The Best Calf Ropes for Beginners: A Guide to Calf Roping Gear
Purchasing your first set of calf roping supplies is an exciting foray into the rodeo world. You'll want to start your journey with the best calf ropes for beginners and other high-quality, durable calf roping gear to help you become a proficient roper. With the right tools, you'll improve your livestock handling skills, whether you're working on your ranch or performing in a competition.
How Do I Start Roping Calves?
Ideally, you want to start practicing on the ground and then work your way up to roping calves from a horse. With the stability of starting on a stable surface, you can focus on perfecting your aim and swing. Roping for beginners often involves the use of a practice dummy calf head positioned on a hay bale.
Once you have built up your roping skills, move on to timed drills. Try challenging yourself by repositioning your feet and taking a step or two farther back from the dummy. By shifting your feet while you swing, you're training yourself to adapt to all the aspects you'll encounter when roping a live animal from the back of a horse.
If your dummy is mechanical or has swinging hind legs, you can now start practicing and improving your timing. Once you feel confident in your technique and timing of swinging the rope smoothly at a consistent angle, you are ready to begin practicing on the dummy from a horse.
Factors for Choosing Beginner Calf Roping Gear
New ropers will want to begin practicing with durable, yet lightweight calf ropes from the start. As you improve your skills, your calf roping gear will change to accommodate your increasing skill level.
Beginners should consider the following calf rope qualities:
- Rope length: You'll want to start with a rope that is between 25 and 35 feet long, ideal for both children and adult beginners. We recommend you start with a head rope with a length of between 30 and 32 feet.
- Soft feel: Also called the "lay," the softness of the rope is crucial to roping for beginners. You want a soft rope to begin learning with; the harder the rope, the more challenging it will be to work with. A rope that slides smoothly is preferable.
- Diameter: A calf rope's diameter is measured in millimeters. Beginning ropers should start out with a three-eighths-inch rope, also known as "true" or "full."
Selecting The Right Material For Calf Ropes
In addition to the length, feel and diameter, beginners will want to pay close attention to the material from which the calf rope is made. We'll look at three popular beginner's calf ropes: polygrass ropes, poly calf ropes and syngrass ropes.
- Polygrass Ropes: Poly grass calf ropes are designed to be very durable with little stretch while still having a great grass feel to them. However, the stretch will still be affected by the weather. Humidity will result in more 'give' whereas colder temperatures can cause the rope to feel stiffer.
- Poly Calf Ropes: These ropes are the most well-known in the calving industry and feature low stretch poly fibers woven around a solid braided core. They are popular among beginners, and professionals appreciate their speed and longevity. Poly calf ropes come in two types: polyester and polypropylene. The polypropylene rope has a lead core, so beginners may not want to start with this type.
- Syngrass Ropes: Syngrass ropes are similar in look and feel to poly grass calf ropes, but are made from synthetic materials treated with a special blend of oils to give them more body and a different feel.
What Are Breakaway Ropes for Beginners?
Breakaway calf roping is a variation that involves roping calves without throwing or tying them. This is becoming a popular rodeo event and sport featuring a calf and one mounted rider.
Breakaway ropes for beginners and professionals have technologically advanced fibers that allow the loop to stay open until landing on the intended target. These ropes typically feed fast and easy. Breakaway ropes are usually shorter than other ropes, and many breakaway ropers often cut their ropes to customize them to their preferences.
NRS Has A Huge Selection Of Calf Ropes For Beginners
As the #1 Western store in the country, NRS ensures every product in our store stands up to our rigorous standards. We have a huge selection of high-quality calf ropes for beginners, along with calf tying equipment, from the most popular brands in the business. As a beginning roper, you can concentrate on mastering your roping skills and let NRS supply you with the right gear to get you started. Our customer service is available seven days a week to walk you through our selection of calf ropes and supplies.