leg.

#23 Left leg drive rod connects leg drive arm #22 to leg extension arm #24 and also has slide adjustment so leg can be moved to different positions.

#24 Left leg extension arm connects leg drive rod #23 and left rear leg #25.

#25 Left rear leg is bolted to leg extension arm and pivots on leg pivot shaft #26.

#26 Leg pivot shaft extends from left leg #25 across main frame #16 to right leg #27. FIG. 3

#27 Right rear leg.

#28.Right leg extension arm connects right leg #27 to right leg drive rod #29.

#29 Right leg drive rod connects right leg extension arm #28 to right leg drive arm #30 and also has slide adjustment to change position of right rear leg #27. 329 right leg drive arm also drives #32 front leg drive rod.

#30 Right leg drive arm connects #29 right leg drive rod to right leg drive sprocket #31. Right leg drive arm #30 can be moved to different notches in sprocket #31 to change movement of right leg #27.

#31 Right leg drive sprocket connects right leg drive arm #30 to #19 dual out put gear drive motor. Right leg drive sprocket has 4 notches enabling you to move right leg drive arm #30 to different.

#32 Front leg drive rod connects right leg drive rod #29 to front leg #33, front leg drive rod #32 also has slide adjustments to be able to move front leg.

#33 Front leg.

#34 Front leg pivot shaft.

#35 Support brace is a brace from #15 motor mounting platform to #13 mounting post. Support brace #35 also has a front leg pivot shaft mounted on it.

#36 Pivot stop mounted on #13 mounting post.

#37 Pivot stop mounted on #41 upright post on pipe tubing.

#38 Pivot swing arm welded to #13 mounting post and connected to #13 spring for body pivot swing.

#39 Bolt holes for mounting body.

#40 Hand set bolts.

#41 Stop


As shown in the following drawings the roping training device (Speed Roper) is shown with out simulated steer body to give you a better view of the internal parts. The Speed roper generally comprises of a vehicle pulled sled, a spring-loaded pivotal vertical support and a main frame.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 through 3 the Speed Roper includes a vertical post 6 that is held in position by a brace 9 which extends upwardly and rearwardly from 2 sled frame to post 6. The sled frame 2 is adapted for being pulled across the ground on a pair of skids 1. The sled frame 2 supports a battery box 3 that safely contains a twelve-volt lead acid battery to provide electric power to the Speed roper. A tow bar 4 is pivotally mounted with pins 5 to a plurality of tow bar mounting brackets on the font of sled frame from 2. On the opposing end of the tow bar 4 is a ring that can be dropped over a ball hitch on towing vehicle, such as an all terrain recreational vehicle or a pickup truck or any other suitable vehicle (Not Shown).

Vertical post 6 is also held in place by support braces 8 that are welded to cross tubing #7. Cross tubing 7 also has two mounting braces 11 that support tire 10.

The gear motor mounting platform 15 is welded to mounting post 13 and braced by support brace 35. Mounting post 13 has a larger diameter then vertical post 6 and slides freely in receptive engagement over post 6 rest on stop 41. Stop 41 has a pivot stop 37 mounted on it that stops spring 12 from pivoting Speed Roper to far to left of sled mounting post 1-3 also has a stop 36 mounted on is that comes to rest against stop 37 when spring 12 pulls body back to left.

The Body of the Speed Roper is swung out to the right of sled when to tow vehicle turns left then spring 12 pulls the body back straight which the sled stops 36 and 37 keep the body from coming to far to the left of sled, this feature can be stopped by tightening set bolt 14.

Gear motor 19 is bolted to gear motor mounting platform 15. Gear motor 19 has two horizontally output shafts. The left side (when viewed from rear) drive or rotate the left side drive 20 the offset cam in left side drive 20 lifts the body up and down through the movement of body link 21 and also moves left leg backward and forward by moving left leg drive arm 22. Left leg drive 20 also has a sprocket with 3 notches that lets you change left leg drive arm 22 to different positions changing the body up and down movement in relation to the leg rearward and forward movement this also changes the timing of leg movement with body movement.

Left leg drive arm 22 is connected to left leg drive rod 23 which has a-slide adjustment letting you also change the position-of the leg in relation to the body. Left leg drive rod 23 is connected to left leg extension arm 24, which is connected to left leg 25. Left leg 25 pivots backward and forward on leg pivot shaft 26.

Sear motor 19 also has a right side output shaft (when viewed from rear) on this shaft is mounted right side drive sprocket 31. 31 right side drive sprocket has four notches in it that let you position right leg drive arm 30 at different notches letting you change the timing of right leg with body movement.

Right leg drive arm 30 connects to right leg drive rod 29. Right leg drive rod 29 has slide adjustment to move leg forward or rearward. Right leg drive rod 29 connects to right leg extension 28, which connects to right leg 27 which pivot and leg pivot shaft 26. Right leg drive rod 29 also connect sot 32 front leg drive rod which swings front leg 33 back and forth on front leg pivot shaft 34 which is welded to support brace 35.

All leg drive rods 23,39,32 are made of tubing inside tubing enabling them to slide adjust longer or shorter hand set bolts 40 lets you set desired length.

The Speed Roper is substantially different then other roping training devices because of the off set or stagger of the rear legs, all other roping training devices that we know of hop with the rear leg in unison or side by side.

The Speed Roper achieves this montion by off setting drive arms 30 and 22 on the drive sprockets 31 and 20 these drive sprockets 31 and 20 have offset notches so the leg can't be set to hop in unison or side by side. We feel that this better simulates the true hopping action of a steer or live animal in tow behind a head horse. The drive arms 30 and 22 can be offset further by moving them on drive sprocket 20 and 31. This is done to simulate a steer that is trotting. We feel the wide variety of the different adjustments of the Speed Roper to simulate different movement of steers is a valuable tool in training ropers to consistaly time and rope live cattle.

Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7 the Speed Roper can also be mounted to a pickup or directly to a 3 wheeler or four wheel cart.

The foregoing description and drawing comprise illustrative embodiments of the present inventions. The foregoing embodiments may vary based on the ability, experience, and preference of those skilled in the art. The foregoing description and drawing merely explain and illustrate the invention, and the invention is not limited thereto, except insofar as the claims are so limited. Those skilled in the art that have the disclosure before them will be able to make modifications and variations therein without departing from the scope of the invention.