I don’t know what I was expecting when I signed up for a ‘roping’ class offered to Calgary Stampede volunteers. To be honest, I didn’t really give it much thought. I didn’t have much to do that night and another volunteer on the Promotion Committee insisted it would be fun.

This is my first year as a volunteer, but by no means will it be my first Calgary Stampede. Although I’m not a native Albertan, this will be my sixth year enjoying the Calgary Stampede. I’ve been to the rodeo. I’ve seen trick roping competitions and demonstrations. But I didn’t actually think I’d be learning to rope things. Things AND people.

Art untangles his rope and prepares to pass on his roping wisdom.

Sure enough, that’s what we learned. Art and Neville, two of the more experienced ropers on the Promotion Committee, showed us the ropes. Literally. We got to choose from a selection of old catch ropes (not a ‘lasso,’ we learned. Using the term ‘lasso’ is for the most tenderfoot cowboys and cowgirls.) From there, we were taught how to properly hold and handle our ropes as well ask some tricks for making the rope more manageable – the ropes are stiff and tricky to bring back in once thrown out.

Neville shows us how to create perfect loops in our rope.

For the rest of the evening, we got familiar with the rope – we worked on handling and throwing, roping unsuspecting office chairs that didn’t see it coming. At the end of the night we had the option to buy our ropes to take home for practice. And you can bet I did. My goal is to rope some of you critters during the Calgary Stampede parade in July and at Calgary Stampede events coming up this spring and summer. So keep your heads up and watch out.

But first, I need to practice. Lots and lots of practice!

Oh, and one more note – Three months from today is the Calgary Stampede Parade. Get in the spirit this weekend by checking out Aggie Days! Hopefully I’ll see you there!