Rodeo: Granby rider recognized for roping skills |

Rodeo: Granby rider recognized for roping skills

by Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News

A Granby rodeo rider recently won a prestigious award from the Wyoming Rodeo Association.

Tish Linke is the 2007 WRA Mixed Team Roping Year-End Champion. She won the title during the Wyoming association championship finals held in Torrington on Nov. 10.

“Before I got there, I was already far enough ahead that nobody was going to catch me,” Linke said. “I had already sewed it up, but it was still fun to go and compete.”

The WRA championship title is based upon the total money earned by each competitor over the entire season that featured 58 rodeos. Both the Flying Heels Rodeo Series in Granby and the Grand County Rodeo in Kremmling are included in the association’s rodeos.

Linke was one of its most consistent winners in the mixed team roping competition during the 2007 season. Along with placing well in all of the Flying Heels Rodeos, she won the mixed team competition at the Grand County Rodeo and took top places in three Wyoming rodeos.

In mixed team roping, Linke is the “heeler” on the two-person, male-female team. After the “header” has roped the running steer’s head and turned it, it is the heeler’s job to complete the catch by roping both of the steer’s hind legs.

In this timed event, the winners of the competition are determined by the speed of their roping and how accurately the ropes were thrown. Penalties are assessed for errors in catches.

“In team roping, there are three legal catches that the header can make,” Linke said. “Once he gets the rope around the steer’s head, the header will turn the animal to the left and keep going to give the heeler a shot.

“Heeling is all about timing. You want to catch the steer with its heels off the ground and pointed back. You’ve got to know when to throw. My skill is not so much in timing, but in placing and accuracy. To be good at it takes loads of practice.”

This past season, she was teamed up with a number of different male partners who were her “headers” in the event.

“I mostly roped with my brothers Trey and Monte, but also with others, especially when I was in Wyoming,” Linke said. “It’s great to be able to practice with your partner, but it’s not always possible.”

The only full-time “partner” in Linke’s team roping is her horse “Wedge,” whom she has owned for the past 10 years.

“My Dad calls Wedge a jewel,” Linke said. “Wedge knows his job. He’s a real athlete.”

The horse was originally owned and trained by her sister, Marina, who now lives in Wheatland, Wyo. and is also a team roper.

“My biggest disappointment this past season is that my sister came down here for the Flying Heels Rodeos and beat me. She earned $13 more than I did,” Linke said.

Linke has been a serious team roper for the past 10 years since returning to Grand County after graduating from college. She is also a good competitor in the breakaway roping event.

“Rodeos have always been an important part of my family,” she said. “When I was a kid, I did barrel racing, but I got into roping after college. I love the competition. It’s fun and a real adrenaline rush.”

Before her first-ever WRA championship title in 2007, Linke earned qualifications in both team roping and breakaway roping for the previous year’s championships. She has hopes of doing well again in 2008.

“At the least, I’d like to qualify again for the finals and be in the top 10,” she said. “Yes, it would be nice to win again, but I don’t know. It would be fun to just qualify and go once again.”

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