RAM NCFR Rodeo Rundown: Tie-Down Roping
The roots of tie-down roping lead back to the days of the Old West. Similar to saddle bronc riding and team roping, this sport was created on working ranches. When a calf was sick or injured, ranch hands would rope and immobilize the calves (for the safety of the animal as well as themselves) before giving them veterinary treatment. Prideful cowboys would boast about how quickly they were able to complete this task, ultimately leading to informal competitions. Not long after, the rest of the country caught up with the doings of the West and the sport of tie-down, also known as calf roping, was born.
In the tie-down event, a cowboy and a horse start in a box, a three-sided fence, just next to where a calf is standing in the chute. When the roper is ready, he will nod his head, letting the chute boss know that he is ready for the gate to open releasing the calf. The calf receives a head start that is determined by the length of the arena. When the calf reaches its advantage point, the barrier is released. If a roper breaks the barrier, the roper is given a ten-second penalty. Once roped, the rider dismounts, sprints to the calf and flanks him, laying him on his side with all four feet pointing out. After the calf is flanked, the roper ties any three legs together with a piggin’ string – a short, looped rope.
Ropers and their horses must be in perfect timing with each other in order to be successful. These horses are trained to stop as soon as the cowboy throws his loop and catches the calf. While the cowboy is roping the calf, his horse must pull back enough to eliminate slack in the rope. When the roper finishes his run, he throws his hands in the air to tell the judge his run is complete. The roper then remounts his horse, rides forward to create slack in the rope and waits six seconds to see if the calf remains tied. If the calf kicks free, the roper receives no time.
In the first round of the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, Haven Meged, a tie-down roper from the Montana Circuit, stopped the clock at 7.8 seconds landing him in the third-place spot. In round two, Haven finished fifth after stopping the clock at 8.5 seconds, which secured a spot in the final eight-man round. Here, he clocked 10.5 seconds, sending him right into the final four! With a time of 7.4 seconds, he secured the win as your 2019 RAM NCFR tie-down champion in Kissimmee, Florida!
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