Team roping also known as heading and heeling is a rodeo event that features a steer and two mounted riders.Team roping not only requires the perfect timing of horse and rider, but also with their teammate. Team ropers (a header and a heeler) start out in boxes on either side of the steer chute. The steer is released from the chute and given a head start. The rope that is across the front of the start box is looped around the steer’s neck. When the steer has reached the end of its head start, the rope across the header’s start box is released. If the header breaks the barrier before the calf gets his head start, then the rider receives a 10-second penalty.
The first roper is referred to as the “header”, the person who ropes the front of the steer, usually around the horns, but it is also legal for the rope to go around the neck, or go around one horn and the nose resulting in what they call a “half head”. Once the steer is caught by one of the three legal head catches, the header must dally (wrap the rope around the rubber covered saddle horn) and use his horse to turn the steer to the left. The second roper is the “heeler”, who ropes the steer by its hind feet after the “header” has turned the steer, with a five-second penalty assessed to the end time if only one leg is caught. The clock is stopped when both cowboys have roped the steer, there is no slack in the rope, and the horses are facing one another.
Team roping is the only rodeo event where men and women compete equally together in professionally sanctioned competition, in both single-gender or mixed-gender teams.