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Ranch Sorting

Date: Aug 10, 2019
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Before the days of four wheelers, panels, and mechanized chutes, cattle outfits used to measure their mettle by their cowboys’ abilities to cut, sort, and separate steers.

Ranch sorting celebrates traditional skills by requiring modern day riders to demonstrate their herd control skills and horsemanship as they divide and separate cattle.

At the start of the event, 11 cows (10 of which are numbered 0–9, and one of which is left unmarked) wait in one of two adjoining 50- to 60-foot round pens. Two riders cross the 12-foot opening between the two pens, starting the time and signaling for the judge to read out the number of the first cow to be cut.

Each cow must enter the second pen in numerical order, followed last by the unmarked cow. If any cow or part of a cow crosses the line out of turn, the team is immediately disqualified. It takes strategy, teamwork, and stock knowledge.

Ranch sorting, although popular at local levels, did not become an organized discipline until 2007, when its rules were formalized by the Ranch Sorting National Championship (RSNC).

A rider has to know and anticipate how a cow will instinctively move—or, as we say, how to ‘read the cow,’” explains Wolfe. “It’s a skill that comes straight out of the oldest traditions of the West.

Ranch sorting appeals to all levels of horse and rider combinations.

2-MAN RANCH SORTING RULES

  • Time Limit:90 seconds.
  • Settling of Herds:There will be 11 cattle in the arena, 10 with numbers 0-9 and one trash.Fresh herds will be settled for approx. three.Cattle will be settled after each run in the middle or corner of the arena to Judge’s satisfaction.Direction of cattle sorted will be determined by the Judge prior to the start of the first go and will be subject to arena conditions and layout.Each team will alternate direction of cattle sorted in its respective division. i.e. if the first team sorts east-west then the second team sorts west-east.
  • Start:Starting number for each team will be drawn when the team, consisting of two riders, is in the arena.Judge will raise flag when cattle are ready.First rider will cross the foul line within 3-4 seconds as soon as the settlers are clear.The judge will drop the flag and the announcer will give the number to start and the team will continue sorting in numerical order (i.e., 7-8-9-0).
  • Cattle Sorted:Teams are judged on total number of cattle sorted, and on the time.
    • A cow is sorted when the complete cow crosses the start/foul line.
    • If a cow is sorted out of order, it’s a no-time or if any part of the non-numbered cow breaks the start/foul line the team receives a no-time.
    • If any part of the cow crosses back over after it has been sorted, then the team is disqualified and receives a no-time.
    • Each cow will be timed as it is sorted and the clock will be stopped when the 10th cow completely crosses the line.The 10th cow has to be all the way clean.No trash cow (no number) or part of trash cow may be beside the 10th cow when crossing.
    • Cattle in sequence may cross side-to-side as long as the correct numbered cow is a nose ahead.
    • In case of a foul (i.e., cow escapes assuming the cause was not caused by roughing the cattle), the team can ask for a re-ride or accept the number of cattle sorted at the time foul occurred.In case of a mechanical error or foul (i.e., clock not reset), the team has the option of an immediate re-ride or continuing with the appropriate time added onto the clock.
    • Any cow that lays down and stays down interfering with teams ride will result in a re-ride.If a cow lays down and stays down during a run, the team can stop the run place their hands in the air and request a re-ride. If the Judge agrees that the cow was hindering the run, a re-ride may be granted.
    • Any unnecessary roughness to cattle or horses or unsportsmanlike conduct may result in disqualification.Running cattle into fence, any excessive use of a whip, rope, crop, bat or reins anywhere on the horse will be cause for disqualification.
    • Contact with cattle by using hat, whip or rope will result is disqualification.
    • If a team has a dispute with the run protest must be lodged before the team exits the pen.
    • All decisions by Judge are final.
  • Commitment to Cattle:Once committed to cattle by the horse breaking the foul line, the team is responsible for the cattle.It is the responsibility of the team, before working the cattle, if, in their opinion, there is an injured animal in the herd.Once the cattle are worked, no excuses are accepted.
  • Payback: 40% - 50 or less teams & 50% -51 or more teams

** Excludes Youth Class prizes regardless of the number of teams running.

# of Teams

Places Paid

Paid

2 to 10

1

100

11 to 20

2

60,40

21 to 30

3

50,30,20

31 to 40

4

40,30,20,10

41 & over

5

30,25,20,15,10

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