Team roper inspired
Redefining Rodeo: Inside Maddy Deerman’s Unconventional Breakaway Roping Style

Influenced by late father Brook’s 1980 team roping swing, Maddy Deerman has been taking ProRodeo breakaway by storm—all while balancing school and more.

Maddy Deerman and Brook-trained gelding "Whopper" clinch the 2023 NFR Open Championship.
Maddy Deerman and Brook-trained gelding "Whopper" clinch the 2023 NFR Open Championship. Photo by Fernando Sam-Sin courtesy Deerman

Maddy Deerman employs a breakaway swing with more elbow action than other ropers—and her uncommon breakaway roping style has yielded a string of successes that began at the 2023 NFR Open and led to qualifying for the 2024 winter buildings in less than 25 ProRodeos.

For the Hope, New Mexico, cowgirl who’d forgone full-time rodeo in favor of a masters degree in Geology at Texas Tech University and a job in the oilfield once she graduates in August, the big rodeo wins felt like approval from both God and late father Brook Deerman, who taught her how to rope.

“It’s really special to think, ‘What would he think if he saw me winning?’” Deerman said.

Deerman’s unique breakaway roping style

From the jump, Deerman’s roping style was outside of breakaway norms. In a discipline that focuses on sharp neck loops and keeping the tip down, Deerman says her swing was influenced by team roper Brook.

“I think I use a lot more elbow and less wrist than other girls,” Deerman said. “When my dad taught me to rope, he taught me like an 80s team roper. They would crank their arms quite a bit. I’ve toned it down a lot since high school, where I’d describe it as ‘pumpjacking.'”

@breakawayropingjournal Maddy Deerman sliddddd into the winner’s circke in 3.0 seconds at the #PikesPeakOrBust #NFROpen in the breakaway roping. The NFR Open was made up of cowboys and cowgirls from across all PRCA/WPRA circuits who won the year-end or circuit finals in each circuit. The rodeo is designed to give athletes from the circuit systems who may not ProRodeo full-time a chance to compete for huge prizes. Circuit rodeo coverage brought to you all year long by @Equinety. #Rodeo101 #BreakawayRoping #Rodeo #RopingTok ♬ Another Level – Oh The Larceny

Deerman attended a breakaway clinic in middle school, but her style was so different from other breakaway ropers that it was hard to apply their methods.

“I kind of keep my shoulder and arm position a little further back, and I always keep my plane tipped off to the right rather than flat,” Deerman said. “I think my style is very different from other breakaway ropers. I feel like my back-and-forth motion gives me range for my longer shots. Whereas if I kept my arm forward and didn’t come back, I would only have closer range shots right under my horse.”

Brook’s aggressive forward-and-backward team roping swing made sense for Deerman, who still doesn’t tuck her loop under her arm in the box because she doesn’t feel she has as much power.

“Some of my staples are staying up and square while I’m swinging. I feel like I can just release my arm into that throw and bring it down into my throw with my thumb up, and that makes it super easy. So many people can make styles work their own way, and that’s just how I made it work for me.”

Following Brook's passing, Deerman got to pick up where he left off on gelding "BeeBop." Deerman's boyfriend Garrett Jacobs went on to win the 2023 NFR Open in the tie-down on him.
Following Brook’s passing, Deerman got to pick up where he left off on gelding “BeeBop.” Deerman’s boyfriend Garrett Jacobs went on to win the 2023 NFR Open in the tie-down on him. Photo courtesy Deerman.

Horses part in Deerman’s healing

Brook passed unexpectedly when Deerman was 15 years old—a sophomore in high school. The loss left her worried there would be a crisis in her roping, and what would become of the gelding “BeeBop” that only had a handful of rides on him. Deerman went on to start BeeBop in the breakaway, saying the experience showed her that she was capable of things without Brook’s instruction—although according to Deerman, she felt he was there.

Deerman’s unique style worked well for her as she roped her way through high school, winning the 2017 New Mexico state championships heading for Kayden Little in the team roping and in the breakaway roping. In college, she’s roped for Sam Houston University, Tarleton State and Texas Tech University, advancing to the CNFR in 2021. In 2022 she won the Windy Ryon Memorial Breakaway Roping and, in 2023, her ProRodeo career took off with an NFR Open win. She has two Turquoise Circuit year end-championships to her name as well as a trip to the Governor’s Cup in Sioux Falls under her belt.

Deerman collected $6,350 at the 2024 Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, and currently sits No. 8 in the world standings with a total of $12,206 won.

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