Connect with us

Thai Life

All tied up: The art of cowboy rope tricks

Published

 on 

PHUKET: With more people on the planet, nearly infinite methods of communication and a travel culture that sees people from all walks of life turning up in the most unsuspecting places, there is no telling where you might find influences from foreign cultures.

For example, if Phuket entertainer Manoo Suwanmaneesilp hadn’t somehow gotten the chance to see old black-and-white westerns from the US when he was a kid, it’s unlikely he would have adopted his cowboy persona “Mike Roper”.

With a drastically different landscape than the American West, and lacking the history of a strong beef and cattle market, cowboy culture can seem a little out of place here in the Land of Smiles. But that hasn’t stopped some Thais from becoming enamored by cowboy culture and adapting some of the wild west into their own lives.

One thing Mike saw in those old cowboy movies that struck a chord with him was the creative and nimble rope skills that the wranglers of the west developed to be able to do their jobs, and eventually elaborate on to show off. And if his name didn’t give it away already, Mike has, to an extent, aligned his identity with that of the rope-slinging kings of the west.

There is no lasso school in Thailand, and certainly very few individuals who have figured out how to perform these difficult tricks, so Mike has been on his own, “I’ve learned it over five years. I learned it myself,” says the unassuming 73-year-old.

However, there is only so much that can be deduced from old cowboy movies, so Mike did the logical thing.

“The first time I saw it was in a movie and then I started practicing – then I started learning more from the internet.” Is there anything you can’t learn on the internet?

Not only does Mike have an arsenal of rope tricks that he has been perfecting over the years, he has done his research and learned the history of the tool turned sport, “It is the hallmark of the Mexican cowboy, and later on it spread to North America and Canada.”

Believe it or not, Mike isn’t the only cowboy enthusiast in Thailand. In the north, about two hours from Bangkok, is Chokchai Farm, a popular weekend getaway for Thais and a type of informative museum on western cowboy culture. Although he would like to, Mike has yet to make the pilgrimage to this little slice of west in the east.

Mike is keen on sharing his skills with others, he is not only available for hire for entertainment at restaurants, clubs and parties, but he is also willing to teach his hard-earned skills to those who are interested in carrying on the lasso tradition.

To learn takes considerable patience and many don’t have the nerve to continue, “I used to teach my nephew, but finally he surrendered,” exclaims Mike.

Lasso is much more than swinging a rope around and tossing it over something. You must know the types of rope to use which need to be a certain thickness and stiffness as well as the appropriate knots to use.

When asked if it is a skill someone can learn if they pick up a length of rope, Mike simply stated, “No, if you don’t know the technique, you cannot do it.”

Interested in learning rope tricks or would like to hire Mike Roper to demonstrate his abilities at an event? Contact him at 084-447 5257 or email at mikeroper2003@gmail.com

— Jeremie Schatz

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

What you get for $X12 hours ago

What $100,000 buys you for a condo in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samui and Hua Hin

Thailand14 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Activists plan protests all across Thailand

Thailand15 hours ago

Snitching on parking space hoggers could earn you 5,000 baht in Thailand

Sponsored22 hours ago

10 Best Seed Banks that Ship Cannabis Seeds Discreetly to You (Free US Shipping)

Weather15 hours ago

Storm Noru weakens from typhoon to depression as it moves across Thailand

World15 hours ago

Suicide bombing in Afghanistan hits students preparing for exam

Politics16 hours ago

BREAKING: Prayut reinstated as Prime Minister of Thailand

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Technology16 hours ago

What role for Thailand in China’s great European EV invasion?

Cambodia16 hours ago

Cambodian delegation in UK to seach for stolen treasures

Thailand17 hours ago

20 baht notes printed with errors, says Bank of Thailand

Crime17 hours ago

Loan shark bombs debtor’s house in southern Thailand

Thailand18 hours ago

Thai researchers develop flood-resistant rice strain

Press Room18 hours ago

Southeast Asia’s hospitality leaders step into the ring to fight for sustainability at PHIST 5

Crime18 hours ago

Horrified relatives attempt ID of disfigured suitcase victim

Travel18 hours ago

Things to do in Bangkok that cost next to nothing (2022)

Travel19 hours ago

5 best spa treatments in Bangkok to pamper yourself this September – October

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending