WHEATLAND – It was billed as “Do it right no lopin ropin” and was a bit of a twist on the conventional roping activities that are usually seen at rodeos and roping competitions.
The event took place Feb. 6 at Rafter MB Quarter Horses Arena and Event Center and Arena BBQ in Wheatland and was organized and run by Reo Eaton and his family, with wife Shannon, and their daughter and son.
Eaton is a true western cowboy out of eastern Montana who went to school in Dayton, Wyoming, and his family worked for the Padlock Ranch in Sheridan County. He offered his own brand of cowboy wisdom as he said although he’s lived in a lot of different places, he said he likes them all, even though they’re all different.
He now works for the Bartlett Ranch near Lagrange, Wyoming, and sets up roping competitions on the side. The Eatons run between 6 and 7 roping competitions per year. They heard about the Ingle’s indoor arena from a friend.
“Somebody said they had an indoor barn,” Eaton said. “So, I got a phone number, and the relationship grew from there.”
As to the “No Lopin” moniker set to the event, Eaton said he didn’t know where the name came from and laughed as he said, “I don’t know, I stole that name from somebody.”
Basically, according to Eaton, it means you can’t go fast.
“No running at all,” he said. “Just walk or slow trot. It’s easier on the horses and the cattle and it’s good for people just learning how to rope. It also promotes teamwork. There’s no points, it’s all a timed event. I’ll just call out a number and someone will head it, another person will come in and heel it and the third person will set the ropes like you’re doctoring cattle outside. The minute that third person is done and has his butt in the saddle the time is marked.”
Running an event like this is a bit different from outside doctoring, according to Eaton. Most outdoor events do not have the advantage of an inside arena BBQ restaurant and most people on hand mentioned the goodness in the air as the smell of food wafted. Eaton said that was a difference from outdoor events that “was marvelous and it’s really good food too and it’s a great setup. We couldn’t ask for anything better.”
“It’s not bad,” he said. “It just takes a while, setting up panels, taking everything down when you’re done and cleaning it up. Myrle and Birgit are really good to deal with and Zane Morris, these are his roping cattle and he’s been great to deal with.”
Novice roping was held in the morning and there were eight teams that got their feet wet in the sport of roping cattle. Open roping immediately followed the novice roping and 30 teams competed in the daylong activity. Morris had 39 cattle in the indoor herd.
The event fee was $180 per team or $60 per person. Cowboy attire was required and the participants were encouraged to bring their trade gear.
“We won’t have any more competitions now,” Eaton said. “Because everybody will start calving their cows and they’ll be too busy.”
Last year Eaton said their competitions were not affected by COVID.
“We were not affected because people in this part of the world were really cool with it,” he said. “We were like, ‘if you want to come, do, and if you don’t, don’t. If you want to wear a mask, do, if you don’t, don’t. Actually, the COVID thing really opened it up for a lot of these small events because the big events all got canceled.”