If you’ve ever watched a rodeo or visited a working dude ranch, you may have wondered: what kind of rope is used for a lasso or lariat rope? Lassos have been used by cowboys for hundreds of years to rope cattle. Today, people use them for trick roping, roping competitions, and managing cattle.
Lassos are available in different lengths and styles depending on what activity you are doing. It takes lots of skill to lasso, no matter if you are roping cattle or doing tricks. However, many people are able to master roping with lots of practice and dedication.
What Kind of Rope is Used for a Lasso?
The word lasso comes from the Spanish word “Lazo” which means tie. Deceptions of lassos were first seen in hieroglyphics of Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. Historians also believe that Huns in Ancient China used lassos as well.
Lassos or lariat ropes have also been used by Native Americans, who were the first to incorporate using them on horseback. From there, lassos have been an icon of the American cowboy.
In order for lassos to be effective, they need to be made out of sturdy, yet flexible material. Originally they would use horsehair or cowhide. Hair ropes were often more popular than cowhide ropes since they were lighter, but cowhide ropes were sturdier and would get fewer kinks.
For modern-day lassos, nylon is a popular material that many people prefer to use. Nylon is sturdy and sustainable, making it a favorite among many ropers. It is stiff, which allows the loop to stay open while you throw it.
Some nylon ropes are braided, which makes them more durable, with many people finding them more comfortable to use. Nylon lassos are often the best option for beginners. They tend to be easier to work with than other materials.
Polyester Lariat Rope
Another popular material used for lassos is polyester. Polyester is durable yet flexible, making it supple to use. It will often be twisted or braided to make it extra sturdy.
Polyester rope is often a popular choice for beginners or children. They are often ideal for tie-downs and team lasso events. If you are wanting to practice your lasso skills in your backyard, they are a great choice.
Hemp Lariat Rope
Though not as common as nylon or polyester, hemp is another material that people use to make lassos. They are a wonderful alternative to traditional horsehair and cowhide. Many people will choose hemp rope is for its strength and durability.
Hemp rope is long-lasting and made from natural material. Though they can be great for those with experience, they are not practical for beginners as they are heavy. Though they take practice to use, many experienced ropers do like to use them.
Maguey Lariat Rope
Maguey, which is agave, is a popular material people use to make lassos in Mexico. Many people prefer to use it for its hard, yet smooth finish. Those who do trick roping often use Maguey ropes.
A Cowboy Tradition
There are several different types of lassos ropers use, each with its own advantages. Every roper will have their favorite rope that uses for lassoing.
What Is A Ranch Rope?
A ranch rope is a type of lariat made for day to day roping on a working ranch. Ranch ropes are designed with traditional working cowboys in mind. The fiber in the nylon ropes is waxed before making the rope. This gives ranch ropes superior abrasion resistance making the rope last a long time. This waxing method also adds just the right amount of weight to the rope that cowhands/ranch hands look for in a ranch rope.
What Is The Difference Between A Calf Rope And A Ranch Rope?
Ranch ropes are intended to be used by cowhands/ranch hands working with livestock as a herd and calf ropes are used when working with a single calf. Ranch roping requires accuracy and the ability to control the movements of the cow/calf in a slow and precise way. It is very rare to see any fast action with ranch roping. While calf roping, (now called tie-down roping) the roper’s full attention is on a single calf. With the calf being separated from the herd, it is necessary to move at a faced pace, so the calf can be roped. When a calf is cut from the herd they will try to get back to the herd as quickly as possible, making the fast pace and quick maneuvers from the cowboy and his horse mandatory. So having a rope that is a bit stiff and can slide quickly through the honda is very important.
What Is The Best Ranch Rope?
When choosing an all-around ranch rope, nylon is the top choice for many ropers. Ropes are now available in a huge variety of different nylon’s that can be custom-fit to meet your exact needs. Nylon ropes let you get the day to day things on the ranch done and you can still have the speed for roping competitions. The best ranch rope will be on the softer side in the heat and become stiffer in the cold. A rope with these qualities is not susceptible to weather conditions, therefore it works great in the rain, snow, cold, and hot temperatures. Nylon ranch ropes are the top choices among cowhands/ranchlands due to the versatility and consistency it provides.
How Do You Break In A New Rope?
To break in a new rope properly the first thing to do is take a few participle throws. You can use a fence post, roping dummy, anything that has a little bit of stability and weight behind it. Doing this will help you decide what changes need to be made to the rope so you can achieve the feel you like. You are going to want to add a bit of flexibility to your rope as well. Stretch your rope by attaching one end of the top to a post and dally the other end on the saddle horn. Stretch the rope by backing your horse until the rope is tight, hold for a few min, and then check to see if the rope has reached the flexibility you’re wanting. Repeat this until the rope has reached the flexibility and feel that is right for you. If your rope feels sticky and is not sliding smoothly, cover the rope with baby powder, Rub the powder in between the nylon braids and creases. This will keep your rope slick and will improve how quickly the rope moves. Now your rope is perfect for you, so let’s keep it that way. Use your rope as often as possible, preferably every day. At the end of each practice session wipe your rope down, remove any mud and dirt, re-powder your rope and shake off any excess, coil and place it in the bag designed to store your rope.