One is in his hand and the other is on the saddle. Each cowboy is allowed to carry two ropes.  If he misses with the first one, he can use another one.  Some cowboys carry only one.  This rider has one in his hand and the second one is tied onto his saddle.
The rope is very stiff. Notice the way he is holding the rope.
     
Around... ...back... ...and forward.  Simple?  No, it takes a lot of practice to get it right.
Look at the positions of the boy's forearm and wrist while he twirls the lasso.

Click any picture to enlarge it.

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