Everyone has their own way to unwind. Freshman Jorden Carter does just that, by going outdoors to practice lassoing.

“I use this as kind of like an outlet,” Carter said. “Some nights, if I can't sleep, I'll come out here just tiring myself out, be up till God knows how long. It's just something that relieves stress. It's a good way for me to have fun.”

Lassoing, or as Carter calls it, “roping,” started off as something he had to do for work on his family’s farm. Now, he gets to do it for fun. 

“It was just something that I wanted to keep doing,” Carter said. “It was something that I felt like could be really grounded here. Especially considering a lot of my other hobbies, like I do a lot of target shooting, shooting plays and things like that. I couldn't really bring that to Elon so, I got involved with roping.” 

While Carter was not able to bring gear to campus for other sports such as target shooting, roping was something he could practice at Elon. Carter has years of experience with competitive lassoing, but others need some lessons to get the hang of it.

“With a lot of practice, you're almost getting better almost by the day,” Carter said. “When you get like that, and then you go into the actual rodeo scene and you get back into that box, when you're in that arena, all thought leaves the mind, and it's just a matter of muscle memory.”

Although he’s used to roping live animals, Carter improvises with a calf dummy he built out of wood at Elon’s Maker Hub.

“I love working with horses and things like that,” Carter said. “I think the more time I spend with the horses, the more I hate people.”

People passing by Smith Residence Hall often see Carter practicing any time of day. He said the activity grabs their attention and they may even want to try it out.

“I love when people come up and ask, ‘Hey, can you show me how to do this, or, ‘Oh my god, hey, that's so cool.’” Carter said. “I love doing that. But I'm also not out here doing it for the fame. I really am doing this for me because it's something I enjoy to do.”

Freshman Alex Lee met Carter when passing by Smith one day. Lee said learning how to lasso was hard but rewarding. 

“I always like a challenge,” Lee said. “It's very cool lassoing and he's going to have to teach me over and over again. But Jorden is just the type of guy to be able to do that. Very patient.”

While it may seem unique to some students, Lee said lassoing is just one way for Carter to bring a hometown hobby to Elon.

“I'm not seeing a lot of people lassoing in their free time,” Lee said, “but I don't see it as any different honestly. I think it's just like another hobby.”

Carter added students shouldn’t get wrapped up in what others think if they want to pursue or practice their favorite hobby. 

“Do what you want to do,” Carter said. “Don't sit there and think that other people are going to judge you for trying something. If you want to try something new, go and try something new. If it's in front of tens of people, dozens of people every single day, it doesn't matter. I mean, in reality, that if you're improving on yourself that’s what matters”