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Breakaway Roping

Breakaway roping is a rodeo sport that involves riding a horse a while attempting to capture a calf with a rope. At the beginning of the competition, the calf is given a head start before the participant on the horse is released into the ring. The main objective of this sport is to throw a circled end of the rope (a "lasso") around the calf’s neck and stop the horse immediately to tighten the rope against the movement of the calf. Once the rope is tightened, the string attached to the rope breaks, which concludes the run. As this is a timed competition, the fastest time wins the competition.

Is this activity known by any other names?

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What are the origins of the activity abroad and in Canada?

Rodeo sports developed from cattle ranching tasks in the western United States. These sports became professionalized in the late 1800s as several major competitions, including the Calgary Stampede, were established. Their popularity has grown recently in the GTA, with upwards of 50 rodeo events taking place over the calendar year. Breakaway roping competitions, specifically, have existed since at least the 1960s in the United States, from where they quickly spread to Alberta and then other parts of Canada as part of rodeo tours.

Who takes part?

Males and females of diverse ages, although many participants are white females. Historically, breakaway roping was designed as a female event to complement the predominantly male event of tie-down calf roping.

When does it occur / How often do you take part?

Rodeo competitions occur throughout the year. The Ontario High School Rodeo Association hosts several competitions throughout the school year. The Ontario Riding Association hosts professional and amateur rodeo events on a monthly basis. Professional rodeo circuits also host events in the GTA area occasionally during the year.

Are there any organized clubs, groups, organizations or leagues?

The Ontario High School Rodeo Association; Ontario Rodeo Association; Canadian Rodeo Association

Cultural Significance

While rodeo sports do not hold cultural significance with specific ethnocultural groups, these activities and their associated “cowboy culture” can be viewed as symbolically important in some rural Canadian communities.

Is there anything else we should know?

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