The header is behind a taut rope fastened with an easily broken string which is fastened to the rope on the steer. When the header is ready he calls for the steer and the chute man trips a lever opening the doors. The suddenly freed steer breaks out running. When the steer reaches the end of his rope, it pops off and simultaneously releases the barrier for the header. The header must rope the steer around the horns and then take a dally, that is a couple of wraps of the rope around the horn of the saddle. Speed is important and fingers can be lost. Once the header has made the dally, he will turn his horse and the steer must follow, still running.
The heeler waits until the header has turned the steer. When he has a clear way, he throws a coil of rope under the running steer's hind legs and catches them. As soon as the steer is stretched out, an offical waves a flag and the time is taken. The steer is released and trots off. There is a 5 second penalty for roping only one hind leg and a 10 second penalty for breaking the barrier.
The event takes between 4 and 12 seconds for a professional team.