When the calf is released, the cowboy takes off after him, lassoes him and leaps off the right-hand side of his horse in an astounding airborne move. The well-trained roping horse holds the rope taut so the calf can’t get away while the cowboy leans over the 200-pound calf and grabs his legs and brings him to the ground. You can click on the above photo and look really carefully to see that the cowboy has a short rope in his teeth called a “piggin' string” that he uses to tie the calf’s feet together.
The whole thing is over in just a few seconds—the fastest times recorded have been in the 5.7 to 6.7 second range! This kind of roping is called “tie-down roping.” There is another kind of calf roping called “team roping” which I hope to see soon because, contrary to all possible predictions, I have become a rodeo fan.