Horse, saddle, roping partner and rope.
To have the fastest time in the event with no penalties. The header makes a legal catch on the steer, takes a dally on his rope (securing the rope around the saddle horn in a wrapping motion), and turns the steer to the left, giving his partner (the heeler) a chance to rope the steer's hind feet. The clock is stopped when both partner's ropes have the slack taken up (tight) and the horses are facing each other with the steer in between them.
The head catch is not a neck catch, half-head catch (one horn and part of the head), or a two horn catch (the most desirable catch).
- The head catch is not a neck catch, half-head catch (one horn and part of the head), or a two horn catch (the most desirable catch).
- The head catch includes a front leg or both legs.
- The heeler throws his loop before the header has changed the direction of the steer and has the animal moving forward. This is called a "crossfire".
The contestant must give the steer a head start which trips an automatic barrier strung in front of the horse in the roping box. If the horse breaks through the barrier before the steer trips it automatically, the contestant is given a ten second penalty, usually putting him "out of the money". Also, if a heeler catches only one of the two hind legs, the team is assessed a five second penalty.