BELLE FOURCHE — Laramie Allen sits in a tent at the Black Hills Roundup grouds following a successful first go-round of steer roping. A time of 9.3 seconds enabled him to take the early lead.
“I drew a good steer, and I was lucky to make a good run on him,” said Allen, who resides in Llano, Texas. “I’m glad it worked out.”
Allen, 20, has also competed in team roping but chose to not do so this season. He decided to focus on steer roping because of a low number of available rodeos. Many rodeos throughout the country were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
He experimented with steer roping while in high school but has competed full-bore for the past three years.
Allen grew up on a ranch in southeast Kansas. Family members came south to Texas to ride horses.
“We do a lot more driving than we do rodeoing this year,” Allen said in describing the season thus far. “The rodeos are good that we can go to, so I’m glad for that.”
Allen said the Black Hills Roundup is probably the best rodeo he attends over the July 4 weekend. He and his traveling partners are also able to go to Cody, Wyo., on Saturday.
He was asked about his routine during the recent down time. Many rodeos were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I brought a colt with me to hang out, especially out here,” Allen said. “At the house, I ride a bunch of horses and just hang out. That’s about all we can do.”
Working on a ranch helped Allen keep his skills sharp.
“You use them every day and use your horse every day,” Allen said. “So when you come here, it’s just pretty much natural for anybody.”
The virus did not really affect Allen, who stayed at the ranch like he usually does.
“Even without the COVID deal, I’m usually just there,” he said. “I don’t really go to town much: just hang out at the house.”
When it comes to steer roping, Allen enjoys the people the most. “They’re pretty fun to hang out with around here,” he said.
“It’s an old-school event,” Allen said in further explaining the event’s appeal to him. “We’ve done it outside, in the pasture and stuff.”
Allen biggest challenge centers on the draw. He cited the importance of drawing the right steer and being good with them.
He pays attention to a steer roping start in preparing himself for the task at hand. He also tries to see what the steer does.
“If your game plan doesn’t go right, don’t stub your toe and get in a bind,” he said. “Do what you know how to do.”
Nerves occasionally enter the picture for Allen, who has been roping steers for 10 years.
“They will still build up if a lot of pressure’s up,” he said. “You just have to know how to deal with them.”
Allen competed in team roping at the Roundup in 2018 and 2019.
Many riders come to Belle Fourche because of a small number of rodeos currently happening. Allen agreed that played a role but said he and his traveling partners would have returned even if 100 other rodeos would happen at that time.
“This is one of the best ones over the summer, of the year,” Allen said. “If we don’t go here, we’re going to have to go to 10 other little ones to make this one up if we don’t win anything.”
He tries to enter several rodeos per week. That includes amateur rodeos, jackpots, and pro rodeos.
Area fans will have an opportunity to watch Allen later this month. His schedule after Cody, Wyo., includes stops in Burwell, Neb.; Weatherford, Texas; and the Days of ‘76 in Deadwood.
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