LEWISTON -- The success of a rope throw is dependent upon the delivery. For about 20 North Central Idaho residents in mid-September, they came with basic skills and brought them up a notch from instruction by an industry legend, Joe Beaver, eight-time world champion tie-down roper, at a two-day clinic at the Hammond Ranch at Lewiston.
Participants on Sept. 12-13 fine-tuned their roping skills, first on roping dummies, followed with live calves from horseback. The intent of the clinic was not only to test participants’ abilities and boost their skill levels, but also to teach critical thinking ability and through this for them to recognize their full potential.
Beaver, 54, has a total $3.069 million in PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) career earnings, qualified 22 times for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, is a 2002 ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductee, and is a commentator at National Finals Rodeo and the George Strait Team Roping Classic. He joined the PRCA in 1985 and that year was the tie-down roping and overall rookie of the year.
In a KLEW-TV story on the clinic, Beaver spoke to participants about priorities that come ahead of the sport.
"The first thing I want you to do is make your grades. The second thing I want you to be a good kid, and the third I want you to win all you can,” he said. “Each person has something in us. Whether we dig it out and use it, it’s up to us."
According to a Sept. 13 Lewiston Tribune article, Beaver emphasized throughout the clinic the importance of a “handshake delivery” when releasing the rope. The strategy allows the person’s thumb to be on top of the rope, which encourages the rope to be thrown downward as the loop opens toward the target.
“It’s so simple, but we make it so hard,” Beaver said about the technique.
Among the clinic participants was Sawyer Fisher, 13, of Kooskia, who, according to the Tribune article, has been roping for about four years.
“I improved a lot,” she said. “He taught me how to open my hand and look through my loop.”
As someone who travels rodeos throughout the U.S., Beaver told KLEW-TV that Lewiston is special, due to the blend of equally competitive and fun atmosphere.
"You're either trying to get to the top, or you're trying to make a spot to get to the finals. Lewiston is a big deciding factor in that. I’ve always liked it because the crowds are big, they're into it, they got a great place to go after the rodeo. You can't beat it, so Lewiston’s fun, and fun makes it easier to win, he said.
He says having fun remains one of the most important parts, regardless of what you’re doing.
Public reaction was highly appreciative, as expressed in Beaver’s Facebook commentary. One of these, Jeffrey Sayre of Lewiston, stated, “I have been coached and have seen other coaches put on seminars and clinics for 50 years as a student and as a parent. Joe puts on an outstanding learning experience. Positive reinforcement, simple questions, one-on-one instruction. I had never seen a roping clinic before Saturday in Lewiston. If you have a child interested in roping, sign them up for Joe's schools. He misses nothing and your child will be better off for attending. Well done, Mr. Beaver. Thanks for giving back.”