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1808 PD: King Kong the roping dummy

Baxter Black Published on 09 December 2008

A while back I bought a basic roping dummy.

It went up and down and moved his hind legs. But it was stationary. Too bad I didn’t live closer to Rick. He was in California and had bought one that was self-propelled. But, then again, maybe I just got lucky.



The mechanical roping steer, we’ll name it King Kong, was a team roper’s dream. It was expensive but when you’ve got the bug and a wife with a job, it’s considered an investment and not an extravagance. Besides, they had offered him dealership possibilities!

Even though he hadn’t gotten his arena finished, he invited his roping buddies over for a demonstration. They parked their rigs at the edge of the cleared field.

“This baby is self-propelled and runs straight down the arena,” explained Rick. “Once the header ropes the horns a solenoid kicks in and shuts down Kong’s forward progress allowing the heeler to make his throw.”

They began their trial runs at slow speed. Shur’nuf, when the header dallyed and turned off, Kong disengaged as if on command and the heeler swooped in and caught.

“How fast will it go?” asked Joe.


“They claim twenty-eight miles an hour,” said Rick.

“Kick ’er in high gear,” said Joe, shaking out a loop.

Out of the imaginary box Kong roared like a speedboat! Joe punched ol’ Roanie. He could almost hear the cheers of the crowd at Thomas and Mack Arena as he sailed a loop and ducked off to give his heeler a shot. But something went wrong ... a thumb in the dally? A broken rope? A figure eight? Nope, King Kong failed to slow down. He actually grabbed another gear and began rimming around the hapless header whose horse decided he’d had enough.

In desperation Joe threw a trip on Kong to flip him. Unfortunately the rope tangled in one of the now supersonic wheels and the snarling machine climbed up his rope! Joe pitched his twine to grab the horn as Roanie quit the country in a dead run!

Kong, still at full speed, crashed into a brand new quad cab super-dually, smashed the front door, ran a horn down the length of the pickup and impaled itself on the fiberglass fender over the rear-wheel well. It sat there and spun like a high-speed drill until it finally caught fire and fizzled out with a pop.

The cowboys eased around what now looked like an old BBQ grill somebody had run over with a bulldozer.


“I just about had him,” said the heeler, “but my dang header turned off too soon!” PD

Baxter Black