The Rodeo: Never Give Up!

Roping Competitions.

  • There are 3 types of roping events featured at most rodeos: Calf (Tie-down), Breakaway, and Team (Heading and Heeling) Roping.
  • These highlight the specific skills a cowboy needs to capture cattle for branding, tagging, medical, and other purposes.
  • Cowboys use looped ropes called lariats or lassos.  They are thrown on the heads of young steers, and over the horns and back legs of larger animals.
  • The oldest timed event in rodeo competition is Calf or Tie-down Roping.  Here, the cowboy ropes a running steer, dismounts, throws the calf on the ground, and tied three of its feet together. His horse slowly backs up to help keep the lariat tight.
  • Breakaway Roping is primarily for women, and boys under 12 years of age.  In this variant of the above event, a short, flagged rope is tied lightly to the saddle horn with string.  When the calf is caught around the neck, the horse stops and the rope breaks free.  The calf runs on without being thrown down or tied up.
  • Team Roping demonstrates the joint skills needed for Heading and Heeling.  It is the only event where women and men often work together.  One rider (the header) catches a full-grown running steer by the horns, while their partner (the heeler) lassos the animal’s hind legs.  Once the bull is captured the riders face each other and lightly pull both ropes taut.  Yee haw!

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