Instructor keeps roping lessons going in winter

Alice Elison / for Farm & Ranch
Danae Eaton, of Blackfoot, practices roping each week at Jared Arave's arena in Blackfoot. Here, Arave warns her of the calf she's about to try to rope, "This calf is runner."

Alice Elison / for Farm & Ranch
High school freshman Lauren Mortensen, awaits her turn to rope a calf on her horse, Cowboy, on her first day calf roping practice at Jared Arave's arena in Blackfoot.

BLACKFOOT — There is more than one way to earn a living with a rope, says Jared Arave, of Blackfoot, who has made sharing his rodeo talents into a career by turning his natural coaching ability and love of horses into a year-round endeavor.

This comes in particularly handy during the winter when would-be rodeo performers need a place to practice out of the snow and cold.

“I think I provide a niche,” he said. “We’ve got the roping side; I train horses, help people continue on with their own horses and provide a place to go and rope. I give lots of lessons to all sorts of people.”

“I coached (Idaho State University’s) rodeo team for three years,” he said. “Kimberlyn Fehringer Fitch of American Falls won the College Nationals Finals Rodeo in 2013 on a mare I trained; that was a cutting horse I’d got from my grandpa.”

In fact, he was honored as Rocky Mountain Region Collegiate Rodeo Coach of the Year in 2014.

The Arave family owns an approximately 60-by-200-foot indoor arena that Jared calls the barn.

“It’s nothing fancy,” he said. “It’s just pieced together.”

The arena is equipped with pens, allowing calves to be moved one at a time through narrow runs leading to a chute with spring-loaded doors. The floor is lose dirt, providing safety for the animals.

Two mornings a week, he hosts practice for calf roping where a calf is roped but not thrown and tied. Breakaway roping is usually seen in junior, high school, college and semiprofessional rodeos. At the collegiate level, it is primarily a women’s event. When the rope is around the neck of the calf, the rider signals the horse to stop suddenly, the rope breaks, which marks the end of the game. The roper must be able to control the horse with one hand while the other hand is used to rope.

Danae Eaton and Betty Stibal participate in senior rodeo and practice regularly with Arave.

“We are usually here once a week,” said Stibal, who ranches west of Blackfoot.

“We don’t over-exert the horses,” Arave said. “We have to be careful running too many calves with just one horse.” Usually a horse makes 10 to 15 runs in a practice session. Eaton and Stibal both bring two horses to a three-hour session.

In addition to coaching, Arave trains roping horses.

“There are about 15 to 20 horses around all the time. I train and sell some of them. I usually have five to eight horses each month that I take in and work with,” Arave said. “I have a good time doing this. I like the horse end of this business.”

Many of his client horses belong to high school and college students.

“Kids find that having a better horse gives them more chance of winning.”

Sisters Abby and Lauren Mortensen both have horses Arave trained for roping.

“Our horses Cowboy and Blue Boy are 7-year-old half-brothers,” Abby Mortensen said. “Our family has sent Jared four horses and the longest he had any of them was four months.”

Abby is on the ISU rodeo team and Lauren is a freshman and will be on the rodeo team at St. Anthony High School. Lauren’s had her first day roping calves from her horse Jan. 5. Both girls are experienced in other rodeo events including tying goats and barrel racing.

“Lauren knows how to ride and she does a good job riding,” Arave said. “I started their horses about two months ago and now they bring them back and I help a bit.”

Nine-year-olds Porter Dansie and Chet Hyde said Arave has helped them improve their skills. “I do mostly ground work with them so far but they’ve been around it so much that they’ll pick it up quickly,” Arave said.

Arave leases 20 to 30 calves from a producer at Seagull Bay near American Falls.

“The calves can get too big to fit through the runs, so our calves are between 180 and 230 pounds,” he said. “The ones we have right now are between 6 and 8 months old.”

The calves are well cared for, and Arave gets to know each one well enough to predict how the animal will break from the chute.

Word of mouth advertising is Jared’s bread and butter. “Jared does really good at our local rodeos,” Stibal said. “Every time I looked up Jared had won.”

Arave, 43, has an extensive family and personal background in rodeo.

“I didn’t really get into participating in rodeo until I was in high school,” Arave said. “But it’s something I’ve been around all my life.”

Arave was named Best All Around Cowboy while in high school and was district champion three years. He finished 11th at the National High School Rodeo in calf roping.

Fatherhood returned Arave back to the family business, he and Katie are the parents of six.

“My grandfather started a construction company in the early 1960s.” When construction was slow, Arave trained and rode horses as a side business.

He tries not to over-do the rodeo side.

“My wife thinks I rodeo all the time,” Arave said. “But that’s not true. I only did about 13 last year and they were all in this region.”