Steve Elkington is a magician with a golf club, owner of one of the most picturesque and seamless swings in the game. But does that swing segue into swinging a lasso and roping a calf? Or does it translate into a case of being saddle-sore?
After a two-week hiatus recovering from toe surgery, major champion and show host Elkington returns to answer that question in this week's episode of RFD-TV's "The Rural Golfer", the hit show which can be seen on RFD-TV at 9:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, with encore shows airing at 12:30 p.m. Sunday (ET) and the following Friday at 6 a.m. (ET).
And Boerne, Texas, a half-hour north of downtown San Antonio, is where Elkington treats "The Rural Golfer" audience to something far out of his considerable element - calf roping. With more than a little help from Professional Rodeo Cowboys Assn. Champions Rich Skelton and Nick Sartain, Elkington gets lassoed into learning the ropes about calf roping.
"I could live the rest of my life without being on a boat or a horse. This is only about the fifth time in my life I've been on a horse. ... We've got more moves going on here than a can of worms," said Elkington, as he tried maneuvering around the ring on his patient steed - "Trigger."
"It's fun to see him out of his element, because he's such a confident guy," said Sartain, the 2009 PRCA World Team Roping Champion.
As confident as Elkington is about most things, he wasn't one to argue that point. Not when he was learning the difference between "heading" (what Sartain does: break out and lasso the calf's head around the horns) and "heeling" (what Skelton does: fling his lasso around the calf's hind legs) and not when he was fiddling with part of the rope on one side of the horse, part in his hands and part draped across his lap.
And oh yeah. There's that little element about the reins and making the horse go where you want him to go.
"I feel like I'm the only one in Texas who doesn't know anything about roping," Elkington said, before ticking off a considerable laundry list of things he needed to know. "There's a lot going on here. It's just bedlam."
The recipe for curing that bedlam is a trip to Tapatio Springs, the Hill Country golf resort co-owned by Tom Cusick and country music legend George Strait, where Elkington returned to his element by returning the lesson favor. He gave Sartain and Skelton lessons in the grip and using their lower body to generate power before and during a round on the resort's course. Elkington's tips helped Sartain go from hitting grounders to getting the ball in the air.
"With roping and golfing, it's all pretty similar," said Skelton, an eight-time PRCA champion and one of the sport's legends. "In golfing, you have to line up to the ball the same way every time. With heading and heeling, you have to get in the same position every time. It's all about position. It's all about keeping your shoulder square to your target and your follow-through."
Skelton makes it sound as easy as an eight-time national champion could make a sport in which you ride a horse 40 mph while attempting to throw a rope around a scurrying calf with zero margin for error sound.
When you think about it, Skelton is on to something, which - even in his saddle-sore, head-spinning state - Elkington realized.
"It's a detail business and that's what interests me about their business," Elkington said. "They don't ever have two runs the same and in golf, we don't ever have two shots the same.
"I was totally out of my element here and totally out of anything I've ever done before. I got to appreciate the skill level these guys have and what these guys do."
And with that, Sartain, Skelton and Elkington - a golf bag draped across his back - literally rode off into the sunset.
About Rural Media Group, Inc.:
Rural Media Group, Inc. (RMG) is the world's leading provider of multimedia content dedicated to the rural and western lifestyle. RMG is the parent company of RFD-TV, FamilyNet, RURAL TV, RURAL RADIO on SiriusXM channel 80, RFD-TV The Magazine and RFD-TV The Theatre. RFD-TV, the flagship network for RMG, launched in December 2000. RFD-TV is the nation's first 24-hour television network dedicated to serving the needs and interests of rural America with programming focused on agriculture, equine, rural lifestyle, traditional country music and entertainment. Daily productions include Market Day Report and the Rural Evening News. RMG networks are distributed into more than 63-million homes worldwide by DBS, telco and cable systems including DISH Network, DIRECTV®, Comcast, Verizon FiOS TV, AT&T U-Verse, Mediacom, Charter, Brighthouse, Suddenlink, Time Warner, Cox and more than 600 independent rural cable systems. RFD-TV The Magazine is the print programming guide for the networks, which has attracted over 200,000 paid subscribers. RFD-TV The Theatre is a 2000 capacity soft seat venue in Branson, MO where entertainment programming is produced. RMG corporate headquarters are based in Omaha, NE and production operations are in Nashville, TN. For more information, visit www.rfdtv.com and join us on Facebook: RFD-TV Twitter: @OfficialRFDTV and Instagram: http://instagram.com/rfdtv
About Rural Golfer:
Just about every person who has picked up a golf club has been afflicted with the desire to find the secret to the game. Some find it in practice, some in playing, and some in hardcore instruction. It is said to be found "in the dirt." The Rural Golfer with Steve Elkington is a journey to find that elusive secret. A quest as seen through the eyes of Steve Elkington and his Rural Golfer team. The Rural Golfer follows Steve Elkington and the team on a quest to find the holy grail of golf, "the secret in the dirt," that takes them on a journey of undiscovered territory. Rural Golfer will highlight the flavor of golf in major cities surrounding Champions Tour venues and along the way will delve into the hidden gems along the way that define golf in America.
For more information about The Rural Golfer with Steve Elkington, please visit www.ruralgolfer.com and join us on Facebook: Rural Golfer and on Twitter: @RuralGolfer.
Brian Robin, Brener Zwikel & Associates
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