USTRC ropers are rated from 1-9 based on skill level. Lower ability ropers are 1,2 and 3's, intermediate/average ropers are 4,5 and 6's and open or professional ropers rate 7, 8 or 9. (this criteria courtesy of United States Team Roping Championship and Smith Brothers Roping Supply
1...True beginner or beginner ability. These ropers have trouble controlling the rope and their horse at the same time. Inexperienced riders with little or no roping experience.
2...Novice,beginner starting to improve, catching percentage starting to increase. Ropers with impaired motor skills.
3...Upper novice, can catch and handle a rope, put is not consistent in putting runs together for average.
4...HEELER: Lower 1/3 of intermediate ropers, stands out iin novice class ropings, one notch below average. HEADER: Stands out in novice class ropings. Usually speed ,quickness and ability in handling cattle, keeping him/her from being considered a "good snappy" header.
5...HEELER: Average roper, intermediate or mid level roper. HEADER: Good snappy header.
6...HEELER: Upper intermediate,one notch under open classification,one notch above average. HEADER: Top notch non-professional header.
7...HEELER: Lower 1/2 open professional,stands out in the lower class. HEADER: Top level professional header.
8...HEADER/HEELER: Upper 1/2 open or professional heeler.
9...NFR quality ropers.
Here's How You'd Rate If Baxter Black Had His Say....
(Baxter Black's handicaps courtesy of Quarter Horse Journal,June 1996.)
#3/8...One who can rope the dummy standing on a barrel,behind his back, between his legs, from the front seat and blindfolded. But couldn't rope a live elk in an eight foot stock tank if his life depended on it.
#.2225...Ropers who have been at it several years, yet seem to have no aptitude for the sport. Still don't grasp basic concepts like nodding for the steer.
#.5...Those cowboys condemned to always ride green,spooky,maladjusted "in training" horses. Although they might be fairly good ropers, it never shows between the pitching,squeals and cheers from the crowd.
#2 3/4...Consistently poor ropers, but so creative inventing excuses that they deserve some credit. "Did you see how close that was? I had 'em both, I snagged on a gum wrapper and it broker my concentration just as my horse switched leads, and in this humidity...blah blah blah..."
#1/4...Left handers who rope right handed. Easily spotted by the slight hesitations, looks of confusion and facial tics.
#1/8...Left handers who rope left handed. Heelers who spend their life trying to get into position.
#4F...Usually mature ropers who suffer rotor cuff injuries, bursitis,tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome or other maladies that result in unusual roping styles. Such as,one swing, wince and toss it like they're trying to get a booger off their finger.
#+10...Poorly dressed cowboys ridin' scruffy horses needin' a mane roachin' and tail pullin', carrying a rope that looks like it spent the wonter holkin' down tarps, bummin' Copenhagen and wanting to sleep in yer trailer, who can use a rope better than most of us can write our name.