The Lariat

3.5" x 5.5" (9 x 14 cm)
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by Oren Arnold Down a canyon runs the yearling bull. "Get him!" the ranch boss yells. Horse hoofs beat a wild tattoo. A rope is ready, a loop is made - Swish, swish, throw! The lariat darts out with incredible speed and accuracy. Thumps, snort, the bull is tied; in 10 minutes it is branded, doctored, ready for the range, and in a few months is ready for your table. That lariat (from Spanish, la reata) is the cowboy's No. 1 tool, and next to his horse, his No. 1 love. Without it he feels naked. Borrow his saddle, steal his money, even kiss his girl, but if you take his rope you are in for trouble! Called lariat, lasso, lass rope, or string, it is 30 to 40 feet long and about 1/2 inch thick, made of hemp or sometimes of linen, rawhide or maguey. It is used almost every minute of the cowboy's day, often as a weapon, always with astonishing skill. Without this lariat, the great cattle industry would not have been possible. Thus it has been of tremendous importance to modern civilization, helping create our American way of life

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