re-sized rodeo roping

Rodeo roping – great skills demonstrated by both sexes

This is the third installment in a series of blogs we have been posting concerning rodeo – today we are going to look at and try to explain what is known as ‘roping’ in the very competitive world of rodeo. It has to be considered extreme as not only is there a limited number of participants but it is also dangerous, fast and very exciting to watch, as you will see in the videos below.


The three main events in roping, which are timed, are practiced by working cowboys on a daily basis for puposes of capturing and then treating the calf or steer, be it for reasons of branding the animal with the ranch logo, treating it for medicinal purposes or for some other reason such as castration. In competitive rodeo the events are divided into three classes:

  • calf roping
  • team roping
  • breakaway roping

Calf roping is when a calf is roped around its neck by the cowboy using a lasso or lariat. The cowboy’s horse must then stop and stand whilst the cowboy jumps down from his horse and runs over to the calf, turns it on its side and then ties three of the calf’s legs together. If the calf is knocked over by the horse moving then the cowboy must wait for the calf to stand again before he can turn the calf over himself – his time is therefore prolonged and as this is a timed event is is essential for the horse to stand still. Calf roping is now called tie-down roping by the PRCA.

The video below is a fine example of how one of the best in the business – Clint Cooper – practices this art – thanks to DodgeXTremeBulls for the video.

Team roping is when two people acting together lasso a fully grown steer with the ‘header’ capturing the steer over its horns and the ‘heeler’ lassoing the steer around its hind legs. The steer is then restrained and with pressure from the header and heeler will lose its balance and fall over. Both men and women can compete in the same team.

Watch brothers Brandon and Mike Beers in the video below from bpdesigns4u at the Reno Rodeo 2008 demonstrate team roping – not by any means a walk in the park.

Breakaway roping is when a calf is roped using a very short lariat or lasso which is lightly tied to the horn of the saddle with string and a flag. When the calf is roped the horse must stop, the calf will run on pulling the string and flag from the saddle which signals the end of the breakaway roping. In the US this event is primarily for women and girls of all ages and for boys of under 12 years of age.

But as you will see in the video below from Jaxxon1994 it is not only the girls who get involved. Here Mike Kline demonstrates breakaway roping.

So thats the roping element of rodeo covered, all we have left is rough stock rodeo – bull riding we have already covered, a topic worthy of its own blog, as is the other element of rough stock competition which is of course ‘bronc’ riding – apologies for the suspense!!

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