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Published March 03, 2008, 12:00 AM

An equine pastime

Local enthusiasts enjoy team roping
Finding ways to beat the mid-winter blues has always been an interesting proposition living in the Red River Valley. Some people join leagues of various types, go to the local health club or just hibernate and become couch potatoes.

By: David Samson, The Forum

Finding ways to beat the mid-winter blues has always been an interesting proposition living in the Red River Valley. Some people join leagues of various types, go to the local health club or just hibernate and become couch potatoes.

A group of local horse enthusiasts decided to take the reins and participate in something they really love: team roping.

They approached Tate Eck, faculty member for the North Dakota State University’s Equine Studies program and NDSU rodeo coach, about the possibility of using their arena for winter practice.

And so, Tuesday night team roping was launched.

On an average night, 15 to 20 ropers from around the region trailer their horses to the NDSU Equine Center arena to steer rope to keep their horses in shape and meet up with riders dedicated to the hobby.

The ropers pay a nightly fee which benefits the NDSU rodeo club, whose members take turns running the chutes and keep the action flowing. The Tuesday night sessions started in January and continue through mid-March.

For Dave Gronlie of Horace, N.D., the Tuesday evening roping sessions gives him a chance to stay sharp with his horsemanship skills and keep up with his

23-year-old son, who is also a roper. “It’s something to do with animals, it’s competitive and I just really enjoy it,” Gronlie said.

Randy and Kim Kraft of West Fargo look forward to the weekly outings at the arena after being introduced to the activity by fellow riders Wade and Becky Benson, also of West Fargo. “We did pleasure riding before and some team penning,” said Kim Kraft. “It’s just a challenge to rope and ride and I have a good time meeting new people.”

Casselton veterinarian Darin Peterson started roping last spring after spending his youth and college days riding rodeo rough stock, “I thought it would be a good idea to change to something a little bit safer, so I decided to try roping a little bit,” Peterson said. “I like hanging around horses and people so I combined the two and gave it a shot.”

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