A lasso is a rope with a knot at one end, used especially in North America for catching cattle. It is basically a loop of rope that cowboys use to cast over animals. So, if you are curious about it, know that there are basically four steps to tie a lasso.
The word lasso is both, a noun and a verb. As a verb it means to fling the loop of rope over something. As a noun, it is a tool of rope tied in a special way.
The lasso is a popular tool mostly employed by American cowboys. They call it a lass rope or simply rope. While someone lassos a tip, he says he roped it. The lasso is designed mainly for fastening or catching purposes. It is thrown over an object, secured and then pulled. It is hard to say which generation can claim the invention of the lasso. Like the points of resemblance in old and new world civilizations, the lasso seems to have been invented both, by ancient civilizations and Native American artisans.
A lasso, along with a forcing knife, was an effective artillery in ancient Egypt and Rome for demolishing an enemy. It was finally replaced by a net, which proved to be an easier catch. In the new world, lassos began to be used in America. The Americans started using it when European adventurers set foot in the New World. Soon, they were skilled at lassoing Spanish explorers. Once horses were brought in by the Spanish, the Americans improved their arms skills by attacking on horseback. In Mexico, African slaves used lassos to rope cattle. The cowboys insist that Pecos Bill, a Texas cattleman, invented the lasso to tame the wilder members of the herds.
How to Make a Lasso
Lassos were previously manufactured by using hemp or rawhide. These materials are ideal for this purpose, since they are robust, lightweight and stiff. Rawhide was initially snipped into strips as much as possible. The hide was then half-tanned with the hair. The strips were dipped in water and extended over a block. Next, they were cautiously pulled as tight as possible. Following this, the strips were well plaited into a rope, buried in the ground and kept there for two weeks to allow it to soften. After that, the rope was brought up and again extended over a block by subjecting it to heavy weights. The hair was then trimmed with sandpaper, and the rope was oiled with mutton tallow. Today, nylon or polyester is commonly used on many ranches, for it is cheap and easily available. These ropes are about 5/16 or 3/8 in diameter, and in lengths of 28, 30, or 35 feet for arena-style roping, and ranges from 45 to 70 feet for California-style roping. However, old traditionalists still tend to choose the old materials.
How to Tie a Honda Knot in a Lasso
A cowboy’s equipage is incomplete without a lasso, and so, learning the way to tie a Honda knot in a rope should be a skill in every cowboy. The other names for a Honda knot are a rondo or bowstring knot.
Form a loose overhand knot in the rope. The loop of the Honda knot will be made by the short tail emerging from the knot. So, one has to determine how short or long the tail of the rope should be left to. To make a small loop, the overhand knot should be tied such that there is a short amount of tail left. Similarly, for a large loop, the overhand knot should be tied such that there is a long tail left. The knot should not be made tight yet. Push it slightly to create an opening in it.
Insert the short tail of the rope through the opening made by knocking down on the overhand knot. This will create a loop that will become the starting point of the lasso.
This knot that is formed is called a Honda knot. It should not be completely tight. After having the knot fit closely, shape the Honda with the hands to increase or decrease its size. After the desired Honda knot is done, keep pulling and pushing up the knot. The Honda knot is now ready.
After that, pass the other end of the rope through the loop in the Honda knot to make a working lasso tool. Now, objects can be grabbed by pulling the slack end of the rope.
While tying a Honda in a rope, a knot in the tail of the rope is required to make the lasso last more. This knot is called the stopper, with which the knot will stay intact when subjected to pressure, and the tail of the knot will slide through the Honda.
Lasso Throwing Technique
A lasso or lariat is made of a firm rope, as this firmness allows the noose to remain open when the lasso is thrown. It also lets the cowboy easily open the noose from the animal. The rope is strong enough to be pushed slightly.
If the slack end of the rope is seized and swayed, the stress in the rope will pull the loop in the lasso. For this reason, it is important to keep the lasso wide open while spinning, to and build speed. Hold the lasso as stated below:
1. Hold the loop and the other end of the rope together. This must create an increase in length of the rope between the Honda and your hand. This increased part is called a shank.
2. Aim your index finger down the increased part in the direction of the Honda, for gaining control.
3. Now, swing the rope in a circle on top of your head. Swing it fast so it is not hard to keep the loop somewhat horizontal. However, the swinging should not be too fast to loose control.
4. While releasing the rope, let the loop go on its own, but the rope should be held steadily so that you can tighten your lasso.
5. Once the lasso is around the object, draw in the rope hard. This will pull the slack in the knot by the Honda, thereby seizing the object that has been caught inside it.
A lasso should never be applied on living things unless one is an expert roper. It can lead to suffocation or throat injury. It is also tough to remove a lasso from the target without help.