Roping is a rodeo event that was developed as a result of the jobs that working cowboys actually performed while cattle herding. Roping can either include tie-down roping or team roping. In both events, a critical task is roping the head of the calf. This is a skill that takes a lot of practice. Although there is nothing exactly like roping a live calf, a roping dummy can be useful in developing better aim and muscle coordination, without stressing a calf with hours of practice.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Roping head
- 7.8 m (26 feet) 2.5 cm (1 inch) PVC pipe
- 16 PVC tee fittings
- 4 PVC 45-degree fittings
- 5 PVC 90-degree fittings
- 1 PVC cap
- PVC cement
- Tape measure
- Spray insulation foam
- Safety glasses
Measure and cut PVC pipe for the back of the roping dummy. Using a hacksaw, cut 17 30 cm (12 inch), two 15 cm (6 inch), and nine 10 cm (4 inch) sections of pipe.
Assemble the rear of the back of the roping dummy. Join one 90-degree fitting with a 10 cm (4 inch) section of pipe to one tee fitting. Join this section with another 10 cm (4 inch) section, to a second tee fitting, followed by a third 10 cm (4 inch) section, and a second 90-degree coupling.
Position the fittings for the rear of the back. The 90-degree fittings should be perpendicular to the tee fittings. The tee fittings will be pointing down, and begin the formation of the dummy's back legs, while the 90-degree fittings are the joining for the sides of the back.
Assemble the sides of the back. Insert one 30 cm (12 inch) length of pipe into each of the open ends of the 90-degree fittings. This is then followed by a tee fitting, a section of 15 cm (6 inch) pipe, another tee fitting, another 30 cm (12 inch) section of pipe, and a final tee fitting.
Position the fittings for the sides of the back. Position the tee fittings closest to the rear of the dummy so that the open ends face each other, parallel to the flat plane of the dummy's back. Position the second two sets of tee fittings with their open ends down and slightly outward, so the ends, when extended, will be slightly wider than the top of the back.
Assemble the front of the back. Connect the open tee fitting on each of the sides of the back, with a 10 cm (4 inch) section of pipe, to a 90-degree fitting. Connect a second 10 cm (4 inch) section of pipe to another 90-degree fitting, on each end, followed by another 10 cm (4 inch) piece of pipe, on each end, and a single tee fitting.
Position the fitting for the front of the back. Position the 90-degree fittings joining the sides to the front of the back so the open ends go toward each other, and allow the tee fitting to join both sides. Angle the open end of the tee fitting upward, as this is the connection for the neck of the dummy.
Carefully measure and cut a brace piece for the back. Insert the brace piece into the tee fittings on the sides of the back nearest the rear, that are facing parallel to the flat plane of the back.
Assemble the rear legs. Insert a 30 cm (12 inch) section of pipe into each of the open tee fittings at the rear of the dummy. Connect a 45-degree fitting to the end of each of these fittings, with the end slightly toed-out.
Assemble front legs of roping dummy. Insert four 30 cm (12 inch) pieces of PVC into the four tee fittings on the back, toward the front of the dummy. Connect a tee fitting to each, followed by another 30 cm (12 inch) piece of pipe.
Position the fittings for the front legs of the roping dummy. Position the tee fittings so they face one another.
Cut and assemble front leg braces. Carefully measure and cut two sections of pipe to connect the tee fittings on the front legs of the dummy.
Assemble the sled. At the end of each of the four front legs, attach a tee fitting so that the open ends are positioned forward. Carefully measure and cut a section of pipe to connect the fittings on each side, and then connect a 30 cm (12 inch) section of pipe to each of the open fitting ends, followed by a 45-degree coupling on the end, facing upward.
Assemble the neck of the dummy. Insert a 30 cm (12 inch) section of pipe into the tee fitting at the front of the back.
Glue the parts together. Once all the pieces are fit together, remove one section at a time and glue them together using PVC cement.
Finish the connection for the head. Drill a small hole into the cap to allow the insertion of the post from your purchased roping head. Fill the neck section with insulation foam, allow it to harden, place a cap on the end and insert the head post into the neck.
Tips and warnings
- Dry fit all pieces before gluing them into place. Be sure to carefully measure and mark your PVC pipe before cutting. Once the top of the back is complete, it may be easier to construct the legs and sled with the dummy upside down. If you purchase a roping head with two posts, alter the front of the back to include two tee fittings for two sections of neck to come up and support the head.
- Always wear safety glasses when cutting PVC pipe. Keep the hacksaw out of the reach of children. Always ensure proper ventilation of your workspace when working with PVC cement.
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