How To Throw A Lasso

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How To Throw A Lasso

Words by Mr Samuel Muston

6 September 2017

With <i>Kingsman: The Golden Circle</i> out this month, here’s an infallible guide to roping a steer like a Statesman.

The Ranch at Rock Creek occupies 6,600 rolling Montana acres cut through with a pristine blue ribbon of trout river. It is a little Eden in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The owner, financier Mr James Manley, spent 20 years looking for the perfect ranch before settling on this one, close to the Canada border. He was attracted by the lack of venomous rattlesnakes and marauding bears, and its plenty of acreage for cattle. After using it as a family home, he turned it into a 125-guest hotel, but it still functions as a working cattle farm.

So, who better to call upon than a pair of strapping ranchers from Rock Creek to give us a tutorial on that quintessential cattle ranch skill, lassoing? And why, you might ask, are we talking about lassoing in a September issue of the MR PORTER Journal? Well, in their latest cinematic adventure, our Kingsmen have headed to the US to meet their Statesmen counterparts, whose training included the deftest of rope skills.

We asked Messrs Dalen Wood and Jamie Wines, who between them have more than a decade of roping experience, to help us throw the perfect lasso.

Starting with the tail, coil the whole rope up into roughly same-size coils (this makes it easier to carry). Grab the smaller circle – the hondo – and thread the rope through to build a loop that is the same length as the distance from your hip to the ground. This is what you will throw. The point of the rope that is now touching the ground is called the tip. When holding the rope, you should have about 18in of spoke, the strand of rope between your hand and the hondo. You should be holding the coils in your left hand (if you are right handed), have half your wingspan of rope in between your hands, and have the loop in your right hand.

Hold your loop out in front of you so your thumb is pointing forwards, with your hand at belly button level. We’ll call this position A. Position B of a swing is having your right arm over your head with the loop in it over the left side of your body. Your hand, however, should still be on your right. In this position, your elbow is bent with your pinky towards the sky. In position C, your elbow should be forward and flexed with your wrist extended backwards. In position D, your arm is extended in front of your body with your palm facing down. Having your hand turned over is crucial to your swing, otherwise your loop will get twisted. Keep the momentum going until your swing has a smooth rhythm and rotation.

Choose the cow you want to lasso and manoeuvre yourself until you are able to look right in the middle of its horns or its head. When your arm is between position C and position D (see above), start bringing your hand down towards that target and release the loop. In your head, imagine your hand touching the cow’s head right on the target location. It will help you get your loop where you want it to be.

When you release the loop to the steer’s head, you should rope the right horn first and keep pushing your whole arm across your body so your loop travels over and ropes the left horn as well. Your hand should be palm down, elbow extended in front of you, and pointed towards the left horn. A curl in the rope should swing around the back of the left horn to the centre of the steer’s head. This shows that you threw your loop correctly.

After the loop catches the left horn, reach out with your right hand to grab the slack and pull it down to your hip. This takes the slack out of the loop and ensures a good, clean catch around the steer’s horns. And hey presto! You’ve got him. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right first time – with a little practice, you’ll soon get the hang of it. We suggest practising with a fencepost or other inanimate object before you try roping an actual live cow.

Illustrations by Mr Joe McKendry