7 Essential Rope-Care Tips Every Breakaway Roper Needs

It's all in the details.

Jackie Crawford Rope Care
Jackie Crawford at the 2023 NFBR. | Jamie Arviso Photo

Breakaway roping is so competitive, that sometimes the difference between first hole and last hole—no matter how big or small the event—is only a few tenths of a second. That means every detail matters, including how we take care of our breakaway ropes. Here are my non-negotiables when it comes to how I take care of and prefer my breakaway ropes to feel.

  1. Breakaway Rope Feel. I’m a big fan of a new-feeling rope. I will use a rope brand new after I’ve stretched it over an older rope that felt good maybe one too many times.
  2. Rope Break-In Process. I stretch the rope, let it sit for a couple days, cut it off and rope the dummy with it twice and then I’ll use it. I wish I could tell you how long I like my ropes, but I just cut them off the same length as the rope I was using before it.
  3. Kick Out. My hondo has to be dead straight. I want the bottom side of my loop to kick out away from me. That way, that rope will want to go on the calf’s rope and figure-eight. One that wants to kick under will open back up over the top of the tail head.
  4. Rope Storage. I like to put my ropes in a bag that’s a little bit bigger. That makes them feel like they keep a little bit more body.
  1. Dummy ropes? I don’t rope the dummy with my good ropes. I keep a rope in the trailer to rope the dummy with me. It’s just one that’s retired out of my rodeo ropes, so it still feels realistic.
  2. Climate Control. When I’m traveling—like in Las Vegas—I want my ropes in my hotel room with me. I don’t like my ropes to have a chill on them.
  3. Done? I can tell my rope is done when it starts breaking in a certain spot rather than keeping a smooth feel throughout the loop. If it feels too limber or is turning over too much, I’m done with it. If it gets fuzzed up enough, it doesn’t feel fast or sharp anymore.
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