By BERNARD S. MASON
1. Hondas Used on Catch Ropes.
A & B-Method of Tying the Lariat Loop.
C-Wire Added for Protection Against Wear and to Increase Weight.
D-A Metal Half Honda Used for Weight.
I sat for an hour in my room the other afternoon watching a boy trying to rope an
old packing box out in the alley behind our house. The poor fellow did not know the first
principles of handling a lariat and his efforts to snare the box with the old clothes line
he was using were pathetic.
Finally I took pity on him and went out with my ropes and showed him the inside on
the trick. A day or two later I saw him out in the same alley, this time with a brand new
rope, which he was dropping on the box quite regularly.
The trouble with this boy in the beginning was largely in his rope: the best roper
in America could not have done much with the old clothes line he was using. Just any rope
one happens to pick up will not make a lariat. Trying to use the clothes line has
discouraged many a boy and girl ambitious to become a roper. For throwing, secure 35 feet
of new Manila rope, 3/8 inch thick, at any hardware store. There are other types of rope
used in roping (See Chapter IV), but there are none of them
suitable for a beginner to start practice with. The 3/8 inch Manila rope is the ideal
practice rope. Buy one. Splendid ready-made Manila lariats are on the market, but be sure
you specify 3/8 inch.
Tie a lariat loop at one end, forming the eye or "honda." To do this, a
simple overhand knot is tied as in Picture 1, Figures A and B, and the end passed through
as indicated by the arrow. Study the photographs carefully and you will get the method.
The eye thus formed should be from 3 to 4 inches long. Tie an overhand knot on the end to
prevent it from pulling out. Jam the whole knot as hard as possible. Now pass the other
end of the rope through the honda and you will have a lariat, or lass-rope, or riata, or
soga, or just plain rope as those who use it frequently are most prone to call it.
"Lasso" is seldom used as a name for a rope; it is a verb and refers to the act
of throwing a rope. "Lariat" comes from the Spanish "La riata."
No, you do not need a metal honda on the throwing rope. That is the mistake so
many beginners make. Such a heavy honda would render the rope practically useless for our
purpose. After one has become a good roper and wants to weight his rope on the end for
certain uses, he can easily do so by winding a little wire around the honda. Brass hondas
have their use but not on throwing ropes of this type. Many a horse has had his eve
knocked out with these heavy metal hondas, and many a boy has injured his playmate with
A still better honda than that obtained by the lariat loop described above can be
made by doubling the end back and splicing it there with an eye splice. This is much less
common than the lariat loop, however, due probably to the fact that few cowboys know how
A little wire wound round the end of the honda as in Figure C, Picture 1, prevents
wear, as well as adding a little weight, which is often desirable.
Bill, who was a little shaver in camp and just learning to rope, foolishly sank
the noose of his lariat over the head of one of the camp's peppy young riding horses who
wasn't used to ropes, cowboys and such things. No sooner had the noose settled than the
colt's heels were up in the air and he was off across the pasture field with the
unfortunate and much dazed Bill dragging on the ground behind him.
What happened was that the knot which Bill had tied on the "home" end of
his rope to prevent it from unraveling had caught somewhere in his short or belt or top
part of his trousers (he doesn't know yet just where, nor how) and before he realized what
was happening he was on the ground and bounding his way over the bumps. Being the little
fellow that he was, his weight furnished little resistance to the frenzied horse, who tore
most of the way around the circle of the "ranch" before Bill was able to
disentangle himself from the rope.
The mistake Bill made was in putting the knot on the end of the rope. Knots have a
habit of doing such things. What he should have done was to lash the end with a piece of
twine. Had he been on horseback the knot might have caught somewhere in his saddle or
trappings and both he and his horse given an unexpected upset.
The Wind-Up Throw
How to Spin a Rope