At age 45, Arizonan Edie Roer’s team roping career has just begun.
Arizona cattleman Bill Roer describes his wife Edie as being of the “indoor garden” variety, adding, “She’s the type of person you wouldn’t expect to make a cowhand out of.” She likes to cook and has a library of more than 20 cook books; and Bill says that almost every week there’s a new dish, a recipe that neither he nor Edie has ever tasted before, on the Roer dinner table. He says it averages out to about two new recipes a week.
Edie likes to garden, both with flowers and vegetables. Her 10 x 100-foot vegetable garden produces the year around and Bill says it stocks the Roer table, hired help table, and the tables of any relatives who happen to stop by. Edie is also taking guitar lessons and she is studying sociology at Phoenix College. And she is winning in team roping contests—an amazing feat in that she didn’t start roping (or riding) until three years ago at age 42. Bill says, “Maybe she had been on a horse 20 times in her life—kid ponies and a rent pony or two—but she had no real confidence in a horse when she decided to learn to rope.”
When she and Bill were married in 1974, she stepped into a world of horses and cattle. Buying and selling cattle is Bill’s business, and he trades a horse or two now and then. At first, Edie’s only contact with the livestock industry was as secretary and bookkeeper for Bill Roer Livestock, Laveen, Arizona. She also helped with the book work involved with the big Ropathon that Bill produced for a number of years. But she changed from spectator to participant the day Bill unloaded a new sorrel at their place.
The horse was a four-year-old Quarter Horse gelding that Bill describes as, “Ranch broke; no buck, but alert. Even today, after owning him three years, he won’t walk over a Kleenex. He’ll walk around it ’cause he thinks there might be a rattlesnake under it.”
As the sorrel was unloaded from the trailer, Edie asked: “What’s his name?” Bill replied: “His registered name is Adkins.” Edie said: “Adkins is the name of the Arkansas town I was born in. I believe I’ll just take that horse over.” So Adkins—she calls him Red—became Edie’s
At Roer’s Ropathon (the last one was held in 1978 and had 3,840 individual entries), Edie had the chance to see the best team ropers in the world in action. She studied the heeling and decided that it was something she wanted to do. With her new horse, she began working out in what Bill calls “a cow pony training pen” at their place in Laveen. This pen was featured in the April 1978 issue of The Western Horseman. The 40 x 70-foot pen has rounded corners and V-shaped wings on the sides to discourage a steer from hugging the fence. Edie and her new horse spent many hours trailing a steer around in the pen while practicing heeling with a breakaway honda.
Speaking of the inexperienced rider and roper and the equally inexperienced rope horse working out in the pen, Bill said: “There’s an old adage,’The greener the rider the older the horse’, but here we put two greenhorns together and neither one of ’em got spoiled. It usually doesn’t turn out that way.”
Edie won her first team roping buckles about a year ago heeling for Bill at an annual Arizona feedlot roping. The roping was limited to feedlot owners and their employees. About 90 teams were entered and Bill and Edie won the contest by dallying three steers in a total of 49 seconds. They went to another feedlot roping two weeks later and won top money. “Between the two of us, we won four buckles and $1,300 on the two weekends,” said Bill.
Edie, who says she was a “town girl” before she met and married Bill is a firm believer that most of us have more talent than we ever use; and—given the opportunity—there are many skills we can master. What does she have to say about learning to ride and rope at 42? “You can’t sit back and say ‘I wish I could.’ I had the opportunity, the desire, and knew I could. It all came together right there in that training pen.”