A calf

A horse

A lasso

A pigging string

Step 1: Find a calf (can be sick, but healthy calves are considerably harder to rope).

Step 2: Find a horse (a healthy one).

Step 3: Give the calf a head start, heel-kick your horse, and begin the chase.

Step 4: Spin lasso over your head with clockwise turns of hand that trace a circle in the air. (Keep the diameter of the circle about six to eight inches; nice and tight.)

Step 5: This is the trickiest part: Ride alongside the calf's flank. With an underhand flick of your hand, toss the lasso. Point your index finger a few inches in front of the calf. (Remember the calf is moving; if you aim directly for the head, he'll outrun your lasso, buckaroo!)

Step 6: Yank the lasso tight. (If you miss, go back to Step 3!) Dismount your horse. Holding the lasso tight with one hand, sweep your other arm beneath the calf's legs to take him down and pin him on his back.

Step 7: With the lasso around the calf's neck and the calf on its back, pull a "pigging string" (which should be attached to your hip) around three of the calf's legs. Weave through the legs like threading a loom. Loop around three times and then bring the lead of the rope under the loops and cinch tight. Then throw your hands up, because you've just roped a calf, pardner!

Though calf roping is a sport involving several complicated steps, the entire action should be completed as quickly as possible. In the 1997 National Finals Rodeo, Jeff Chapman of Athens, Texas, roped and tied a calf in 6.8 seconds to set an arena record. The record still stands in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Warning: The flailing hooves of a calf can crush the skull, causing numerous bruises and cuts, thus possibly instigating a premature death.