Loooooong score
Rylee George’s 3 Tips for Breakaway Long Score Success

Californian Rylee George thrives on long scores, tying for the win at Guymon Pioneer Days 2024 on walking fresh calves. Get her tips for nailing a long breakaway score here.

Rylee George spills her secrets on nailing the long scores at rodeos such at Guymon Pioneer days.
Rylee George spills her secrets on nailing the long scores at rodeos such at Guymon Pioneer days. Photo by Dale Hirschman.

Rylee George loves the skill it takes to rope a calf on the big setups back home in California, and has some tricks in her back pocket for nailing a long score she used to tie for the win at the 2024 Guymon Pioneer Days, earning a total of $4,771.

Originally from Oakdale, California, Texas A&M Commerce masters student George roped two head in 5.6 seconds to tie for the win with Jill Tanner of Stephenville, Texas.

With the co-championship, George will have approximately $24,300 in WPRA earnings, bumping her from No. 20 to No. 14 in the World Standings.

“My first calf—they were walking fresh—but he started pretty good, like he’d been roped before,” George said. “So I saw a little less. I had to run down there and get him while my second calf just walked out and started smelling the ground, so I had to see him pretty much all the way out.”

Breakaway Lingo: The term “fresh” or “walking fresh” is used to describe a calf that hasn’t been used for roping before. They’re often unsure and start out of the chute inconsistently. Some calves will trot out while others will wander, smelling the ground and making a solid start difficult for breakaway ropers.

3 Tips for Mastering Breakaway Roping on a Long Score

No. 3 First Things First; Focus on the Start

“When we really have to see [a calf] out, I focus on scoring first,” George said. “In the breakaway, it’s hard to be off the barrier and still place. See the start you want to see, and then run down the calf you drew.”

George noted that scoring is easier when the horse is a veteran. A greener horse won’t have the runs under their belt to help read cattle for a roper.

Check out the entire scoring & box work playlist on Roping.com.

No. 2 Make Sure You’re Mounted on Something Fast

George rode her head horse “Wright Style,” known as “Royce” to the win. Royce is a 2011 model sired by the late reined cow horse stallion Hes Wright On, and traces back to Shining Spark and Docs Stylish Oak on the bottom side.

“My head horse is the fastest one I own, so with these long scores and fresh calves, you never know what you’re going to get,” George said. “It’s hard to take a horse that wants to get tight out to a long score.”

If a horse is on the tighter side and a roper doesn’t have time to free them up at home or a jackpot, George advises to “Ride them all the way there” during a run.

No. 1 Study Calves and Watch Runs at the Rodeo

When it comes to a long score, do the homework.

“I’ll go to the arena and see what the calves are, and if they’re starting pretty strong or if they’re fresh and they’re hesitating when the gates open,” George explained. “No matter what happens when you’re in the box, you have to read you calf, but studying before can give you a hint on what they’re going to do.”

George says that watching the stock contractors sort the calves in the pens can give some clues on their behavior, too. She says if a calf is hitting fences and spending a lot of energy that she expects to have to run them down the arena a little farther, while a calf that walks with it’s head down and doesn’t make a fuss that it’s going to be a more “User-friendly” calf that runs at a medium speed.

“Fresh cattle are hard to read because they’re usually pretty wild,” George said. “The smaller, hairier ones at Guymon would walk out and stay put [for you to rope them]. While the ones that were [shedded out] and bigger would hear you coming and run off.”

With the summer run approaching, knowing how to capitalize on longer scores will pay dividends for breakaway ropers.

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