Sunday, December 27, 2009

4 100th of an Inch

That was the rain amount last night in Oakdale, CA. 

It was cold, and a bit windy this morning.  It was certainly easy to watch the horses from the window, and drink another cup of coffee.   But that's not what the Camarillo's do.  Just call them and ask "What are you doing today?" Expect the same response that you might have gotten in April, July or October.  "Ropin'!  Its what we do!".   If you aren't happy with your end of year standings, or maybe that heading horse is cheating off to the left too much be honest with yourself and ask "what did I do to improve my roping during the holiday week?"  One of the best things you can do is a) keep roping and b) get some help.  For most, other than the pros getting ready for Colorado and Texas rodeos in January, the recreational roper has a bit of time off.  For those that want to do better in 2010, now is the time to go back to the practice pen and rope like you did when you were trying to make or win the finals (at any level - high school, am or pro) in 2009. 

There was time to watch the Eagles beat the Broncos in the last 7 seconds and sqwash Denver's hope for the playoffs.  There was time to trim a few bushes or clean up the Christmas decorations, and YES! there was time to rope today.

If you would like to rope better in 2010 than you did in 2009 be honest with yourself and determine if you did what you could today to improve your chances.  Did you throw 50 loops at a dummy?  Did you saddle up and ride to "leg up" your horse?  Did you rope the Hot Heels and then go after 2 flights of live steers? 

If you were in Oakdale, California today, with Jerold Camarillo you would have witnessed 4 horses saddled and later ridden.  You would have seen circles in the arena where the Hot Heels roping dummy made trips in front of the boxes for headers and heelers to practice their timing and delivery.  You would have seen two flights of steers leave the chute, running down a rain soaked arena just dry enough to ride in, and you would have seen the ropers that want to be better in 2010 than they were in 2009 dirty up a rope!

If you watched TV and never threw a loop today, then you weren't roping with Leo in Arizona or Jerold in California today.

That's fine, but don't expect to go to the pay window unless you put down that coffee, saddle that  horse and rope and ride in the wind a bit this winter.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Roping Barriers

I’d like to make one thing clear. Because a majority of the teams have gone out, the battle is now about day-money. Meaning, there are 13 teams trying to be 3.0 and two teams trying to stay in the roping.
Last night I heard the commentators say, “A broken barrier now is the same as a miss,” and I initially questioned, “WHAT??? are they talking about?” No way is a barrier the same as a miss. If the majority of teams had a broken barrier instead of a miss they’d still be in the hunt. However, keeping in context with the way the Team Roping event has played out I can see that they meant a barrier and a miss at this point are the same because in either case you won’t win anything in the round (on that particular steer). Still, not to be misconstrued, when all is said and done a barrier is far more beneficial than a miss in terms of average pay outs.
Barriers play a big role in one-headers. You’ve got to be riding the barrier to win. If you’re not on the barrier, more than likely you’ll be a hair late and out of the money. If you’re too much on the barrier you could be as little as a hair-early and out of the money. In both cases you’re usually not going to win. Bottom line, when it’s about fast, it’s about riding that barrier. You also have to be able to reach, but reaching makes your team very vulnerable. Jojo, for instance, throws a bomb every time. Sometimes it hits, sometimes it doesn’t and when he succeeds his percentage of good runs is still marginal depending on all the long-handle variables that add up against him and his heeler (Randon Adams). Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to have a long shot in your playbook, but remember just because a guy has a hell-of-a-reach doesn’t guarantee a fast run. A long throw generally instigates a longer handle making it hard to be consistent EVEN when you’re a master of your craft. I.e. the sword you live by can also take you out.

The Lion

Monday, December 7, 2009

WNFR first weekend is "In the Books"

Watch out boys! The feathers are gun’a fly. At the halfway point in this year’s finals and 70% of our modern-day ropers are out (of the average), as a result of their do-or-die style, the table is now set to their initial idea. For nothing but day-money I expect they’re roping right in their element. The writing is on the wall. I could be wrong, but I believe only four teams remain that have it figured out. Fourth in the avg. is around $30,000 which is equivalent to two go-rounds. Realizing they are the only ones holding a shot at the big money and all they have to do is catch, the solid teams will rope smart (let’s hope) while the rest go wild with their usual bloodshed ways. We’ll probably see a hyper-gun-slinging exhibit from here on out. Some runs will be spectacular, others will be embarrassing, but one thing’s for sure, it should definitely be entertaining.

The Lion.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Leo's Thoughts on Round 2

How ‘bout it? As I expected, that two-loop rule is giving them guys a rude awakening. In fact, their expressions and demeanors make me think they haven’t woke up to its reality. Hel---lowww… Instead of going an extra step and making a slam dunk they’re shooting for threes and coming up short. The shock and confusion in their expressions is like, “What’d I just do? I went off and it didn’t work. Sh%$! That was it; all she wrote.”—I find myself yelling at my TV to those guys who are shaking their heads in disbelief about their results “You’re not thinking! Instead of Roping Smart, and working the run you’re letting the clock dictate your throws, knee-jerking blink-shots and then falling out, that fast. Done!” This is when I suggest the need for a coach. This year’s blood will flounder through every round because they aren’t roping outside the box nor do they have an inkling of a clue how. Sometimes a good soldier needs the direction of a good general to win the war, you know?

Patrick Smith is in dire need of a revamp. He doesn’t seem geared for fresh steers. He needs to get something on his rope rather than assuming the steer’s honesty and just firing, but I’m not sure it’s in his make-up. The worst case last night was Petska. They placed strong on their first steer, then when their second-night’s steer didn’t expose an immediate shot, was not in a heel-able frame, Cory threw anyway. What the hell? Now, I don’t care how great you are, if there’s no shot there’s no shot! What in the sam-hell are you doing? I don’t even consider that a low-percentage shot. It’s an absolute ridiculous, no-shot-at-all shot that has no rhyme or reason, let alone, place in NFR roping. At this point, even roping one leg is better than throwing a wild wad of sh%$ and missing.
This group doesn’t know how to kick in and hover over a steer with authority—I’ve got you ya son of a bitch!—and stitch him tight. Two-loops will force guys to rope with discipline. The expression I use around here on my rookies is appropriate for the ’09 NFR class, “It’s time to ‘pro-up’!” Get serious and rope responsibly or go home. We get tired of watching nonsense.
The two-loop rule will resurrect the sport’s integrity. I don’t expect we’ll see any style or strategy changes this year, not even next year or any near-future NFRs until them new-agers figure out—or somebody comes along and shows them—how to win under those conditions. How to Rope Smart where they can rope very solid with control and confidence that they can be 4 or 5, yet refrain from taking a low-percentage chance (bad) shot at a steer in haste that you very likely might miss.
At this point, the one thing I see, is that Chad Masters ain’t fooling around. He changed horses right after the first steer and realizes that he has one of the best heelers of all time behind him, so he just has to give him a shot each night. That team is just laying there in the weeds (like a lion) waiting to pounce on that opportune chance. Their patience and confidence in that upcoming opportunity will prevail.

NFR2009 - Wild Team Roping: is this a two loop effect?

This isn't your normal WNFR, at least in the team roping. The new two-loop rule certainly has changed the performances thru Saturday evening. Here's what former NFR champions Leo and Jerold Camarillo have to say about the Team Roping in the 2009 WNFR thus far:

Leo: Somebody pinch me! We’ve got the 15 greatest teams in the world working a 10-header and after three rounds 10 of them are out. Am I watching the bull riding or the team roping? It’s like a car race. One team wrecks and they’re out, then another wrecks and they’re out, and the race winner will be whichever car is still up on the track. The teams I expected to be so solid have thrown their chance out the window, and I’m to the point where I’m just watching for who’ll hang-in and who’ll hang-up. I was sure Maters and Corkill would stay focused and like a locomotive just get stronger and stronger and stronger, then last night Chad’s horse got a little quick and his rope started running again, just like with his first steer, yet as soon as Chad turned him Corkill went off at no shot. I can’t understand why them guys can’t just rope defensively. It’s like they’re conditioned strictly for cake-walks. When things go smooth, everything works smooth and they can really make things look sharp. But when you see that obviously things need adjusting within a run then you must make the adjustments. You can’t be so rigid and set in your ways to just explode off in spite of what’s in front of you. It’s a 10-header! Comprende? Every steer counts. You need every one of them.

Jerold: Ya, but those guys are one way. When them steers turn they throw, and that’s O.K. at the jackpots and rodeos, but this is a 10-head average rodeo. A guy needs to get’him a good start and make a solid catch. They’re throwing and going and making problems for their heeler. Then their heelers won’t line out their shot. They just throw at anything. It’s all they know. Trevor is roping good, but his horse is coming back too much instead of going straight across which is giving Patrick a different look than he’s used to. The steer’s path is having an effect on the shots Patrick’s trying to make.

Leo: I don’t think those guys analyze it like that. It seems like they just go back and try it all over again in hopes they’ll get a steer that fits their method. When you go to a roping and they say only one loop don’t you change your idea of roping? You don’t use your do-or-die play.

Jerold: The heelers won’t line out their shot, they just throw. It’s all they know.

Leo: A new rule’s been implemented and nobody understands how to work it. Instead of figuring a way to overcome it they’re ignoring it. Rather than make a steady climb to that big prize at the top they’re frantically swiping at a quick $1,700. The one thing different between novice and professional is that the professional knows how to catch regardless.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Camarillo Roping Student Makes Good

Colton Farquer from Oakdale, California competed in the California High School Rodeo Association, Thanksgiving Rodeo Fundraiser on November 28th. Colton, a student at the Camarillo Arena in Oakdale, took top honors with a first place finish in the Steer Stopping. Colton says "I've learned a lot about roping from the best (the Camarillos) and it certainly showed today". Colton roped off of a youth roping horse that was found by Jerold Camarillo. "I was mounted well, and knew I had to break perfect and throw fast" he said. "This horse was ready to stop as I pulled the slack. I had the confidence to know my dally would hold on my RopeSmart Dally Wrap. That gave me the winning edge." he added. Colton is a Freshman at Oakdale High School in Oakdale, CA and currently competes in Team Roping and Tie Down Roping events at the high school level.

(disclosure: Colton is sponsored by

NFR - Cowboy Superbowl - Commentary from Cashe Crane and Leo Camarillo

Cashe Says: I don't know who all of the guys at the finals are ropin' with but Chad Masters and Jade Corkill are ropin' together and they're my pick for the average and world titles. Kelsey Parchman is teamin' up with Richard Durham, Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith are ropin' there again and Luke Brown and Martin Lucero match up well against the other 14 teams headin' for Vegas. Eight time World Champ Rich Skelton's back but I'm not sure who he's pullin' pipes for. JoJo Lemond has returned with defending World Champion heeler Randon Adams, who has homecourt advantage, and watch out for the veterans, the toughs, Travis Tryan and Michael Jones. Nick Sartain and Kollin VonAhn are goin' to be a fun team to watch. Nick Sartain's one of the fastest header's goin' down the road. Speakin' of fast, Derick Begay and Ceasar De La Cruz made it. Riley and Brady Minor made the cut again and Charley Crawford is ropin' with NFR rookie Russell Cardoza. Russell's a bad man FYI and Steve Purcella is stickin' for Jhett Johnson. I'm not sure who Rich, Brad Culpepper, Blaine Linaweaver, Kevin Daniel, Clay Tryan, Cory Petska and Justin Davis are teamed up with but however they decide to match up its looki' to be an exciting Finals. Cache Crane
Leo Responds:
Pipes. PIPES? Back in my day we called them pipes “bones”. Anyway, thanks for the great email and I agree with you 100%. You took the words right out of my mouth and I feel you’ve nailed it down. Korkill seems the hungriest and Masters is absolutely that, “the master”. The two together are like Peyton Manning. They just make things go. Trev and Patrick have better than a long shot. Patrick’s won a championship before and Trevor’s claws are always out. On paper I see Trevor and Patrick having the best chance. They are a dynamic duo. Trevor has a one-track focus (championship). It doesn’t matter the event, and he won’t let up until it’s over. He rides the best horses, has the best tools, and focuses on it the most. Winning World Championships is his game. He’s won the steer roping, calf roping, all around, the only one that’s evaded him is the team roping. You know he’s aching for it. It’s like, “What’s in your wallet?” you know? Sartain and Van Ahn? I’ve never seen VanAhn. I’m assuming—you think they’ll be fun watch’n—they’ll have some fire in them. Sartain sounds cut out for the Thomas and Mack set-up but a guy has to remember there’s only one loop this year. When you come down the court, and you’ve got one shot, do you want to make that slam dunk? Or are you gunna pull up and fire at a high-risk 3 pointer? It’s a 10-header and the lion’s share is in the average, unless someone does like I did with Tee back in the day (1980) and wins 5 rounds in a row. Nevertheless, you say Sartain is fast, we’ll see if he’s also solid. Same for Begay and de la Cruz, they all must remember, the sword you live by can also take you out.
Russell? FYI (F—‘n Youth In-training) is a kid I remember from Escalon, lets hope he keeps his cool. Can’t wait to see how it plays out. As for the rest of them, its like that tough guy that lives at the end of Bad Street, they can just form a group. Obviously we’ll know better after the first perf. how things should pan out. Keep in touch bud. The Lion

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Lion - through the eyes of a student

In addition to attending to life's duties, Leo Camarillo provides roping instruction to students, and one of his recent students shares this story:

I am safely back and all in one piece albeit a little beat up and with a hole the size of a quarter on the inside of my right foot, put there from riding on my toes for two whole days. If you don't remember I was going to a refresher course on team roping cause it has been awhile since I have been in the saddle.

Leo Camarillo is know as the Lion of Rodeo. And well deserved. He has made 21 trips to the NFR. Among his records are 5 world titles, one all around title and 6 NFR championships. So if you want to learn from the best, go to the best.

He met me at the airport in Phoenix and the next two hours as we drove to his ranch was delightful. He reveled me with stories and escapades of days gone by.
He is in his mid 60's but you couldn't tell. He and his brother were born on a ranch in Santa Ana and his parents worked the Santa Margarita Ranch. His father was a roper and the two boys soon learned. He has taught the likes of Steve Wynn and James Cann.

In rodeo circles he pioneered today's modern approach to roping. He and his brother were the first to break six seconds in team roping. Now they do it in less than 4 and his technique was directly responsible for this in addition to the short lead time the steer gets because the arena at the Thomas and Mach is too short. From 1967 until he retired he averaged winning 1 saddle a month. (now I don't care who you are that is great right there).

And he is an excellent teacher. Now I mention this because there are lots of pros in all areas who excel at what they do but most couldn't tell you how they do it. Well Leo can.

We arrive shortly before noon at the ranch to be greeted by his two children age 7 and 5 and his beauty queen wife, a former cheer leader for a National Sports team.

He immediately puts me on a metal horse and pulls a mechanical steer up beside me and says with a gruff voice, "lets see what you can do." All afternoon I swing a rope and catch or miss the horns. There are three types of legal catches in team roping, both horns, head, or one horn and head. But the most efficient is both horns. This makes for a faster time and better handle on the steer. And Leo will have only the horns count. When I can rope both horns ten times in a row I can move to a live horse.(next post I will give detail as to the proper technique of taking slack, etc).

That evening I expect to head back to Cottonwood and the hotel for a nights rest but Leo and his wife Sue would not have it. They took me up to Sedona for dinner and a tour of Cornville.(yes that is a town in AZ). Then they let me go.

So today, gentle reader I will leave you with these parting thoughts(since a persons attention span is short and there is much more to tell, I will add some daily till the story is complete).,

Thumb always down until you dally unless you want to loose that thumb, stop looking at the saddle horn, never leave your rope on the ground, never get off your horse in the arena, always watch the steer, put your dally hand in your pocket, stop trying to float the horses teeth, I have a vet who does that, (these word will echo in my head till the day I die).(all of this sprinkled with salty words that would make a sailor proud).

So until tomorrow, thumb up.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pigeon Fever Tips

Dr. Farquer shares information from Colorado State University about the disease:

Clinical signs: Early signs can include lameness, fever, lethargy, depression and weight loss.

Infections can range from mild, small, localized abscesses to a severe disease with multiple massive abscesses containing liters of liquid, tan-colored pus.
External, deep abscesses, swelling and multiple sores develop along the chest, midline and groin area, and, occasionally, on the back.

Incubation period: Horses may become infected but not develop abscesses for weeks.Animals affected:The disease usually manifests in younger horses, but can occur in any age, sex, and breed.

A different biotype of the organism is responsible for a chronic contagious disease of sheet and goats, Caseous lymphadenitis, or CL. Either biotype can occur in cattle.

Disease forms: Generally 3 types: external abscesses, internal abscesses or limb infection (ulcerative lymphangitis). The ulcerative lymphangitis is the most common form worldwide and rarely involves more than one leg at a time. Usually, multiple small, draining sores develop above the fetlock.

The most common form of the disease in the United States is external abscessation, which often form deep in the muscles and can be very large. Usually they appear in the pectoral region, the ventral abdomen and the groin area. After spontaneous rupture, or lancing, the wound will exude liquid, light tan-colored, malodorous pus.
Internal abscesses can occur and are very difficult to treat

Diagnosis: Your veterinarian can easily collect a sample for culture at a diagnostic laboratory. It is important to isolate the bacterium to get a definitive diagnosis since pigeon fever can superficially resemble other diseases.

Treatment: Hot packs or poultices should be applied to abscesses to encourage opening. Open abscesses should be drained and regularly flushed with saline.
Surgical or deep lancing may be required, depending on the depth of the abscess or the thickness of the capsule, and should be done by your veterinarian.
Ultrasound can aid in locating deep abscesses so that drainage can be accomplished.
External abscesses can be cleaned with a 0.1 percent povidone-iodine solution

Antiseptic soaked gauze may be packed into the open wound

A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as phenylbutazone can be used to control swelling and pain

Antibiotics are controversial. Their use in these cases has sometimes been associated with chronic abscessation and, if inadequately used, may contribute to abscesses, according to one study.

"I've treated two cases of Pigeon Fever in the last 30 days, one with and one without antibiotics. I made my choices based upon the specific situation and patient. I stress that no two patients are the same, so get a little help if you find one of your horses with Pigeon Fever." he added.

Pigeon Fever

This is NOT what you want to see on your good rope horse. Recently, one of Jerold's students bought a Pro-caliber calf horse, and as cowboy luck would have it, the horse broke with Pigeon Fever 4 days after he was bought. Through no fault of the seller, and just plain bad luck, the horse first broke with infection 4 days after the purchase but 14 days before a significant roping that was critical to year end standings. In case you face the same situation here's some advice from one of the vets that the Camarillo's sometimes use. Dr. B. Farquer.
"Pigeon Fever, once considered a California equine disease primarily has been found with increasing frequency throughout the US. James Voss of Colorado State University reports a significant increase in cases in Colorado. "The disease is caused by a bacteria called Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis" says Dr. Farquer. "There are similar diseases in cattle, sheep and goats" he adds. There is a seasonal component and it seems to peak in the fall. "Our new calf horse broke with the disease in late September, consistent with the seasonality" says Dr. Farquer. The bacteria is ubiquitous to normal soil which means it lives there naturally. "This disease is highly contagious" says Dr. Farquer and "precautions must be taken". He indicates that the pus that drains from open sores should be cleaned up, soil should be treated with clorox bleach or lyme and sunlight. "This is not something you want all over a dark, and moist indoor barn stall" Dr. Farquer says. One of the complications involves pendulous edema, a filling of the skin and soft tissues with lymph fluid around the lesion area. Cold water, massage, and exercise may help. "There are other medications we may use for the edema" Dr. Farquer adds, "but they can have complications, so veterinarians tend to prescribe on a case-by-case basis". One thing that helps these horses is to exercise them. Walk/Trot and limited saddled riding helps with the edema, but should not be done until the veterinarian clears the horse to do so. "Contamination is a problem in the under-belly area on chinches" says Dr. Farquer. "I have my clients use a preg-check sleeve with the hand portion cut off, like a plastic tube, that is placed over the chinch. This way, if there is fluid draining it will not contaminate the chinch". He notes that it may be necessary to autoclave (a form of steam sterilization at high pressure) or disposal of contaminated tack. "You have to understand that this is NOT something you want spread between horses, and tack is a common pathway" says Dr. Farquer. "If in doubt, through it out".


Consistent practice, consistency of roping fundamentals make for a consistent finish. Last night, Chris Perry, a Camarillo student not unfamilar with either the pay window or headlines, finished 2nd in Oakdale at the California High School Rodeo Association Jackpot Fundraiser. The roping capped at 8, had 160 teams entered. Chris was edged out by less than 2 seconds on 4 head for second. He also finished 7th with Cody Peterson, going to the pay window twice. Other Camarillo roping students did well too. Amanda Valente and Colton Farquer were called back in the high teams as well. On Sunday, October 4th, Colton placed 2nd in the Calf Roping and 2nd in the average. Typical of results from Leo and Jerold Camarillo, someone took notice of his improvement. "Is that your boy?" he asked. "No, answered Jerold, but I coach him on a regular basis". "I can tell" he answered. "That was a slick move under the rope". Certainly there are a number of ropers holding clinics and schools across the nation. Many if not most have something to offer. One thing is certain, the Camarillos continue to influence calf and team roping at the Senior, Professional, Collegiate, and High School level. This weekend was no exception.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Challenges, nothing new for the Camarillos

"I want to come learn to rope, and I need to be able to do it horseback by the end of the week!" This is how a new student call started, and if you were present in Oakdale the week of September 14th you would have witnessed that what seems impossible, can be done...... with the right instruction. A young lady that would certainly be classified as a novice, just learning how to handle a rope, was by the end of the week, able to rope moderate steers horseback. It can be a challenge to teach students, certainly in a hurry, but it can be done. Both Jerold and Leo Camarillo are available for roping lessons whether it be for a tune up, or if you are greener than grass. This year both have spread out between California and Arizona to serve more ropers and conduct training schools. Call to schedule your next lesson.

Team Roping School Students Advance

In just two days, two students of the Camarillo's head to the NCJRA Finals Rodeo in Clements, CA. Only the top 10 cowboys and cowgirls advance to this Finals Rodeo, competing in two performances and an aggregate to claim the top spots in the 2009 events. This year, the Camarillos have influenced two students who will make it to the Finals. The tradition of solid practice, instruction, and execution will carry these athletes. Septermber 19th, 2009 the rodeo performance kicks off at 8 am. Stop and say hello.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chris Perry & Jerold Camarillo - 6.0 Flat

Oakdale, CA. September 3, 2009. It's time for the 10 Steer Labor Day Weekend roping in Oakdale and the associated Century, All-Girls and Open ropings that occur along with it every year. In the century roping today Chris Perry and Jerold Camarillo were in the money, securing a solid afternoon with a 6.0 second run on the last steer. Since the Camarillo's commonly have a multi-second handicap at just about every roping either Jerold or Leo attend, their total time on the steers was increased overall for the day. Despite that, both Chris and Jerold went to the pay window. Note: Chris is just one of many ropers that Jerold has worked with over the years to refine and improve his roping skills, tomorrow a couple of his female students take to the arena in the All-Girls roping.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Reader's view on the 3 second rule commentary

Dear Leo,

I totally agree with you and Jerold about the 3 second rule, etc. It facinates me that people want to change the rules that have been in place for decades. Whatever happened to just doing your job and letting your skills speak for itself.
From a historical perspective, yourself and Jerold have revolutionized the sport. Too many of the young ropers don't realize how much you two contributed to team roping. I've been around long enough to realize that. We have met several times through Earl Davis & David Motes. Anyways, I really enjoyed your website and blog on team roping subjects. Hope all is well.

J. Moore

Colorado Roping Schools

Leo and Jerold Camarillo will be having two roping schools in Colorado in October. Salida on October 3rd and 4th (Contact Donna Taylor at 719-221-3716) Space is often limited, call early to guarantee a spot. Second school is October 10th and 11th in Colorado Springs. Sign up details for the Colorado Springs school will follow soon.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thank you Camarillos!!!

A note from a student:

My name is Colton, and I want to thank Jerold and Leo Camarillo for their training. I competed this year in Northern California Junior Rodeo Association. I competed in a number of events and did well enough in Steer Stopping to qualify for the 2009 NCJRA Finals Rodeo held in Clements, CA in September. I have trained a lot at Camp Jerold, with Jerold Camarillo for the past two years and have really improved. "I wouldn't be where I am today without getting lessons from the Camarillos" says Colton. "Jerold not only makes me practice roping but has me ride a lot of different horses which pushes me to be a better rider and roper. Thank you Jerold, for so much help this year." he added. Colton is 14 years old and has competed in rodeo for a number of years. He has completed numerous roping lessons at the Camarillo arena in Oakdale, CA. "I won second place out of 50 ropers at my last rodeo this summer and took home $156 dollars. It happened because I get great training. Thank you Jerold!!!". - The Camarillo's regularly provide lessons to all ages and abilities. Check for lesson availability by contacting either Jerold or Leo Camarillo.

Mix It Up

Roping practice can become routine, and often ropers who do well in the practice arena don't perform well in rodeo's and jackpots. Many agree that it's a whole different experience with the competion factor. One way to liven up your practice sessions is to throw in a practice-arena jackpot. A few bucks, drinks or some other nominal prize sets the stage for a little friendly competion. The photos shows a recent Sunday jackpot at the Camarillo's arena in Oakdale, minus hundreds of spectators and other competitors. (Jerold Camarillo is kneeling). There were pros, young, old, novice alike in the mix. A round robin draw let everyone rope together and there was enough competition to rattle a few ropers, but in a good way. Jerold says he has often seen individuals really shine in the practice pen that have a hard time transitioning to a performance. This can be a good way to bring that experience into the mix. Jerold also described a story from a few years ago when brother Leo roped 50 head a day for 3 straight days, under a stop watch relentlessly practicing in 100 degree heat. He did everything he could to put self-induced pressure on himself to get tuned up for his next competition. Treating a practice session like a real performance benefits the weekend jackpot roper too. Rather than just going to the arena again today, roping a few, give an impromptu jackpot a try. Put a couple of bucks in the hat and see if it make you step up your practice session to the next level. You'll be better prepared for real competition the next time.

Learn More, More Quickly

A difficulty in any sport is being able to breakdown a specific skill into a series of steps, and be able to repetitiously practice certain steps to the point of mastery. Young or old, habits can be hard to break, and slowing things down can certainly facilitate seeing and correcting mistakes and behavior. The Camarillo's often use mechanical devices, like this calf roping dummy that can be pulled by an ATV to facilitate slowing down the run, ability to repetitively re-create the situation, or to eliminate the multitude of distractions that can make learning difficult. The picture shows a novice roper, just getting the very first positioning lessons she will need for following live cattle. Experienced ropers benefit too. Recently an adult woman came to polish her breakaway roping skills, and Jerold Camarillo quickly identified she was having a problem consistently getting the horse into the best position to rope. When she did it right she often caught, when she didn't she missed. By moving temporarily from live cattle to the "sled" pulled by the ATV, he was able to eliminate a lot of variables like fast running calves from the equation. The student had less distractions created by live calves and she could focus on positioning. He could stop, teach, and repeat. Just being able to eliminate so many variables quickly certainly improved the teacher/student experience and shortly she was back to live cattle and working on her next skill. A mix of mechanical and live cattle will improve your roping. Mechanical devices keep variables and distractions to a minimum, saves horses and you don't have to feed the steel calf. Next time you're frustrated with a roping problem, consider using mechanical devices. Proper instruction is certainly a requirement too. Leo and Jerold can very quickly see what a roper is doing incorrectly, actions that are sometimes so subtly that the roper him or herself doesn't see or feel it. Knowing what to correct, how and with what device is critical to a fast improvement. Experts like the Camarillo's are quick to point out that no one device will work for everything. Sometimes ONLY live cattle can be used for the lesson. The importance is knowing what should be used, and from the student's stand point being open minded to experience both mechanical and live options.

Getting the Right Start

Recently a young girl from Arizona, Marissa, came to Camp Jerold in Oakdale, CA for roping lessons. She has an interest in getting into break away roping and spent a couple of days in training. Today the industry has at it's disposal, a series of training options including traditional "dummy roping" devices thru live cattle. Marissa began basic ground work with a sawhorse style dummy learning basic rope handling techniques, then moved on to using a specialized calf roping dummy that can be pulled behind an ATV (see other post above). Part of her training included horsemanship, position, roping technique and other basics that were facilitated by utilizing a mechanical rather than live subject. The Camarillo's maintain an arsenal of different mechanical aides and devices for both calf and team roping and, combined with good instruction and later live cattle, they are really able to faciliate the learning experience. For some students this means being able to slow down or focus on a very specific step or technique not quite possible or replicable with live animals. Of course the "live" component can't be fully reproduced with a mechanical device so there are plenty of cattle when the student is ready. One of the advantages for Melissa was a wide range of available roping horses to utilize. She currently is looking to buy a roping horse and had the opportunity to view and test a full spectrum of quality horses from older experienced horses to younger PRCA level performers. At the end of the week she walked away with a smile, new roping skills that were learned through personalized instruction, and a new horse that "fit" her and her experience level.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

2009 Salinas Rodeo

The California Rodeo Salinas will celebrate 99 Years of Rodeo July 16-19, 2009. The Camarillo's will be there. Stop and say hello. Jerold will be playing at Laguna Seca Golf Ranch in the Cowboy Shoot Out Golf Tournament on Wednesday.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

Earlier this year, the first World Finals Qualifier was held at the Mid States Fairgrounds in Paso Robles, California. The PTR California Winter Classic brought team ropers from all over the state of California to compete. If you were there, you saw over 140 teams compete in the #11 qualifier. Chris Perry of Oakdale, California roped with Tyler Holzum (also of Oakdale) and the team roped four steers in 36.88, enough to win $12,000 and fully tooled Vaquero saddles and a free entry into the PTR World Finals. Chris ropes regularly at the Camarillo arena in Oakdale and over the years has tuned his skills under the instruction of Jerold and Leo Camarillo. Everyone that ropes tends to practice at least semi-regularly, but practicing under the expert tutelage of PRCA Hall of Fame ropers certainly has a beneficial influence. Although not a certain recipe for guaranteed success, more often than not, spending some time and money with expert ropers pays off. The next time you are kicking a bit of dirt in frustration, and loading horses to drive home empty handed, you may need to rethink working with the experts. These champions have "been there, done that" and can really help you reach the next level. Like the saying goes "there is no free lunch" think of working with professional trainers as an investment in your roping skill. For Chris, and others like him that sport five digit checks and new saddles in the tack room, it can certainly be worth it. One of the hardest things to find is professionals that really take an interest in your roping. Many winners can attest to the Camarillos true dedication to teaching. If you want to improve your skills, give them a call, or you can reach them by email on their website (message from a student of the Camarillos).

The Real Beef - by Leo Camarillo

The other day I was "conditioning" a new herd of roping steers. As usual about half the herd was good'ns the other half were rebels. As I wrestled with the bad habits of a dogged few I explained to one of my students that trueing a herd for practice is guaranteed when you learn and work with your cattle's character and learning cattle charater can give you a leg up in competition. Unfortunately, today's roping pen is crossed with a variety of breeds, so what looks like an orange could in fact be a lemon.
Before I get into the evolution of rodeo cattle I'd like to recognize the creme de la creme for bulldogging and roping, and my personal favorite, to own and rope, the "Chango" (Spanish word money is slang for the Mexican Corriente). Similar to a good breed of horse, the true Mexican-grown Corrientes' solid nature, i.e. athleticism, honesty, durability, and size makes this cattle a quality product (like the Classic nylon rope) that can't be beat. Growing good thick horns that look like a big-ass banana and remain solid and thick from base to tip, Corrientes are the easiest keepers that can survive and thrive on rocks and weeds. Corriente-heifers are proven strong, reliably easy cavers, and when it comes to roping cattle, the Corrientes are second to none. Their unique sense for how to do the job in practice and in rodeo competition makes them invaluable on all levels. Once Corrientes are shown how to load in the chute they'll line up every time, in just about the same order. They'll run straight down the arena and stay true each time. as long as you don't entice mutiny, and by this I mean if there's a hole in the fence they'll use it, for the most part Corrientes will work obediently for a long time. Akin to a good peach tree, if you raise your corriente herd right everything comes out peachy. Unfortunately the Corriente I'm talking about is the Mexican gown Corriente which is the organic version of the breed, and its purity and simplicity guarantees a quality product. Here in America it's hard to get the true "authentic" Corriente because they've been blemished with American domestication, hence a pinch of Brahman, Longhorn, or other cross and too much grass. On the whole, American Corrientes are the best of the American cattle breeds for roping. Just, remember "Brazilian" labeled coffee grown in the domesticated settings of the US ain't the same stuff they grow in the Brazilian tropics. Until next time, that's all I known. (Leo Camarillo - Rodeo Sports News, April 15, 2009).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Proposed Rules Change Commentary from the Camarillos

Leo: What about that three seconds?
Jerold: They’re spoiling roping. A 3-second penalty for a hind foot is spoiling your roping just like the (5-second) broken barrier deal, and the thing about it is, it’s not helping you rope. It should be two horns/two feet or no time. What about that?
L: Exactly! What happen to trying to get better at what we do? It’s like saying, “O.K. when we go out to the golf course let’s make the hole bigger so it’ll be a lot easier to make a putt.”
J: Ya, or let the machine do the driving and we’ll just pitch it from there.
L: I wonder if they’re going to put their ropes on next? I mean, where do you draw the line? It seems they’re trying to make it better for the losers or the guys who don’t want to practice or progress, or the guys who don’t wanna--
J: I just think it’s going the wrong way. You know, when they have a dummy roping for the kids, they get 3 points if they rope two horns; they get 2 points if they rope a half a head; and they get one point if they rope a neck. You know, that’s the way things ought’a be going. They can’t be going the opposite way.
L: I agree. You know, you can tie your rope on, you only get 5 seconds for breaking a barrier, and you only get 3 seconds now for a hind leg. Whatever happened to promoting what’s right and trying to get better at what we’re doing rather than, you know, give away straight times to those who don’t actually make a straight time?
J: Yep! And what it’s coming to now is all the low number ropers don’t take time to professional-ize their roping skills, where they can rope two horns and two feet. They say,” Well I can't rope two feet like those other guys can, but you know, I can just throw my rope in there and dally, and I can dam-sure catch one foot; so, ya, let’s make it three seconds because I can’t rope that good to catch two feet,” and that’s bullsh*%.
L: Ya, and that’s the other thing, they don’t even have to dally. They can just tie on and throw it down there like they got a hook on their rope, and forget about it.
J: Yep, throw it down there and don’t even get a dally. And now when the header sees his heeler dally he un-dallies. Headers don’t even have to face their horse around because the flag goes down as soon as the heeler dallies.
L: Ya! Nobody says anything about that. At half the jackpots now, you don’t even have to face your head horse. When your heeler comes tight, you got time.
J: Right, cuz their trying to save the steers and all this other stuff. So now, you don’t have to face your horse, and you can catch one foot. If you break the barrier and rope one foot that’s only 8 seconds where before, if you just broke the barrier but caught 2 feet it was ten.
L: (laughing) Ya.
J: Now they give you a TWO SECONDS BREAK if you break the barrier and rope one foot. Instead of a broken barrier and one foot being 15 seconds, it’s only 8.
L: Ya. And the other thing is they’ve taken the horsemanship out of it. You don’t even have to face your horse, which is all part of it—riding your horse to face him around; cuz half the time them guys can’t face their horse, so you know you’ve got a chance if you’re a better rider and spend a little bit more time with their horse, so you know you’ve got a chance if you’re a better rider and spend a little bit more time with your horse to try to make him do things, you know? You log him, you make him understand how to turn and back up and so forth, so he’ll work better for you, but now you don’t have to worry about it. Just turn your steer off and drop your rope. If your heeler’s hooked you probably won the roping.
J: Ya.
L: What bothers me about the whole thing is now you don’t have to go to a roping school to learn how to rope or go to anybody to learn how to rope. You don’t even HAVE to learn how to rope. All the rules and skill requirements are out the window. You can just get on a horse and buy a rope, go through the motions of it and call yourself a roper.
J: Ya and you can buy a 35-foot or 40-foot rope and cut it in half,
J & L: (laughing) then you got two.
L: Two ropes for the price of one.
J& L: laughing…
L: You can almost go do that with a horse. Instead of buying a horse that looks good and knows what he’s doing and is worth the money, you can go buy two for the price of one. Get two donkeys that you don’t have to do anything on.
J: And the other thing, when we get into Perry’s roping over there…you know, if it wasn’t for me…the USTRC is trying to change Perry’s rules over there with no barrier, and 5 seconds for a broken barrier and now the newest deal—3 seconds for a hind foot. You know I had 15 guys call me last year and say, “Hey, listen, I heard Perry was going to make 5 seconds for a broken barrier, and I said, “Aah, bullsh*&! We ain’t doing that. I’m running that roping and we’re gonna have a barrier, and if you break it it’s gonna be a 10 second fine. That’s the way it is, and as long as I’m running the thing, that’s the way it’s gonna be.
L: And the same goes for roping a leg. If you rope one leg it’s a 5-second penalty.
J: Yep, that’s it.
L: And do they get three loops or two loops?
J: They get two.
L: That’s the way it should be.
J: Ya.
L: Well I don’t know who’s —obviously the losers are the majority, so they got the biggest pull, and I’m sure that they harassed the guys that run the whole deal, and those guys try to make it better, you know, instigating more people to get involved, but it just doesn’t seem right to keep bending the rules so much. It’s to the point they keep bending the rules so much that they’re breaking them. Enough is enough. They’ve tried to cut back on everything to make it worthwhile. They give better trophies, more money and everything else, and pretty quick you don’t have to be a roper or horseman to qualify.
J: Nope. And I think the professionalism in roping, if they keep doing this, is gonna go down. It ought’a go back to where…You know, I remember years ago that roping were HP and that jerk from Vasalia, or some place, won that roping?
L: Ya.
J: You know it was two horns and two feet. If you didn’t catch two horns or you didn’t catch two feet you went out. You were through. It was a no-time. A broken barrier was a no-time and that was—sh*%, that had to be twenty years ago. If they had just stayed with their guns right then; we seen it coming. If they would have stayed with their guns…I mean…what kind of good ropers we would have had today.
L: Ya.
J: I mean TWO HORNS, TWO FEET!... Broken barrier? that’s it. You’re out!
L: And that seems like the American way. Get better or go home! Instead of making the basket lower, or the course hole bigger, or trying to change the integrity of each sport, you know,
J: Uh-huh
L: the idea is to keep the challenge and raise the skill, not change the challenge and lower the skill. Work and get better at it.
J: Yep.
L: What happen to that idea?
J: Well, I don’t know, what’s next week gonna be? Put magnets on the steers’ ears and magnets on their ropes so they can guarantee two feet, or what? What’s it gonna come to?
L: I think it’s coming to put’n the ropes on. I predict the header’s gonna be able to put his rope on and go out there and turn him just like we do when we’re training them young horses.
J: Ya.
L: And a…that’s all they’ll have to do. The only roping skill that’s gonna be involved is, a…NONE. Just take a loop and throw it at the hind-end and if you catch something, you got it. You’re straight time. It’ll be like spear chucking rather than roping.
J: Well, like you said, I don’t know who keeps coming up with these gaw-dam rules, but they don’t seem to be making any sense. It’s taking the professionalism out of roping, as far as I can tell.
L: Well, not even the professionalism. It’s taken the whole idea out of it. I can’t find a better comparison than taking a game of golf and suggesting we put a bucket down there for a hole in place of the regulation size. Like saying, “We’re gonna change the game of golf cuz we’ve got a lot of golfers involved who get irritated with the challenge of a putt. Since they support this course financially what we’re gonna do is make that little hole in the green the size of a bucket. That way we’ll get more hole-in-ones and everybody will have fun. And we understand there are a lot of guys out there who want to play but don’t have the ability, so we’ll make the challenges easier for them so they’ll patronize us.”
J: (Laughing) Ya and that way, those guys, when they chip they can make it, and when they tee off on the par 3s they can make it.
L: Ya, now they can make a put from 40 feet away cuz the hole’s as big as a bucket. They won’t have to read the greens or nothing. Just ping it down there. What would that do to the professional golfers? They couldn’t do that for the professional golfers. That would change golf so bad, that you know…what are we doing? And that’s just an example of what they’re doing to team roping. What happened to the integrity of the sport?
J: aaaaa….
L: I’d sure like to find out who the team roping gods are that are changing the rules, and what their idea is for changing them and question where in the hell they think it’s going; because it seems to me like it’s going downhill or going to the dump rather than being progressive. I’m sure that if you were competing at the National Finals Rodeo and just caught a steer any which way you could with all these new pu#$%-rules the people wouldn’t appreciate that challenge.
J: That’s for sure.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lost Legend

The Lost Legend

When the sport of rodeo developed Mexico moved in on the stock-scene with their Corrientes cattle. The border stayed closed most of the time to control cattle-disease outbreaks and quarantines, opening periodically to allow trade of regulation Cattle. At these different times of the year Mexican cattle ranchers would bring their cattle up in groves to the US and cross a large number of herds into the country to be put on feed and raised as beef. These early-day crossings were like the commercial fisherman’s first netting. Cattle came in all shapes and sizes and mixed among the beef prospects were rodeo prospects. Mexican ranchers, intent on selling lock-stock-and-barrel, didn’t weed out the few rodeo-types to sell strictly beef prospects, and there was no benefit for a rodeo buyer to go in and cut his selection for exclusive purchase. Nor did it benefit the beef buyer to cut his pick. The ganadero (Mexican Cattle Rancher) was hip to American Rodeo’s demand for horns as well as the American Beef grower’s despise of horns and consequently jacked the price on selective sales. Buyers were encouraged to purchase the entire herd to get the best price, which they did.
As a result, ranches would stock a thousand head of cattle, and of the lot only half might be suitable for sport. If stock contractors did not take advantage of those horned cattle (by putting in his request to the rancher or making a purchase) in a timely fashion ranchers would whack! their horns off. That was devastating to me. I’d visit ranches involved in the crime and see piles of horns stacked like elephant tusks. In my eyes, the rancher’s act was akin to poachers knocking down the big old elephant and robbing him of his precious ivory tooth, but tragically the cattle’s ivory wasn’t worth anything detached, just bone-yard material. Looking back on this now days makes me absolutely sick because it’s very rare to find little cattle with great big horns like they were back then.
Nevertheless, Corrientes (Changos) were plentiful and about a dime a dozen. As buyers began selecting and cutting cattle specifically for rodeo they came up with a numbering system to qualify or designate a steer’s “rodeo” worthiness. A number 1 indicated pure, first rate Corrientes of sizable/true horn growth with a little bit of age on him—not too old or young, ball-parking a 400-lbs frame; 2s were a tad younger and a hair smaller with no bull-dogging horns; 3s were marginal, off-color junk cattle that usually had a little ear (Brahma cross) and little up-&-down cow-horns that weren’t too big or too long. Anything less than 3 was deemed a “Potential.” Potentials were basically chaquitos or little Chongs averaging 250-300 lbs with the start of a neat little horn base. They attracted buyers who saw their potential to grow into a 1 after a year’s worth of feed. Today we rope 3s and potentials, that’s all, as 1s and 2s are obsolete. When you hear a pen described as, “mostly 3s” or “potentials”, it’s to your advantage to understand the cattle-buyer’s language.
Phil Stadtler, the original cattle-buying master, was responsible for crossing the border and furnishing cattle to American ranchers and rodeo stock contractors. Through due diligence, he established a good, mutually-respectful rapport with cattle traders throughout Mexico. (I highly recommend reading Phil’s adventurous autobiography, “I Made A Lot Of Tracks”). Rodeo Stock Contractors would call Phil and put an order in for “X” amount of bull dogging steers or “X” amount of head for the Cheyenne Rodeo, and Phil could supply the demand.
Dan Fisher (Fisher Cattle Company) was another guru who’d journey down into Mexico and deal with the ganaderos—dickering, compromising, and offering an extra peso or two more for that quality Corrientes. Dan has always gone one step further to acquire that uniqueness of horns and lean body frame in hopes of enhancing the quality of rodeo cattle in this country.
One last (but certainly not least) cattle-buyer “icon” I’d like to mention, is THE BIG VIKING, Fred Lucero who seems to have fallen in the steps of Phil Stadtler as the biggest dealer of Corrientes. Fred is one of the few real deals who can go down into Mexico, mix it up and talk the talk with the vaqueros and ganaderos.
These three buyers are successful beef-businessmen who went an extra mile for rodeo. They have done their honest best to provide American Rodeo with ideal sport cattle, and I’m sure they, like I do, mourn the passing “good ole days” of authentic Corrientes quality and abundance. As usual the idea of conservation is after the fact. Gone is their opportunity to fish in a sea of never-ending fish, but like the fish hatcheries Americans are making an effort to reproduce/farm their own version of Corrientes which is a positive step for modern-day rodeo. And, I have no doubt the American Corrientes has its own unique qualities. However, as with any replica, it will be hard to match our “Original Maker’s” vintage Corrientes.

That’s all I know…

Rope Smart!

Monday, April 27, 2009

25th Anniversary Wrangler Timed Event Championship Lazy E Arena

Pictured from Left to Right:
Champion Kyle Lockett 2005
Champion Olie Smith 1995
Champion Mike Beers 1986
Champion Bobby Harris 1990
ChampionTrevor Brazile 2009,2007,2006,2004,2003,1998
Champion K.C. Jones 2001,1999,1996,1993
Champion Leo Camarillo 1989,1985
Champion Daniel Green 2008,2002
ChampionJimmie Cooper 1994,1992,1988
Champion Paul Tierney 2000,1997,1991,1987

2008 NSPRA World Champions & Reserve Champions

2008 NSPRA End of Year Standings

All Around - Man - 60's - Leo Camarillo
Calf Roping - 60's - Leo Camarillo
Ribbon Roping Roper - Leo Camarillo

Team Roping Header - Jerold Camarillo
Team Roping Heeler - Leo Camarillo

14 year old student debuts in Northern California

Jerold Camarillo has been training adults and young adults for nearly as long as anyone can remember. One of his students, a 14 year old young cowboy, recently debuted at a Northern California Junior Rodeo Association (NCJRA) rodeo in LaGrange, Ca. This cowboy entered his first ever tie-down roping event and placed 5th! "I owe my success to good fundementals" says Colton Farquer. "I've qualified for the NCJRA Finals Rodeo two years in a row in breakaway, but this year, due to age I had to move up to Tie Down Roping" he said. "I worked with Jerold Camarillo over the winter and entered my first rodeo as a tie-down roper with confidence" Colton added. His fundementals, horsemanship and performance earned him a 5th place against 18 year olds in the first rodeo of the 2009 NCJRA season in California. "I would not be where I am as a 14 year old, holding my own against seniors in high school, if not for the instruction of Jerold Camarillo." he added. "There simply is no subsitute for learning from an NFR, Senior Pro, and Cowboy Hall of Fame instructor" Colton says. During the weekend rodeo he went on to catch 5 of 5 steers as a header in steer stopping, team roping and ribbon roping. "Last year I hoped to catch a few steers, but now I am planning on placing in the money. That is what lessons with Jerold Camarillo can do for your skill level and your confidence!" he says. Colton Farquer is an honor student at Oakdale Junior High School and 4 time NCJRA Finals Rodeo Qualifier. "I learn more in Jerold's arena (Camp Jerold) than I can from any DVD or pratice dummy" "You learn by roping with the best, and Jerold makes me better each time" he adds.

To learn more about roping instruction from Jerold or Leo Camarillo visit www.