Rules and Regulations

Team Penning

Definition - a timed event in which three people, on horseback, sort designated cattle from the herd and 'pen' them in a holding pen. Any three people can make up the team.

Terms - most events will include two-go-rounds; a first go to determine who will qualify for the second go. The coordinator may determine that there be only one go if circumstances require it (e.g. unfavorable temperature/weather, or lack of time/light) and it is announced prior to the start of the penning.

Rules: Team penning consists of a team of 3 riders. The concept is together sort out 3 of the same numbered calves from the herd and put them in the pen on the other side of the arena under 2 minutes. Only the calf with the correct number assigned to the team by the judge can cross the line, any other number will result in a DQ (disqualification). If you only sort off 2 head under the 2 minutes, your time is still valid, but any 3 head penned will override any 2 head penning even if the 3 head penned time is slower than the 2 head. And if 1 head is penned, the time is still good but will be considered a slower time than 2 or 3 head penned.

For example: If a team pens 3 head at 1:49 and the next team pens 2 head at 1:32, the first team with 3 head at 1:49 beats the 2 head. But if another team only gets 1 head at 1:30, the first team with 3 head and the second team with 2 head both beat the 1 head penned.

Set-Up Regulations

The pen shall be 20' x 20' in size and placed 40' from the fence opposite the cattle and centered between the two side arena fences. The entrance to the pen shall be 10' wide and open away from the cattle end of arena with a gate positioned such that it is at a 90-degree angle from the pen opening and must be 16' in length. The gate remains open and must be secure so it cannot be moved. The starting line should be visible and be located between 30% and 50% of the arena length from the cattle end of the arena.

Cattle Requirements

Penning events require a minimum of 42 head of healthy cattle for a competition. (2 sets of 21 head). These cattle shall be marked on each side of their back with numbers that are 8" tall or neck number may be used.

Timing of Competition

The penning event coordinator must run all competitions with a two (2) minute time limit. The penning event coordinator has the option of running progressive timing in the first go-round if unfavorable weather conditions warrant.

  • As each team of three (3) riders enters the arena for their run, the judge will take his/her position at the starting line and raise the flag when the cattle are properly settled and positioned for the start. As they cross the starting line the judge shall drop the flag, the timer will begin their time and the announcer will call out the cattle number and the team will work.
  • Each team will have two minutes to sort from the herd and pen those cattle marked with the number assigned to them. A half time warning will be given.
  • Once sorted, the cattle are to be brought to the holding pen, driven inside and time is called when the nose of a horse is just inside the gate opening. If it appears that time is running out, or the team wishes to pen less than three head (either one or two head) of their assigned number, they may do so by riding the nose of their horse into the pen and raising their arm to stop time.
  • Should the entire body of any rider's horse enter "past'/"through" the pen gate opening (unless instructed to by the judge) that team will receive 10 seconds added to their time. It should be noted that if in the judge's opinion, any cattle are "roughed" (during or after the timed competition) in the pen or pen area, that team may be disqualified.
  • All CNTPA competitions will enforce a "no-trash rule". A team is allows to bring only its assigned three (3) head of cattle across the starting line. If any cattle other than the assigned number cross the starting line before the ending time is called, that team will be disqualified.
  • Times from both competitions are to be added together and places awarded according to the most cattle penned in the least time. No matter what the legal time in a go-round, teams that pen three (3) head will take priority of those that pen two (2) and two (2) head will take priority over one (1) head. No matter the total number of cattle penned, teams penning cattle in both go-rounds will take precedence over those penning cattle in only one go-round.

Team Sorting / Team Penning
Combined time rules

You will have 2 minutes to sort 10 head. Time will start when a rider crosses the line and your number will be called. If not all 10 head are sorted in the time allowed time will be called on the cattle that were sorted. The time for the sort will determine your line up in the call back for the team penning. The time on the team penning will result the winner.

Speed Penning

Speed penning is like drag racing, but with horses and riders instead of cars and drivers. The arena is divided evenly in half. At one end of the arena are 10 head of calves and on the other is where the rider and horse start as well as an open pen. There is no time limit; you just have to beat the rider next to you. Both riders start at the opposite side of the arena from the calves. The judge will announce a number, at that time both riders will race to the calves and sort out only the number the judge had called. Once the calf is sorted, it is then raced back to the opposite side and put in the pen. A flag man will drop the flag when the calf is in the pen. The rider can only pen the calf with the correct number; any other number penned will result in a DQ (disqualification).

2/3 Man Feedlot Sort

The arena will be divided in half leaving a 10'-14' opening. Your team will be given 2 minutes to sort out 10 head in numerical order from one side to the other. Time will start and the number chosen to be called will be announced once the judge drops his flag. This will be determined when the nose of one of the horses pass thru the start line. Once a calf has crossed over to the other side it can not come back; this would result in a disqualification. (Ex. Time will start and the #4 is announced At that time the calf marked with the #4 will be sorted thru the opening to the other side of the arena. Then the #5 will follow and so forth, until all 10 head are sorted across the starting line or until time runs out.

2/3 Man Ranch Sort

For the ranch sort, 2 round pens will be connected with an opening in the middle. 10 head of cattle are on the opposite side of the pen with numbers on them ranging from 0-9. The judge will raise the flag when the pen is ready. The judge will signal the beginning of the run by dropping the flag when the nose of the horse crosses the start line and the first number to be sorted will be announced. The cattle will then be sorted in the number sequence. The cattle must be sorted in order from the number called and in sequence from there.

Competition Entry Fees

Entry fees will vary according to the event being held.

3 man penning or 3 man penning/sort or 3 man sort
$75/team-$10 to organization or host
-$20 to the cattle fee
-$45 to the prize fund

2 man sort (ranch or feedlot) or 2 man penning
$60/team-$5 to organization or host
-$20 to cattle fee
-$35 to prize fund

Speed Penning
$30/person (double elimination)
-$5 to organization or host
-$10 to cattle fee
-$15 to prize fund

*final fees and special event fees might vary
**Additional jackpot money may be collected and paid out.
**A drawpot competition may be added to a penning

Books will close prior to the competition starting.


Competitions will consist of two (2) go-rounds (one long go and one short go) unless, prior to the event, the event coordinator announces the event will be one go. If after the event has begun, the weather is such that two (2) go-rounds is perceived to cause undue stress on the cattle, horses or participants a majority vote of a representative from each team receiving a time in the prior go can change the competition to one (1) go-round.

*Once the competition has started NO team changes can be made and all teams must consist of # riders.

Jackpot Pay-out Percentages

Competitions will pay out according to amount of participants.
**In addition to payout, each rider will receive a show-up point.

Reasons for Re-rides

NUMBER ALREADY CALLED - If a duplicate number is called within the same set of
cattle a re-ride will be given immediately upon point of discovery using the same set of
cattle with the correct numbers. Those re-rides will begin at zero. Re-rides may also be
given for official or mechanical errors or downed cattle. In these cases, contestants will
be given the option to take their time on the number of cattle sorted when the run is
stopped by the official or re-ride immediately with the same number beginning at a time
of zero.
COW LEAVES THE ARENA - At judge's discretion a re-ride or a no time can be given
if a cow leaves the arena. All re-rides will occur immediately using the same numbered
cattle starting at 0 cattle with a new clock. Time can also be given on remaining cattle at
the time a wrong numbered cow leaves the arena.
INJURED CATTLE - Prior to a team crossing the start / foul line the team must notify
the judge of any UN-numbered, injured, or unfit cattle. Once brought to the judges
attention the Judge (not the contestants) will determine whether to correct the problem or
proceed forward. No re-rides will be given once a team has committed the cattle by
crossing the start / foul line. If at the judge’s discretion, a re-ride is given because of UN-numbered,
injured, or unfit cattle the re-ride will occur immediately using the same
numbered cattle once injured, unfit or unnumbered cattle are replaced.

Possible reason the judge would remove cattle:
There will be no re-rides for inconsistent cattle unless the judge and event coordinator agree.
If it is determined by the judge during a set that a cow becomes unfit, then that cow will be replaced but no re-rides for the previous teams will be allowed.

Animal Abuse

Any abuse of cattle or horses (either before, during, or after competitions ends) will result in immediate disqualification! The field/line judge reserves the right to disqualify any team subjecting cattle to unnecessary abuse e.g. forcing cattle violently into a fence, pushing cattle so hard as to make them pile on top of one another or violently run into one another, etc. Visible injury to any animal may result in immediate disqualification, as determined by the field/line judge.

If death or damage to any cattle results from a roughing disqualification it is the responsibility of the rider causing said death or damage to pay for all veterinary/medication costs and/or fair market value of the dead animal. Non-payment will result in that rider being banned from "ALL" future CNTPA events.

Whips, ropes, etc. may not be used to strike cattle. Do not touch the cattle! Hats and other equipment are not to be used for hazing or coaxing cattle in any way; this includes waving, throwing, hitting the cattle, etc.

If any cattle being worked leave the arena (over, under, or through the fence) during competition the team will be disqualified unless the judge determines the exit is not the fault of the working team.

Cattle must be worked from horseback only.

Displays of un-sportsmanlike conduct, including swearing, horse or cattle abuse, and verbal abuse of judges shall be grounds for disqualification and/or immediate removal from the premises.

If there appears to be an injured or unsuitable animal among a team's assigned cattle it is the team member's responsibility to pull up prior to working cattle and ask the judge for another set of cattle or a re-ride. If (after inspection) the judge rules that the cattle in question are 'fit for penning' the team will be given a no-time. Once the cattle are worked, no excuses will be accepted. If team members feel one or more of their cattle are improperly numbered, they must alert the judge immediately for a potential re-ride. If (after inspection) it turns out that the cattle in question are properly marked, the team will be given a no-time.


State Finals

Finals Qualifications

You must have five (5) participation points in order to ride at the State Finals.

Finals Competition
Once final qualifiers are determined, the state championship shall be determined strictly by performance at the final contest. The finals shall consist of one go-round, plus a progressive second go-round. The order for the first round will be determined by drawing for position. In the second (progressive) round, the team with the fastest time from the first round will work the cattle first and the remaining teams will work in order of fastest to slowest times. Teams will continue in this order until six places have been filled and there is no possible way any team can be removed from the top six places. Again, placing will be determined by the total time in both go-rounds and based on the most cattle penned in the fastest time with time in two go-rounds taking precedence.

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