Lee Pitts: Dummy Roping | TSLN.com

Lee Pitts: Dummy Roping

Yes, sirree, it’s your rock ‘em, sock ‘em, double hock ‘em Big Roping Dummy here with the first ever buying guide to ropes, lassos, lariats, and reatas. Here’s all the latest dope on rope.

I’m in need of a new rope so I went to Consumer Reports typed in the word “ropes” and the only thing they came up with were two brands of weed whackers. Suffice it to say, Consumer Reports is lacking in the rope department. To fill this void I gathered up my ropes and retrieved my namesake roping dummy made out of a saw horse and a broken broom handle. Then I put my ropes to a complex scientific test. Here are my conclusions.

Grass Rope: When I was 10 years old my grandpa gave me my first rope which happened to be made of hay. It took me 20 years to master the grass rope because that’s how long it took to get all the kinks and knots out of it. Like my wife, a grass rope can be moody and hates the fog.

It’s been said that a cowboy does everything but eat with his rope and I must admit that my grass rope would make a better fork or spoon than it ever was a lasso. I couldn’t catch a dead steer with it. I did like the price (it was free) and the fact that I didn’t have to make the long walk and back and forth after each toss to remove it from the dummy as I only caught it in four out of 50 tries. In conclusion, I wouldn’t use a grass rope to catch something I intended to keep for very long. And I must say, if I was headed to the George Strait, USTRC or NFR I would find an alternate kind of twine.

Leather Reata: After only a few tosses I could tell my leather reata was far superior to the grass rope. I was so accurate I was a regular roping machine. As hard as this is to believe, my reata seemingly had eyes and I roped the dummy in six out of 24 tries before my reata broke. It was at this point a major flaw became evident: don’t tie hard and fast unless you want two shorter ropes.

Old timers say that a leather reata would outlast five grass ropes but that’s only because the old timers knew how to braid. Another negative is the cost: $300 at antique shops. That’s a lot of money for 30 feet of rope, although granted they often can be stretched to double that length.

Maguey rope: The maguey rope is made out of the fibers of the aguava or century plant, which can also be used to make a delightful liquor. This is good because you’ll need a drink or two if you insist on using one. My maguey ropes are 3/8 in diameter and they cut like a chain saw. I did rope the broomstick horns on my dummy in one out of four tries until the rope cut off the horns at the base of the skull. If you use one of these I’d suggest your use gloves on both hands and I’m talking heavy duty welder gloves. Even then, expect blood.

The maguey rope does have more body and is more consistent… in cutting off an appendage or two. WARNING: I’d put horn raps on my roping dummy, if I were you.

The great trick roper Vicente Oropeza used a maguey rope and I was able to duplicate many of his tricks with my maguey, including the difficult double 8, catching the head and legs in two loops with one rope. The doctor said my deep rope burns should take six months to heal and that the hideous scars may require plastic surgery.

I understand there’s an all new breed of ropes made by Cactus, Classic, King Ropes and others with names like “Shock and Awe” and “Money Maker”. I would be glad to include them in next year’s analysis if the makers would send me free examples of all their fabulous ropes. Postage paid of course. As to what you should do in the meantime… you don’t see Trevor Brazile or Cody Ohl roping with grass, leather or maguey ropes do you?

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Lee Pitts

Lee Pitts: Down At Dirty Harry’s


I am often asked where I get my material to write about. Basically, writers have three options. They can invent a story, which requires a fertile imagination, or they can share their interesting life experiences.…

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