How to Pick a Rodeo Rope

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Rodeos provide entertainment for all ages while highlighting many of the real-life skills required of cowboys and other ranch workers. The two roping events – team roping and tie-down roping – showcase the abilities of participants to capture and secure livestock from horseback using specially-designed ropes. Shorter and stiffer than the traditional ropes used on farms, rodeo ropes play an important role in the excitement of the rodeo – and picking the right one remains key to your success.

Heelers and Headers

  • Rodeo ropes comprised of nylon and polyester blends offer the best durability. Other available specifications depend on your preferred event, size and experience level. If you have small hands, select a rope with a smaller diameter, and if you are a beginner, shorter ropes afford more control. During a rodeo, ropers fall into two categories – heelers and headers. Heelers compete during team roping and lasso larger cattle around their hind legs. Heel ropes boast a stiff lay, meaning the rope’s loop is rigid in order to better slip under the animal’s feet. They also measure around 35 feet long. If you are a header, you can compete in both team roping and tie-down roping. During team roping, your job is to rope the steer’s head while your partner targets the hind legs. In tie-down events, you rope a calf from horseback by yourself. In both cases, a head rope provides a softer lay as well as a shorter length – usually 30 feet. This gives you more control and aim while preventing the animal from escaping the rope once you have thrown it.

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