Two-time National Finals of Breakaway Roping qualifier Shelby Boisjoli leaves the box with a noticeable first swing. Here, she explains how her rope mechanics make for a more powerful and efficient delivery.

I get a lot of people complimenting me on my swing. I’m able to rope calves no matter where they are—if they are out in front of me, up close, left or right. I feel like I’m able to get a lot of coverage.

If you try and point it at the calf on the first swing, then you have to try and get power on the second swing and you’re trying to throw on the third swing. You have to have the power already on the sec­ond swing so that you can aim it at your target. I feel like pointing your first swing at the calf could be a mistake, but a lot of girls have perfected it.

First Swing With Shelby Boisjoli
RC Photography

The Basic Elements of The Breakaway Roper’s Swing

I don’t necessarily try and point my first swing at the calf because l feel like that kills off your momentum when you’re try­ing to break your first swing over. I try to swing my whole arm around my head so I can get power on my first swing. Then, on my second swing, all I have to do is bring it down to the calf because I already have the power there.

Boisjoli Crowned Women’s Rodeo World Championship All-Around Cowgirl

I just bring my rope up and try to get my first swing off as big as I can and get a full swing off so that on my second swing, I can get a hold of my rope and bring my rope co my target.

Up and Ready: Chace’s Secret to the First Swing

I use a big loop and a big swing. The loops that I throw, my curl comes up and over every time. l let my rope work. I don’t choke anything up on my rope. I keep everything fluid and get a lot of coverage and keep it smooth and follow it to the neck every time.

BONUS TIP: Shelby Boisjoli uses her first swing as well as her body position out of the box to be so hard to beat in the breakaway. For her strategy on getting to the front of the saddle, visit

Listen to Shelby Boisjoli on “The Breakaway Breakdown” podcast