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What is Breakaway Roping?

Breakaway roping is a type of calf roping. Learn about this exciting sport, commonly held at semi-professional, college, high school and junior rodeos.


How-To-Set-Up-For-Breakaway-Roping-(FI)Breakaway roping is a type of calf roping. However, the calf is not tied or thrown during the event. This event takes place during a rodeo and features a single person on a horse and a calf. A calf is maneuvered through narrow lanes that lead to a chute that contains doors that are spring-loaded. The rider on horseback will await the arrival of the calf in a box that is located near the chute. There is a spring-loaded rope that is stretched in front of the box. This is called the barrier. There is also a light rope that has one end placed around the neck of the calf and the other is connected to the chute. The calf is released from the chute and at a certain point, the rope tied the calf’s neck will stretch as far as it can go. When this happens, the barrier will release, allowing the horse and rider to enter the rodeo area. This is designed to allow the calf to get a head start. The rider will then start his or her attempt to throw a rope around the calf’s neck as quickly as possible.
Youth Rodeo Break AwayIf the rider succeeds in roping the neck of the calf, he or she will stop their horse. The rope that the rider uses to subdue the calf is tied to the horn of the saddle by a string. Because the calf is running, it will eventually get to the point where it runs out of rope. When this happens, the rope is pulled tight, breaking the string. Once the string has been broken, this means that the run has reached its conclusion. There is usually a small white flag that is connected to the end of the rope. This allows the person operating the clock to easily see the exact moment the run has ended. Obviously, the rider who ropes the calf in the least amount of time wins the breakaway roping event.

Youth Rodeo Break Away

Youth Rodeo Breakaway Roping

It is common to find breakaway roping events being held at semi-professional, college, high school and junior rodeos. When the event is held in rodeos that are run by colleges, all of the participants are women. However, when the events are held at the other levels of competition, both men and women are allowed to compete. Amateur rodeos will frequently have breakaway roping as one of the events in their competition. In certain parts of Europe, it is illegal to hold traditional calf roping competitions. In these places, breakaway roping is used as a substitute.

Living the Cowboy Lifestyle since 1988. CLN Team member since 2012. Arizona native. Corona del Sol High School, University of Arizona & SAE Alumni. Favorite Quote: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." W. Churchill

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