What is the proper way to break in a rope?

As a roper, you can significantly add life to a rope. Several things determine how the rope will perform:  temperature, cattle size, age of the rope, and storage are a few factors.  The key thing to remember is ropes are made of nylon and nylon has stretch (elasticity).  So when you rope a steer, the rope “snaps” back.  This happens with each live run.  However, when you rope too many, the rope is unable to bounce back and the loop will “break down.”

The initial “break-in” determines the life of the rope.  If it is 80 degrees or higher, you shouldn’t run more than four steers the first time you use it.  The next time, it will be twice as tough and you can run more steers.  This is why it is important to break them in properly.  If at anytime the rope takes an unusually hard tug, quit it for a period of time and allow it to bounce back.  A rope can easily last 50 runs or more!

First, take the twisties off of the rope and swing it around a little bit.  You should “wake the rope up” a little before you rope a steer.  Do not rope a dummy during the “wake up” process!  Before you rope a steer and get a stretch, the rope is at its weakest state.  Roping a dummy before you set the eye with a stretch is unnatural for the rope and can cause problems.

Only run two, three, or maybe four steers with it the first day.  Remember to straighten the eye after every run and coil it back up and put your loop in it while you wait for your next run.  Do not let the rope drag to the stripping chute after the steer has been roped.  This just adds more stress to the rope that is unnecessary.  When you’re finished roping, straighten the eye and coil it up and put it in your bag.  Some people put the twisties back on the rope, but that isn’t necessary.

After roping three or four steers, the rope can “snap” back and it will be tougher than ever.  What happens sometimes is people run too many steers the first day and the rope can’t recover.  This is where problems are developed with crooked eyes and the rope not lasting long enough.  Remember, the first four steers can help add numerous steers to your rope’s life if the break in is done correctly.  If they are broke in properly, they can last 50 or more runs.

If you don’t happen to have any steers handy, use this method.  Put the rope on a smooth post with the knot up and stretch it with your body weight.  Wrap the end of the rope around your waist and lean back.  Hold on to the end and pull as hard as you can two or three times. Coil it back and set the eye where you want it.  It is perfectly broke in.

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