Official Rules

See also: Rider Rating System | Official Classes


 Ranch Sorting is composed of a two-rider team sorting 10 numbered cattle 0-9. Producers can add up to a maximum of 3 unnumbered cattle for a total of 10 or more cattle at their discretion. A Run starts with the team members on the opposite side of the start line from the cattle.

One or two equal sized pens with be used for back and forth or one-way sorting at the Producers discretion. The opening between the two pens will be 12’ to 16’. Recommended sizes of the two pens should be 50’ to 60’. Pens must be of equal size if sorting back and forth. If sorting one-way the sorting pen must be between 50’ to 70’ and the catch pen must be a minimum of 35’. If using the square pens as opposed to round pens all corners must be rounded to a minimum of 45 degree angles.


Cattle will be settled on sorting side of the start/foul line prior to run at the judge’s discretion.


The Announcer (clock) will draw a number, which will determine the first cow to be sorted. The cattle will then be sorted increasing in sequence from the number.


The Judge will raise the flag when the cattle are ready and the announcer will announce when riders should start their run. The Judge will signal the beginning of the run by dropping the flag when the nose of the first horse crosses the start/foul line and the first number to be sorted will be announced or when the thirty (30) seconds between teams has expired. Riders are committed to the herd once they cross the starting line and no re-rides will be given because the ‘luck of the draw’ will apply.


The cattle must be sorted in number sequence. If any part of the cow crosses the start/foul line prior to time expiring or all 10 numbered cattle being correctly sorted across the foul line or any part of a sorted cow re-crosses the foul line, a disqualification will occur.


Any cow not entirely across the start/foul line prior to the final buzzer sounding will not be counted.


All teams entered will participate in the first go. The second (final) go will consist of up to the top 10 teams. With more than 60 teams entered, 20 teams may participate in the final go or a Semi-Final/Final format may be used at the Producers discretion. Judges will use lap timers.


The highest number of cattle sorted in the least amount of time will determine the order of finish.


Sorting Cattle in two rounds does not supersede sorting cattle in one round unless there is a tie on the number of cattle sorted.

                Example 1: Team 1: Round 1: 3 cows @ 52.42

                                              Round 2: 3 cows @ 43.54

                                               Total:       6 cows @ 95.96

                                  Team 2: Round 1: 7 cows @ 57.90

                                               Round 2: No time   60.00

                                                Total:  7 cows @ 117.90

                       Team 2 wins


                Example 2: Team 1: Round 1: 3 cows @ 52.42

                                              Round 2: 3 cows @ 57.54

                                             Total:       6 cows @ 109.96

                                 Team 2: Round 1: 6 cows @ 38.52

                                             Round 2: No time @ 60.00

                                                   Total:  6 cows @ 98.52

                          Team 1 wins


No entries will be accepted after a class is drawn.


No substitutions will be allowed after a team has made their first run, except in an emergency, at the Judge’s discretion. If one member cannot complete a run, the remaining team member may elect to finish the run by him or herself. No rider less horses may be used in place of another rider.


A rider may not enter more than 6 times per class and must change at least one member of their team for each entry and there is a maximum of 4 rides per horse, per class.


*Starting in 2012: two partners may enter the OPEN CLASS ONLY up to 3 times together as long as both partners change horses for each entry (standard NSCHA rules still apply that no horse may enter a class more than 4 times and no rider may enter a class more than 6 times)


All participants must be NSCHA members. Non-members are not allowed to compete in NSCHA sanctioned competition.


If a team has a dispute about a run, a protest to a Judge must be lodged before the team leaves the pen. The Judges and Area Director must confer and agree on a decision. If the dispute is sustained, the team will be given a re-run.


Western apparel is required, including a cowboy style western hat or helmet, no ball caps. Women may elect to wear cowboy style western hat, helmet or no hat at all. Attire must consist of long sleeved western or button down shirt and western jeans. Chaps, chinks and vests are approved attire. *Judges may waive the attire rule according to excessive weather conditions, such as extreme heat, wind or cold.


A one second penalty will be assessed to the team with a rider not complying with the western apparel rule. A one second penalty will be assessed to any rider who loses a hat in the ring.


Absolutely no profanity will be allowed in the show pen. There will be a one second penalty assessed to the team if profanity is used before, during or after the run while riders are in the show pen.


Whipping a horse in any way in the show pen will result in a no time/disqualification.


Roughing the cattle, including kicking or hitting a cow in any way will result in a no time/disqualification.


Decisions of the Judges are final.


Effective June 1st 2013

Every NSCHA Class will include a Mandatory Draw.  Riders entering any class will place at least oneentry into the draw, but are able to enter the draw up to the class ride limit.


The NSCHA reserves the right to address and alter rules, by committee vote, during the show year.

Up Coming Events

Sat Mar 14, 2015 @ 8:00AM -
Circle C Productions Pleasant Plains AR
Sat Mar 28, 2015 @ 8:00AM -
Gaston 7 Cross Ranch Caledonia MO
Sun Mar 29, 2015 @ 8:00AM -
Gaston 7 Cross Ranch Caledonia MO
Thu Apr 16, 2015 @ 8:00AM -




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