Much of America has been hit hard with winter weather recently, including parts of Arizona. Wittmann, where Iveson Performance Horses and Winter Roping Camp is located, is still dry and ready to welcome visitors for winter roping in Arizona like it does every year. While the rest of the country is frozen with ice and shrouded in snow, Arizona will be warm and dry in the dead of winter. Not to make anyone too jealous, but it’s 63 degrees and sunny right now.
In order to soak up the sun and throw as many loops as possible, team ropers of all ages and abilities travel to Arizona each winter. Some stay for a weekend. Others check in for a week or a month, while the die-hard ropers stay for the whole season. Winter roping in Arizona typically starts in November and runs through March.
The weather couldn’t be better, with winter temperatures in the 60s and 70s and almost no rainfall. Every day is a good day to rope in Wittmann. Camping is easy and fun at one of Iveson’s RV hookups, and covered stalls provide shade for the horses.
Ropers’ wives, girlfriends, or non-roping friends also have plenty to do while in the area. Wickenburg is located only 20 minutes away, and the town has plenty of souvenir shops, boutiques, and fun secondhand shops. A wide variety of eateries provide delicious sustenance for shoppers.
Winter roping in Arizona draws pros looking to practice up before hitting the PRCA circuit again, as well as amateurs hoping to improve their skills during a week’s vacation from their day job.
Friendships grow and blossom in the warm desert climate. Many ropers return to the same camp each year to visit new friends from distant locations. Dan Iveson camped as a guest at a local arena for several years before launching his own camp, so he knows what his guests look for in a camp.
“I want repeat business and repeat campers. I want people to be happy,” he said.
Plenty of potlucks, barbeques, and a daily roping schedule promise to keep his guests happy. Guests can rope fresh cattle 3 days a week, rope the Heel-O-Matic for 2 days, and jackpot almost any day they want. Winter roping in Arizona is a seven-day-a-week endeavor, and camping at Iveson’s arena with brand-new facilities will add quality practice to any visitor’s overall experience.
“People are super friendly. They’re just down there to have a good time, to practice roping, ride their horses, have a good time,” said Dan. “If they have a chip on their shoulder, they left it at home.”
With great weather, fresh cattle, friendly fellow campers, and an abundance of roping practice and good-paying jackpots in the vicinity, Arizona is definitely the spot to be for winter roping. There are 14 arenas in the Wittmann area, plus at least another 8 in Wickenburg.