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Rodeo: Calf Roping

By Jeffrey Jackson

Modern rodeo competitions can be a lot of fun. Calf roping is one event that has always been a rodeo favorite. Calf roping, or tie-down roping, is a timed event where a rider on a horse catches a calf by throwing a lasso of rodeo rope around the calf’s neck.

After the lasso is secured around the calf’s neck the rider has to quickly dismount his horse. He then has to quickly tie up three of the calf’s legs. The rider has to do this in as short a time as possible.

Calf roping had its origins in ranch work. Working cowboys used to have to catch their calves and restrain them in order to brand them. They also sometimes needed to catch them to administer medical treatment.

Ranch hands began to make a sport of the event. They liked to time each other to see how long it took them to lasso the calves and tie them down. This contest eventually made its way in to the rodeo.

Rodeo calves in rodeos are put in narrow chutes. When the rider is ready the chute operators opens the chutes door to release the calf. A barrier rope is in front of the rider to give the calf a head start.

Once the calf reaches a certain point the barrier is lowered. Once this happened, the rider needs to work quickly. The rider and his horse have to get into an immediate gallop to shave as much time from their score as possible.

The rider lassos the calf’s neck and stops the horse. He quickly dismounts and moves quickly to the calf. The calf needs to still be standing at this point, otherwise the rider needs to wait for the calf to get up on its feet.

The rider completes the event by picking it up and flipping it. He then ropes three of the calf’s legs and throws his hands up in the air that he is done. The clock is stopped, but the official time is not recorded until six seconds are up to make sure the calf is properly tied.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Jackson, Jeffrey "Rodeo: Calf Roping." Rodeo: Calf Roping. 21 Jun. 2010. 29 Oct 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Jackson, J (2010, June 21). Rodeo: Calf Roping. Retrieved October 29, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Jackson, Jeffrey "Rodeo: Calf Roping"

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