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Karen Knox





Canadian Ranch Roping Association

Established in 2005

Ranch Roping is a rebirth of the roots of cowboy culture. This rebirth honours the Spanish traditions of excellence in horsemanship and livestock handling practices. The sport of Ranch Roping is gaining popularity.

The roping of livestock, whether to catch a stray, brand cattle, or treat sick stock has been a method used for centuries. Ranch Roping mirrors this practical approach to roping and is gaining recognition among ranch cowboys and “pastime“ horse owners alike ... interested in learning better livestock handling skills.

Riders of any skill level and age can compete in this sport provided that they are on a horse that has a little “cow savvy” and is responsive to signals using one hand on the rein in combination with leg and body cues.

The California cowboys, traditionally referred to as Vaqueros, used reata (braided rawhide) ropes and the dally method of roping livestock.  In 1927, artist Charlie Russell described the differences between the Texas cowboy and the Vaquero.  He noted that the Vaquero carried a 60 (and longer) foot rawhide Reata and swung a big loop. He noted that these people “were strong on pretty, using plenty of “hoss“ jewelry, silver mounted spurs, bits and conchas.”

The method of the Vaquero included extra long rawhide braided ropes and soft shots that did not cause the cattle to scatter when they needed to be roped and doctored.  The Vaquero’s methods were different from the cowboys of Texas who’s gear Charlie Russell described as being less fancy, with a rope seldom over 40-ft in length due to working in a lot of bush country and being forced to swing a smaller loop.  This style is similar to the team roping seen in the rodeo arena today.

Ranch Roping competition provided an extra-curricular activity for the ranch rodeo contestants, many of whom traveled from the interior of British Columbia and southern Saskatchewan to attend events organized in conjunction with the Medicine Tree Ranch Rodeo in the late 1990s.

At the same time, other ranch style roping and horse enthusiasts in Southern Alberta began to promote and encourage this style of competition. In 2005 the Canadian Ranch Roping Association (CRRA) was founded by a group of like-minded and enthusiastic ranchers and ropers from Alberta and Saskatchewan.  Using the Northern Ranch Roping rules as a guideline, the CRRA (as a not-for-profit association) appointed a board of directors, established a set of rules and began sanctioning ranch ropings to qualify for an annual finals.

The CRRA's mandate is to promote traditional Ranch Roping that encourages low-stress livestock handling, participant safety with a focus on excellence in horsemanship using both functional and fancy loops.  Each CRRA sanctioned roping must use the rules and regulations of the CRRA and include a novice event to encourage new participants.

Thanks to Denice Stewart for the above write-up.


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