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Learn About Rodeo

Rodeo 101: How to Host a Breakaway Roping

CLN breaks down the basics of breakaway roping, what makes this rodeo event so fun to enjoy, and what you need in order to accommodate all of the animals.

Rodeos are fun, competitive events that have been a Western tradition for decades, but breakaway roping is one for the books. If you are planning to host a rodeo in your own arena, you may be taking a closer look at all of the events that your facility can accommodate. While some of the popular rodeo events require a great deal of equipment and set-up, other events are easier to accommodate even in a basic arena. When you learn more about how set up for breakaway roping, you may find that this is a perfect option to add to your event schedule.

The Basics of Breakaway Roping

Before you can understand how to set up for breakaway roping, it is important to understand what the event is and how it is performed. This event allows participants of all ages and skill levels to prove their abilities at roping a calf. Unlike more competitive and dangerous events, such as bull riding and steer wrestling, this event involves smaller animals and adds minimal risk to the participant. Breakway roping looks like this. You have your roping box at one end of the arena and a cowgirl on one side. A calf is loaded into the roping chute and when the cowgirl is ready, she will nod her head and the calf will be released. The calf does get a headstart to make it fair, typically your cowgirl will run a few strides and have the calf caught in under five seconds. The trick here is that the rope, “breaks away” from the cowgirl’s saddle, causing no harm to the calf and no harm to the cowgirl. Nonetheless, it is a fun event for participants and attendees alike, and you can add it to your own rodeo event schedule when you learn how to set up for breakaway roping.

What You Need to Host an Event

You will need an area to keep your calves in for this event. This does not need to be a large pen due to the size of the animal, but typically there are several calves that will be used for a single event. Therefore, the pen should be large enough to accommodate all of the animals with plenty of room for them to move around. In addition, you will need a roping box where the horse and mounted rider will depart into the arena from. This is a basic set-up that most arenas can accommodate, but keep in mind that the calves typically will be released into the arena shortly before the horse and rider. This means that the arena gates for the chute and pen should be separate. Then, of course, a good roping set up doesn’t hurt either. If you have alleys from the back to the front of your arena, even better.

Don’t forget your help! You will need plenty of ground help in order to get your calves loaded and out of the chute as well as bringing calves in from their pen to be run. You will also need participants that want to rope, we recommend advertising your event online or posting flyers at your local feed store. Participants can range in age, but you should consider different age groups for competition. This is a fun event that many enjoy, and it is easy to set up with most standard arena layouts and equipment. After you learn how to set up for breakaway roping and discover how easy the process is, you will be ready to add this fun event to your hometown rodeo schedule.

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