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.
Fall is well underway and winter is just around the corner, which means that it is almost prime time to attend a winter roping camp. When the snow starts to fly, most people in colder, northern climates pull their horses’ shoes and resign themselves to spending more time indoors.
But, does it have to be that way? No! In Arizona, the winter roping scene is swinging (and throwing, and catching) all season long. Here’s what you’ll find should you venture to Iveson Performance Horses’ winter roping camp, conveniently located just twenty minutes from the Team Roping Capital of the World:
Campers are in vacation mode, and everyone is in the mood to make friends. Many return to camp and rope at the same arena each winter, so familiar faces are easy to spot. Dan hosts several BBQ’s, potlucks, and get-togethers throughout the season, so even the most reserved campers can meet their neighbors.
Campers rope live cattle all morning three days a week and the Heel-O-Matic two days a week. In the afternoon, campers can use the arena for dry work, explore desert trails adjacent to the property, or check out the local attractions.
A chance to rope fresh cattle all season long? Um, yes, please! You can enjoy throwing your rope at quality cattle whether you stay for a week, a month, or all winter, as Dan maintains a steady supply of fresh cattle for his campers to practice and improve their skills.
If you rope every day, you can’t help but get better. Dan provides free daily lessons to all his campers, as well as a FREE 6-month membership to X Factor Team Roping. This membership provides access to thousands of instructional videos, plus opportunities to receive virtual coaching from some of the sport’s top pros.
Tired of wearing a coat and scarf? Leave ’em at home! You won’t need more than a light jacket for sitting around the campfire in sunny Arizona.
With a high concentration of roping arenas in the area, there are plenty of jackpots to choose from most days of the week. Rancho Rio is a local facility with tons of roping events. Ropers at Rancho Rio can stay caffeinated with Dan and Jennifer’s brand-new concession trailer, The Coffee Barn, which will be parked at the arena during events.
After roping all day, campers can head into Wickenburg for a meal at one of the many great local restaurants, enjoy a refreshing beverage, check out a band or two, and relax with both new and longtime friends.
Check out the National Roper’s Supply super store located right in Wickenburg. They sell everything from horn wraps to horse trailers, plus the latest clothing lines and boot styles. Visitors can also enjoy a leisurely stroll along the downtown sidewalks, where they can step inside the many tack stores, souvenir shops, and eateries.
Get out of the arena and check out the unique desert landscape. You can explore the iconic saguaros, rock formations, and awesome vistas by vehicle, hiking, or horseback
This time of year brings cooler mornings, falling leaves, and longer nights. But just because the days are shorter doesn’t mean the workload is lighter on the ranch. There are pairs to gather, wean, and ship – and of course a (couple) dozen donuts to eat on shipping day. At some point, a cowboy just has to take his rope down and shake out a loop, though.
That’s what Dan Iveson has been doing lately on his ranch in Nevada. He’s stirrup-deep in the fall works, aided by his three teenaged kids. Chances are good that Dan, Austin, Falen, and Samantha are all mounted on horses they’re training for future sale to the public.
“We like to use all our horses on the ranch as well as in the arena,” said Dan. “Ranch roping helps give them a solid foundation for team roping.”
In addition to branding their own stock, the Iveson family enjoys helping neighboring ranches with their fall works as well. Nevada winters are long, cold, and kinda mean, so folks up there look forward to any chance to meet up and visit. Especially if donuts are involved.
In addition to ranch roping, the fall works offer ample opportunity for logging in lots of outside miles gathering cattle.
The fall works are naturally followed by winter, when the team roping world converges on Wickenburg, Arizona. Dan plans to spend the season at his roping camp in nearby Wittmann. He has RV hookups, live cattle, a sled, and a full schedule of pros lined up to coach the ropers. He looks forward to roping and giving lessons daily. Campers will enjoy potlucks, barbeques, warm weather, stunning sunsets, and as many jackpots as they can enter.
“It will be a good time,” said Dan. “The fall works are fast and furious, then we get to kick back for the winter in Arizona.”