Friday, August 12, 2011

Team Roping Clinic-School - Castle Rock, Colorado

Team Roping Clinic
to be held at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock, Co on August 17 and 18, from 5:30pm to 10pm.  This is a special two night clinic featuring Hall of Fame, NFR, NSPR & Timed Events Champion Leo Camarillo. 

Contact Daryl Navarro at 303 995 9779 for registration and additional details. 

Space is limited and the class is already filling up.  Hurry to reserve your spot.  Special pricing is in effect until August 16. 

$150 gets you entered into 2 classes (both nights included).  Take advantage of this special pricing.  Thanks to additional sponsorship, you can attend both nights for less than the price of a single roping clinic, that's better than a 50% discount.

Camarillo Roping Student Excels at National High School Finals Rodeo

Jerold Camarillo has been working with roper Colton Farquer for a number of years.  2011 proved to be a year of accomplishment for Jerold's student as he won the California District 5 title for Champion Tie Down Roper, and Reserve Champion Team Roping Header, as well as All Around Cowboy netting 4 end of year saddles inclusive of his Boys Cutting Championship.  Colton went on to finish Reserve Champion Tie Down Roper at the California State High School Finals Rodeo, made the National Team, and then went on to perform well in Gillette, Wyoming at the National High School Finals Rodeo, winning 3rd in the Short Go with a 9.49 tie down run, and finishing 8th overall amongst 131 tie down ropers from Canada, USA, and Australia.  Currently Jerold has 5 other young ropers under training, all of which are placing consistently in junior rodeos in California.  He has a limited number of spots available starting September 1.  Call for details 209 606 8482.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring Has Sprung

Back in the day, this time of year meant going home (to California) and tackling a new phase of competition. Coming off my winter run I was anxious to get back and geared for the “Grand Prix“ (of roping), California’s “rodeo” kick off, and one of the most major ropings of the year, The Chowchilla Stampede. 

I had survived the winter as a foreigner, treading anti-team-roping ground (Denver, San Antonia, Fort Worth, Houston, El Paso) battling predominantly calf ropers and bulldoggers. These places were late bloomers to the team roping event. In those days team roping was merely a gleam in my eye that they didn‘t want to see. If I wanted to compete in the winter rodeos I had to play the home field’s game, and that was it, so come spring I was craving my own.

Of course there was the winter sum-up in Arizona where I could get my team roping game on. When it comes to winter-time roping there’s no better place in the world than Arizona, so I’d spend the latter part of winter with my team in the desert working Yuma, Tuscon, Scottsdale; and be waiting on Phoenix, (the final showdown), AKA “Jaycees’ Rodeo of Rodeos when that Arizona heat (dubbed “Air-is-on-ya”) would start closing in, like the stage curtain prompting our exit. We’d give our one last hurrah and compliantly head north.

Happy to escape the heat we’d finally cross into California and take a long breath of cool. Its notorious Spring rain would wash away the desert dust, while its lush blankets of green, blooming flowers, and beautiful women soothed our dry eyes and refreshed our attitudes. That first cross back never stopped being new, and we’d unanimously agree it was how the world should be. Life was getting good.

Though roping in Arizona I was in my element, I still always felt like a visitor roping on the away field. (A lion in the crocodile swamp). Once back on my California-turf, the land that I loved, the land that I owned in my heart, I became a determined captain kick-ass. The bell for round two would sound in my head as anticipation boiled in my blood. With home field advantage I was eager to show my rivals how it’s done, and I welcomed them into my house of pain.

“The meek shall not inherit the turf.” Bum Phillips

When we’d first pull in to Chowchilla it would be all soggy-wet and raining. You could see pieces of the event coming together, but it was like the lull before the storm. Waiting on the stampede to start, for me was empowering (like being the first kid to class on the first day of school). I could settle in and get a good lay of the event before it cluttered with competitors. This enhanced my confidence and affirmed my motto, “The meek shall not inherit the turf.” I was excited to be a part of the annual cattle drive moving 200 Mexican steers straight through the little town of “Cow-chilla“, and the first sight of those Mexican freshies was like coming home to mom’s cooking. I couldn’t help but lick my chops and think, moms’ putting on the steaks. I’d be so anxious to go off on them virgin Corrientes my hands would twitch. I knew full well, by the end of the year they’d develop into old, worn out pigs pulling on the end of my rope. At that moment they were hot, and I could not wait to sink my teeth.

On our way to rope our high team (in the pre-roping), rain pouring straight down on us in mud up to our knees, we’d ride past the water truck in the arena parking lot and chuckle at the ridiculous necessity. But, come our final round (at the end of the week), thanks to the apt work of Springtime sun and wind, we’d have to pull up for the water truck, who’d become the busiest, most needed necessity on the grounds.

My memories of Springtime and California (particularly Chowchilla which I won 8 times earning the perpetual trophy that I never received, eh-hmm) represent cleansing and rejuvenation. I could shed winter’s restraint like an old coat and spring into real rodeo-fever. There was something refreshing and magical about this time of year in rodeo that always sweetened my crave. It’s hard to say whether it was a winning “Springtime” start that brought a good attitude or a good attitude that brought a winning “Springtime” start. In any case the two were synonymous and proved advantageous in all aspects of my competition

Unfortunately, like a smoldering bonfire the Chowchilla Stampede has been reduced to a lower numbered, weekend roping, awarding insignificant titles. Where patrons once roped in what seemed like miles of countryside over a 35-foot score they’re now confined to an itty, bitty sheep barn with an even-to-the-box score. Though its legendary cowboys of back-in-the-day faithfully return every year to compete in its “Gold Card”, its sad to see something so significant has died. Like, that Springtime flower wilted so the professional cowboys of today have all rode away.

That’s all I know…

Rope Smart,

The Lion

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Excuses: There are 200 ropers loading trailers with excuses.

Today, in Elk Grove, CA Jerold Camarillo helped squelch a few "excuses".  Jerold isn't as young as you might have remembered, and theoretically some people enter the "washed up" group at a certain advanced age.  Jerold has once again dodged this ideal today, winning the number 12 roping and taking home $3200.  Wow!  Many "so called ropers" have retired but a few are still out there slogging it out in the rain and wind and winning.  A few of the elite actually train the ropers that are winning.  Today Jerold roped with a high school student turning a steer in 8, won the number 12 roping, witnessed another trainee "Chris Perry" win the number 13, and another local roper Pat finish above average.  Understandably its tough to decide to rope with a pro.  The lessons cost can quickly accumulate.  But, and there is skill and luck involved, when it turns your direction its often worth $3000 plus.  Horse ducking off, one leg instead of two, charging in the box?  Maybe its time to give Leo or Jerold a call?  You can dismiss them as older and a bit out of style, but only for a nanosecond.  Because just as you think there is logic in dismissing the talent of these boys, you'll likely get your shorts handed to you in a baggy.  Today a "old" team roper, Jerold Camarillo, drove off with $3200.  Aren't you just begging to ask "how did you do that?".  Its not just the fact that the Camarillos have achieved Hall of Fame status, but that they are still winning at 60 plus.   You owe it to yourself to call and talk to these guys.  I mean, who gets up on a Saturday morning, goes out and wins $3200 and is a member of the over 60's club?  Call the Camarillos if you want to win.   Win at 20, 30, 60?  Yes.  Win at any age any day?  The Camarillos won again today (no suprise here) and a Camarillos did it not at 30 years old but at 60  plus.  And you are still trying to teach yourself to rope?  Duh!  I cannot over emphasize the beneifit of even a few lessons.  Just rope, or WIN.  It's your choice and the Camarillo's can help.  Call today!

Monday, January 3, 2011


Back in the 40s and 50s dunk shots became common in the sport of basketball. Unlike today, a 7 ft tall center was freakish and could dominate the floor (hence the reason goal tending became illegal and dunk shots were band in college basketball from 1967-1976). To combat dominating giants, shorter and/or slower guys developed their long-distance shot and soon 3-point shots came into play.

As a spectator I enjoy every aspect of the game of basketball. The thrill of a fast break, a perfectly timed and placed pass, the mighty slam dunk, the elegant swish of a three point drop, the mental challenge of a free throw, the spontaneous juke…you name it, all of which compose the game.

The capability of NBA’s 3-point shooters is close to 50% these days. Impending mastery of 3-point shots prompts the NBA league to increase the challenge by periodically expanding its 3-point arc. Imagine if all shooters resorted to half court buckets. What kind of game would it be? Exciting? Maybe, for a minute, but nowhere near the capacity of challenge intended the sport. Player fundamentals would be reduced to a rocket-launch from back court, leaving ball tending/working the court a lost art. The sport would not hold the same capacity of challenge because of its narrowed focus of offense. Therefore, the league continues to preserve balance instigating all aspects of the game.

Just like in basketball, team ropers are constantly pushing the envelope with their long-shot creativity and ability. Certainly successful long-shots will always be spectacular. They were back in the day of HP Evetts, and they still are today. And certainly half-court (team roping) shots are appropriate and appreciated in confined setups like the Thomas and Mac, but it’s not the reality-roping for Salinas, Cheyenne, Pendleton, etc., or the open range. Unfortunately, about the only exposure to team roping our world gets is the televised National Finals. New-generation ropers watch the shark fest in the T & M tank and take on it’s “furious-roping” idea believing it’s the way. They feed on “how-to” articles written by their heroes about knock’n barriers and cut’n corners, even utilizing the force of one’s horse coming off the back of the box to send your loop. Rarely do their heroes promote or share advice on how to be versatile, solid, or consistent, much less the importance of “safety.“ Because most ropers today are arena competitors, not actual “cowboys”, they want speed and limit their (and their horse’s) development to short, quick runs with total disregard for proper mechanics and team dynamics.

The team roping we see today is not what the event was originated to be, but speaking about its authenticity is like speaking a foreign language. Today’s arena is a different time and place. Creativity and phenomenal skill aside, I’m talking about today’s competition A.D.D. and lack of event integrity. As the NBA’s 3-point arc boundary continues to expand, honorable adjustments in the roping arena are nonexistent. It seems cattle get smaller, horse & roper athletes get bigger and better, yet barriers remain short, and money gets shelled out in the wrong direction.

I commend NFR team roping producers for recognizing the need for enforcing the challenge of one loop, but what a roping we’d see if the NFR were to restore the “team” principle in the T & M and revive the game. I propose they lengthen that score a ways, pull a heeler barrier the same as the header’s, oblige competitors to utilize those expensive, 4-legged team members to their maximum potential, and then NFR-boys, let’s rope! Match the best headers & heelers in the world against cattle that finally have some kind of advantage. Give them talented boys an opponent other than themselves. Would it happen?

Most likely not, because only today’s real roper cowboy would understand and appreciate the significance of meeting such challenges, and only he would applaud and call it, “A hell of a run.”

That’s all I know…
Rope Smart!
The Lion
Leo Camarillo Horse & Cattle LLC