Leather Carving – Rope Bag/Can

A cowboy’s rope bag is a multi-faceted piece of equipment. Its main function and purpose is to keep a team roper’s ropes clean, organized, and functional. In an industry where four seconds can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s critical that the equipment used, i.e. nylon lariat ropes, are in pristine condition. Variations in temperature, humidity, etc., have noticeable effects on the ropes a cowboy uses…and a rope in the hand of a world-class team roper is much like a paint brush in the hand of Michaelangelo. Certainly Michaelangelo wouldn’t think of just throwing his brushes in the back seat of his chariot. Cowboys also don’t want to randomly toss the tools of their trade into their trucks or trailers—hence, the invention of rope bags.

However, cowboys have always been known to be show-offs of a sort…especially amongst themselves. From riding the nicest horses to winning the most prestigious buckles, cowboys want their competitors to know where and when they won whichever championship. Consequently, custom leather workers have found themselves in demand to make trophy, hand carved items that other contestants will see, and know that whoever owns the item must have won a major event. Ornate, custom leather rope bags, complete with hand-engraved silver ornaments, are now the next form of “braggin’ rights” at many of the major roping events across the country.

So, the next time you’re at a rodeo, look closely at the rope bags the team ropers are carrying. You’ll soon realize whether the man you’re looking at is a “wolf of the world” or just another ordinary cowboy playing the rodeo game.

Written by Wayne Wlse