Sorting Rules

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Below are the CTCPA Recommended rules that govern Team Sorting.:

1.      The Object of Ranch Sorting

The basic concept of Ranch Sorting is that there are ten cattle numbered 0-9, and two unnumbered cattle (for a total of 12 head) at the beginning of a run behind a foul line with two people mounted on the other side of a foul line. A number is called and the cattle are sorted in numerical order beginning with the assigned number. The most cattle sorted in the fastest time wins.

2.      Sorting Pens

Ranch Sorting will take place between two pens of approximately equal size with show management’s option of working cattle back and forth or only one way. Two ranch sorting arenas may be placed side by side with odd numbered teams in one arena and even numbered teams in the other arena. If cattle are to be worked back and forth, they need to be moved to the opposite pen and back before each new herd entering the pen is worked. Recommended sorting area is to be 50-60 feet in diameter with no 90 degree corners, i.e. 60 foot round pen or octagonal “stop sign” design. (See diagram below)

Sorting Pen Diagram

 3.      Gate Opening

The start foul line is recommended to be a 12 foot opening between the two pens.

4.      Time Limits/ Time Clock

There will be either a 90, 75, or 60 second allotted time limit for each class, at the option of show management. The official clock will be the electronic display clock-split timer set at .01 seconds past the maximum time designated for the class  I.E. 60.01 seconds. The official time of each run is determined by the amount of time used until all 10 cattle are sorted or the time limit has expired. Should a split timer function not be available then astop watch with a lap timer will be used and will also be the backup timer in the event of a malfunction of the electronic display clock. Lap times are cumulative in multiple go round events as well as the number of cattle sorted, but do not replace the official time of each run. Lap times only come into play when the cattle counts and official times are identical.

5.      Judges

There will be one judge (and one split timer should an electronic display clock not be available) on the judge’s stand positioned evenly with the foul line.

6.      Starting the run

All cattle must have approved back numbers, and will be bunched on the cattle side of the gate within the designated area. The judge will designate the need to bunch the cattle.

The judge will raise the flag to signal when the arena is ready. The flag will drop when the nose of the first horse crosses the start/foul line and the announcer will immediately provide the number to be sorted first. Any delay in crossing the foul line may result in a “no time” for the team. Teams delaying in entering the arena within a 30 second time limit between teams will be disqualified (unless waived for good cause) from competing in that class for that day and will forfeit their entry fee.

The order of sorting is determined by picking a random number by the Announcer/Timer and that cow must be sorted first. For example if # 6 is drawn then # 6 must be sorted first then cow # 7, #8, # 9 and so on. A cow is considered sorted when the entire cow is completely across the start/foul line. If any part of a numbered cow crosses the start/foul line prior to its correct order then the team receives a no time. Note: in the situation where more than one cow are sorted at the same time i.e.(pair’s) then cow #6 must start first and clear the plane of the gate before the tail of cow # 7. If any part of a sorted cow re-crosses the start/foul line the team will be disqualified. If any part of any unnumbered cow crosses the foul line before the tenth cow is cleanly sorted it will result in a no time.

7.      Roughing

Includes but is not limited to running over cattle with horses, stepping on cattle while in pursuit, running through the herd in such a manner that cattle are knocked down or off stride, horses consistently biting cattle, and entering the pen with such force that the cattle jump other cattle , leave the arena or collide with the back pen panels.

8.      Re-Ride Situations

 A.     If there is a malfunction of the pen or a numbered cow jumps any fence and leaves the arena or ends up in the opposite pen, but did not pass through the gate, it will result in a re-ride for the team immediately providing it was not caused by roughing of the cattle. In the instance of a re-ride, the competitors will receive a full 90, 75, or 60 second clock but their time cannot be improved. However the number of cattle sorted in the allotted time can be improved. Example: If a team sorted 5 head in 55 seconds (with a 60 second clock) when the cow jumped the fence, they would get a re-ride with the full 60 second clock. In the re-ride the same team sorted 10 head in 50 seconds. Their official time would be 10 head in 55 seconds.

B.      Should a herd be numbered incorrectly or have too many or too few non-numbered cattle, only the team that is in the arena at the time the error was discovered will receive a re-ride. The re-ride will be done immediately without any time penalty.

C.      If a team is given a number that has already been used within the same herd, a rerun must be given immediately using the correct number within the same herd.

D.     If a team observes an unfit, injured or unidentified animal before committing to the cattle, the team must notify the judge. Once the team has crossed the foul line and the flag has been dropped no re-ride will be granted. Luck of the draw will apply.

E.      In the event a team rides out of order, their time and number of cattle will stand. No rerun will be given for the teams riding out of order. Once the problem is identified the next teams will be placed in the proper arena and follow the order as posted.

 9.      Must Sort Clean to Advance

In multiple go rounds teams must sort cleanly with a time to advance.

10.  Calculating Placing by Clean Sorts

Teams that sort in three goes, place higher than teams sorting in two goes; teams sorting in two goes place higher than teams sorting in one go, no matter how many cattle were sorted or time accrued.

 11.  Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Unsporstsmanlike conduct by a team and/or rider may result in disqualification. Unsporstmanlike conduct is defined as abuse of one’s horse or cattle, excessive use of foul language, intoxication in the arena or on the grounds or any other conduct felt to be detrimental to the sport of Ranch Sorting. Abuse of ones horse may include but is not limited to excessive jerking, spurring, whipping, slapping or kicking, or riding a horse that is visibly lame, sick or emaciated. Unsportsmanlike conduct may also be levied against a rider showing disrespect to a Judge or Show Management. Any rider who shows disrespect to officials and is awarded an unsportsmanlike conduct will be disqualified for that day of competition and all entry fees for the day will be forfeited.

12.  Spotting of Cattle

Spotting of cattle is not allowed and if blatant spotting occurs the competing team will be disqualified immediately.

13.  Hazing

Contact with or hazing cattle with hats, ropes, reins, bats or romals or any other equipment or apparatus is a disqualification.

14.  Dismounted Rider

The fall of a horse and/or rider shall not eliminate the entry. The rider may remount and continue sorting however,any attempt by a dismounted rider to work cattle before remounting will result in automatic disqualification. Outside help for dismounted riders by anyone other than the team mate in the arena will result in disqualification.

15.  Disputes

Should the team have a dispute about their run they must declare their intention to seek a rerun before leaving the arena through a polite request to the judge.

16.  Ratings 

Current CTCPA Team Penning rider ratings will be used for Ranch Sorting.

 17.  Classes

Sorting may contain any or all of the following suggested classes.

A.     Junior Youth Class

A junior youth team must consist of 2 youth members that are 12 years of age or under as of Jan 01 of the current show year. All junior youth riders must wear a proper helmet. Jr. Youth will have 2 full rounds. Three ride limit.

B.      Senior Youth Class

A senior youth team will consist of 2 youth between the age of 13 and 16 as of Jan 01 of the current show year. Four ride limit.

C.      Open Class

For all riders regardless of their ratings. Four ride limit.

D.     #9 Class

The combined rating of both team members cannot exceed nine. Four ride limit.

E.      #6 Class

The combined rating of both team members cannot exceed six. Four ride limit.

F.       #4 Class

The combined rating of both riders cannot exceed four. Four ride limit.

 18.  Minimum/Maximum Number of Go’s

Show Management has the option of two or three go’s. The following is suggested:

If 50 or fewer teams: 100% to the first go, 50% to the second go, top 10 to the finals.

If 51-100 teams: 100% to the first go, 40% to second go, top 10 to finals.

If over 100 teams: 100% to the first go, 30% to second go, top 10 to finals.

The first and final go’s will be determined by draw. Teams advancing to the second go may be run in reverse order from the first go or alternately slowest to fastest at show management’s option.