What are these “horse things” that everyone has gone crazy about called Ranch Sorting and Team Penning? It is called the fastest growing equine sport in the United States. Its a sport where the whole family can be involved. But beware, once you start, you can’t stop!

How Does it Work?

Ranch Sorting is a 2 rider team, sorting 10 numbered cattle 0-9 and may have 1 or more unnumbered cattle for a total of 11 or more head. A run starts with team members on the opposite side of the start line from the cattle.

Two pens will be used for back and forth or one-way sorting at producers discretion.The opening between the two pens will be 12’-16’.

A 60 second allotted time limit will be in force for each class.The time clock will remain running until all cattle are sorted or time expires.

Cattle will be moved through the opening & back prior to run at 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 or when the thirty (30) seconds between teams has expired and the first number to be sorted will be announced. 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 a cow crosses the start/foul line out of sequence or any part of an unnumbered cow touches the 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 top10 teams . With more than 50 teams entered, 20 teams may participate in the final go at the promoters’ discretion. All ties will be brought back to the finals which may result in additional teams in the finals.


Announcements at shows will supersede any advertisements. Rules not specified will be generally accepted rules as interpreted by the producer.

No dogs allowed at arenas or barn. No roughing of horses or cattle will be allowed.

No coaching, spotting or pointing out cattle ( such as when to go, turn around, directions) by any person (s) other than team members will be allowed and may result in the team receiving a “no-time”. The reason for this is outside coaching gives coached teams an advantage over teams without coaches. The person coaching may have 1 or more of their teams disqualified and/or be barred from the arena area. If the person coaching is a spectator, they may be required to leave the arena area.

Non coaching cheering is encouraged.

More Rules …

Teams sorting in 2 goes will place higher than teams sorting in 1 go no matter how many cattle were sorted.

No substitutions will be allowed after a team has made their first run, except in an emergency, at the show superintendents discretion. If one member cannot complete a penning run, the remaining team member may elect to finish the run by themselves. No riderless horses may be used in place of another rider.

There will be a number of rides limit in each class and riders must change at least one member of their team for each entry. Riders must draw 1 team & may draw all teams if desired.

Teams should be signed up, using first and last names, before the end of the first go of the prior class unless announced otherwise.

If a team has a dispute about a run, a protest to a judge must be lodged before the team leaves the arena. The judges and arena director must confer and agree on a decision. If the dispute is sustained, the team will be given a re-run.

Decisions of the judges are final.