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Calf roping is still practiced on the ranch today and is cruelly imitated in the rodeo.
On the ranch, it is usually a humane affair. Calves are gently roped and brought to a stop slowly. In the rodeo, where speed is essential, calves are quickly roped, jerked to a sudden stop, and thrown to the ground. Competitors then slam the calf into the ground a second time so they can tie their legs.
This violent entertainment, using 3-4 month old calves, is very different than the calf roping on the range where animals are roped to keep them from danger. Horses used in the rodeo are specifically trained to keep the rope as tight as possible so the calf will not escape, sometimes dragging it through the dust.
Calves race out at up to 27 miles per hour to escape the severe tail twisting they receive to make them bolt as quickly as possible. When roped, they are sometimes airborne because of the speed they are travelling and the force with which they are jerked to a halt. They often suffer injuries including broken and fractured bones; throat, neck, and spinal cord injury; paralysis; and death.Print this page