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Mechanical Steer Teaches Roping Skills
This mechanical steer simulates the action of a live steer, teaching roping skills to rodeo competitors.

    The Sparky Roping Machine has a body made of plastic and rides on a three-wheeled frame. The unit operates on a DC electric motor that runs on batteries, so there's no noise or smoke. The unit comes with a remote start-stop that you keep on the horse's saddle, which enables you to rope by yourself without anyone else operating it for you. The steer will "run" across a roping arena at speeds as high as 20 mph.

    "When you hit the start button it takes off, but once you rope it, it disengages automatically so you and your horse get the correct feel of catching a steer. The spring-loaded hind legs have the exact timing to get the correct feel when roping," says Marvin Kaptein.    

    "It's something consistent to watch and practice on, unlike a live steer. It teaches you to rope at the right time and in the correct way."

    According to Kaptein, the Sparky is the only machine on the market that a header or heeler can rope together or by themselves.

    "You can head, heel, dally, and face all on one run. After you head Sparky, the unit is free-wheeling so that a horse can get the correct feel of pulling a steer. From start to finish, you can't get any more realistic."

    He says a lot of "urban cowboys" like calf roping but don't have the animals or equipment to try it, other than a horse. "We offer a total of eight different models that cover everything from team roping to breakaway and calf roping," he notes.

    The standard model sells for $7,400.

    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Sparky Superior Roping Machine, 3401 Fig Ave., Rock Valley, Iowa 51247 (ph 877 877-4240 or 800 211-8575; marvink@smartsteer.com; www.smartsteer.com).

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2008 - Volume #32, Issue #4