“Cowboy Craig” Ingram’s tricks in super-slow motion (Video courtesy of PT Brun)

A maths equation for a spinning lasso stunt performed by cowboys and cowgirls has been unravelled.

By studying trick roping as a science, a French physicist has taught himself to lasso like a rodeo veteran.

Anyone can teach themselves the famous “flat loop” by following some basic formulae, says Dr Pierre-Thomas Brun, of EPFL in Switzerland.

He showed off his “cowboy physics” skills at the American Physical Society meeting in Denver

Flamboyant moves include the Merry-Go-Round, the Wedding Ring, and the Texas Skip – considered the most difficult.

But while these loops spellbind our imagination, they also harbour useful mathematical secrets.

“Elastic threads are everywhere in our daily lives – from hair and textile yarns to DNA and undersea broadband cables. Even the honey you pour on your toast,” said Dr Brun who worked on the research with his colleagues, Dr Basile Audoly and Dr Neil Ribe.

“All of these threads twist and coil according to the same equations as the cowboy’s lasso.”

Studying fancy tricks like “spoke-jumping” and the “Kansas Tornado” could actually help us unravel coiling problems which plague industries like yarn spinning.

Trick roping has evolved from a straightforward cattle-catching tool into a performance art form, seen in western movies and at Mexican charreadas – competitions featuring traditional horsemen (charros).

It was made famous by vaudeville cowboy Will Rogers in the 1920s and 1930s.

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