Tie-down roping requires more than quickness and accuracy with a lasso, it also requires the contestant to be an experienced horseman and a fast sprinter.
The calf is allowed a head-start out of the chute, which is determined by the size of the arena. At the advantage point, the barrier is released and the contestant takes off in pursuit of the calf.
The horse is trained to come to a stop the moment the rider throws his lasso and catches the calf. The cowboy then dismounts, runs to the calf and throws it by hand, also called "flanking." If the calf is not standing when the roper reaches it, he must allow the animal to stand before flanking.
After the calf is flanked, the roper ties any three legs together with a pigging string - a short looped rope he clenches in his teeth during the run.
If the calf kicks free within six seconds, the roper will receive "no time."
- 10 seconds added to time for breaking the barrier
- "no time" for missing the calf
- $100 fine for jerking the calf over backwards