PROSSER — Starting from a young age, Harley and Houston Hull have competed in National High School Rodeos. The two hope to make roping full-time after high school.
Harley, 16, is a junior at Prosser High School and her twin sister, Houston, is a junior at Kennewick High School. They both have been roping since the age of two.
There are three styles of roping: calf, breakaway, and team-roping. They all include throwing a rope, with a loop, to catch the neck of a calf or steer. Team-roping requires a header and heeler. The first and second roper’s job is to rope the steer, after the steer has a head start. Based off points, the main objective is to rope the steers as timely as possible, without penalty.
Like anything else, ropers must face adversity at a moment’s notice, Houston explained, “It just depends, I can go to a roping were I don’t have to let the steer out very far, and just go and then I can go to a roping and let a steer out a ways out there and it just stands there. Sometimes they will cheat it and jump off the back of the box, it just depends.” Ropers must understand the variables in their partners and horses.
Competing in Nationals requires ropers to place fourth or higher in high school rodeo events. Competitors in rodeos represent the state in which the rodeo is based out of.
Harley appreciates the culture surrounding the rodeos, “I like the people in it and the people I get to meet.” They both admitted that this sport takes a while to get good at, and it requires persistence.
Harley added, when she won third in nationals as an eighth grader, in Lebanon, Tennessee, “It was a great feeling, I started crying. . . it’s the best feeling ever knowing you are the best three in the world.”
In her sophomore season, last July, Houston won state and competed in Nationals. In seventh grade she finished 10th in the nation in team-roping and 11th in sixth grade in break-away.
Houston started roping on a PVC makeshift dummy that she still owns but does not use anymore. She has pins and an arena at her home where she practices. She said roping gets bigger every day.
Houston depends on quarter horses, ‘Diego,’ and ‘Seven,’ for the way they work and score. This includes how far she lets them steer out before she can leave the starting position.
Harley likes to ride her quarter horse ‘Shaq,’ for breakaway and ‘Diego’ for team roping.
The twin sibling duo practice roping every day on their own and sometimes together. They compete in rodeos on the weekends, and high school competition for them including eight to ten events throughout the fall and spring season.
The first event is in September in Longview, WA.