Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Ranch Sorting?

    Ranch sorting is typically a 2-man team sorting 10 cattle numbered 0-9 and 1 unnumbered cow for a total of 11 head.  A producer has the option to add 1 more unnumbered cow. A run starts with team members on opposite side of start line from cattle. 

    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 first horse crosses the start/foul line and the first number to be sorted will be announced. – The announcer will draw a number, which will determine the first cow to be sorted. The cattle will then be sorted increasing in sequence from that number.  If two or more cows cross the line together as long as the nose of the correct number or numbers cross the line first the cattle are considered to be in order regardless of whether they finish crossing in that order. Cows are not counted as sorted until they are completely across the line. Also, if any part of a wrong numbered cow starts across the line it is a no time or if any part of a correct numbered cow starts across the line and then backs out it is also considered a no time

    The cattle must be sorted in number sequence. If any part of a cow crosses the start/foul line out of sequence before the correct cow starts across the start/foul line a disqualification will occur. A disqualification will also occur if any part of a sorted cow re-crosses the start/foul line. Any cow not entirely across the start/foul line will not be counted. The 10th cow must be completely across the line before the blank cow starts across or the team will receive a no time.

  • What is Ranch Sorting National Championships Australia (RSNCA)

    Sorting through affordability and a fair rating system. Our goal is to preserve the heritage and integrity of the ranching lifestyle while providing a family orientated, competitive riding experience at the grassroots level.

  • When was RSNCA formed?

    Ranch Sorting National Championships (RSNC) was formed in the USA in the Spring of 2007 by horse enthusiasts who competed and participated in different equine events and saw its potential within the Equine Industry.

    In Australia, RSNCA 2020, under its newly established entity is an extension of RSNC and is committed to the growth of Ranch Sorting in Australia whilst maintaining the Family orientated environment.   

  • What is the goal of RSNCA?

    To facilitate the growth of Ranch Sorting through promotion and active involvement.

    Provide participants with a supportive, safe & fun family environment.

    We offer all levels of fun and exciting competition for beginners through to advanced. It is such a unique sport where anyone can compete… if you can throw a leg over a horse you can compete!

  • What are the benefits of RSNCA Membership?

    Ranch Sorting is one of the only sports in the Equine World where everyone in the family can compete…and together. It gives everyone the opportunity to compete, win and get the recognition and rewards that in most equine sports are only for the very top competitors.

    Membership until 30th June 2021 is Free!

    Ranch sorting is a timed event, not a judged event. You are rated in a 9 point rating system that is based on statistical performance and not opinion.

    Points are kept on a local and National Level and RSNCA members have the opportunity to compete at the National Finals Held in August annually. Competitors also have the opportunity to qualify and ride at the CINCH RSNC World Finals in Fort Worth Texas, USA!

    Nationally accepted rules established to govern the sport.

  • Why are RSNCA events so popular?

    RSNCA offers a competitive family fun horse sport anyone can afford. The comradery amongst members and also fellow producers is an asset to our sport and provides a welcoming and enjoyable environment.

    You can ride up to 5 times in a class (5 different partners - Pick up to 4 partners & Auto draw 1). Don’t have a partner?.. That’s no problem you can select Auto draws and our unique computer program will find your partners!

    Mandatory Auto pick breaks down social barriers and enables competitors to meet new competitors who they may not necessarily get the opportunity to ride with forming new partnerships and friendships!

    Classes are jackpotted so competitors have an opportunity to WIN cash.

  • Is Winning Attainable?

    Any person that can ride a horse can be competitive in RSNCA ranch sorting. The RSNCA 9-point rating system, combined with the handicapping system, levels the playing field and gives all participants a fair chance to WIN!

    The handicapping system encourages the teaming of skilled sorters with less experienced partners while the Masters classes fee the appetite of the mature competitor.

  • When it says $25 entry fee on the event details, is that per rider or team?

    When the cost on the flyer states $25 per run – this means both the sorter and the gate pay $25 – that’s $50 per team.

  • How do I become a RSNCA Judge?

    To become a RSNCA judge you have to be associated with a producer in your area. Once that association is confirmed by the producer, RSNCA will send you the test to take. When the test has been taken you should ... 

    1. Return your completed test via email: admin@rsnca.net.au
    2. Pay your $25 Judge's Membership fee (only if you are not a current RSNCA member). The office will contact you to arrange payment.
    3. You will be notified within 2 weeks of your results of your test and your information will be posted on the RSNCA Approved Judge's list on the RSNCA website.
  • What are the different Ranch Sorting Classes and who can ride in them?

    #5 to #15 Handicap

    One (1) additional second is given for every number a team’s combined rating falls below the class number. For example, a #3 rider and a #5 rider have paired to ride in the #13 which will be run on a 60 second clock. Their team rating is 8 (3 + 5 = 8); therefore, they will receive five (5) additional seconds (13 – 8 = 5). This team will sort on a 65 second clock (60 + 5 = 65). After the run, those additional seconds ARE SUBTRACTED from the final time. So, if the team sorted 5 head in 63.5 seconds, they turn-in a 58.5 on 5 head (63.5 – 5 = 58.5).

    All Levels Handicap

    In the All-Levels Handicap, the maximum team rating is 18 (a pair of #9 riders). So you could think of this as a #18 Handicap class. Therefore, a team receives one (1) second for every number their rating is below 18. This means that if a #6 rider and a #2 rider pair in the All-Levels Handicap which is being run on a 60 second clock, that team will receive 10 additional seconds (6+2=8) & (18 – 8 = 10) – 10 = 58); they will sort on a 70 second clock. If the team sorts 9 head in 68 seconds, they will turn-in a 58 on 9 head (68 – 10 = 58).

    #14 Ranch Hand Handicap

    In the #14 Ranch Hand Handicap, the maximum combined team rating is 14. The Sorter/Gate Rider must be designated. The Gate Rider may not sort or turn toward a cow to take it out the gate. He can go in the sorting pen to turn back cattle.

    One (1) additional second is given for every number a team’s combined rating falls below the class number For example, a #3 rider and a #5 rider have paired to ride in the #14 which will be run on a 60 second clock. Their team rating is 8 (3 + 5 = 8); therefore, they will receive six (6) additional seconds (14 – 8 = 6). This team will sort on a 66 second clock (60 + 6 = 66). After the run, those additional seconds ARE SUBTRACTED from the final time. So, if the team sorted 5 head in 63.5 seconds, they turn-in a 57.5 on 5 head (63.5 – 6 = 57.5).

    #11 Ranch Handicap

    #11 Ranch Hand Handicap, the maximum combined team rating is 11. The sorter cannot be rated higher than a #4 because there is a 4 cap on the sorter. Therefore, the highest rated rider a #4 could be partnered with is a #7. The Sorter/Gate Rider must be designated. The Gate Rider may not sort or turn toward a cow to take it out the gate. He can go in the sorting pen to turn back cattle. One (1) additional second is given for every number a team’s combined rating falls below the class number for example, a #3 rider and a #5 rider have paired to ride in the #11 which will be run on a 60 second clock. Their team rating is 8 (3 + 5 = 8); therefore, they will receive three (3) additional seconds (11 – 8 = 3). This team will sort on a 63 second clock (60 + 3 = 66). After the run, those additional seconds ARE SUBTRACTED from the final time. So, if the team sorted 5 head in 60 seconds, they turn-in a 57 on 5 head (60– 3 = 57).

    If a #14 RH Handicap class is offered, the #11RH Handicap should have a #4 cap on the sorter. If there is not a #14RH HC on the schedule, it is not necessary to cap the sorter in the #11 RH HC.

    #11 Rookie Handicap (2 cap on sorter)

    In the #11 Rookie Handicap, the maximum combined team rating is 11. The sorter cannot be rated higher than a #2 because there is a 2 cap on the sorter. Therefore, the highest rated rider a #2 could be partnered with is a #9. The Sorter/Gate Rider must be designated. The Gate Rider may not sort or turn toward a cow to take it out the gate. He can go in the sorting pen to turn back cattle. One (1) additional second is given for every number a team’s combined rating falls below the class number for example, a #2 rider and a #6 rider have paired to ride in the #11 which will be run on a 60 second clock. Their team rating is 8 (2 + 6 = 8); therefore, they will receive three (3) additional seconds (11 – 8 = 3). This team will sort on a 63 second clock (60 + 3 = 66). After the run, those additional seconds ARE SUBTRACTED from the final time. So, if the team sorted 5 head in 60 seconds, they turn-in a 57 on 5 head (60– 3 = 57).

    #10 Beginner Ranch Hand Handicap (1 cap on sorter)

    In the #10 Beginner Ranch Hand Handicap, the maximum combined team rating is 10. The sorter cannot be rated higher than a #1 because there is a 1 cap on the sorter. Therefore, the highest rated rider a #1 could be partnered with is a #9. The Sorter/Gate Rider must be designated. The Gate Rider may not sort or turn toward a cow to take it out the gate. He can go in the sorting pen to turn back cattle. One (1) additional second is given for every number a team’s combined rating falls below the class number for example, a #1 rider and a #7 rider have paired to ride in the #10 which will be run on a 60 second clock. Their team rating is 8 (1 + 7 = 8); therefore, they will receive two (2) additional seconds (10 – 8 = 2). This team will sort on a 62 second clock (60 + 2 = 62). After the run, those additional seconds ARE SUBTRACTED from the final time. So, if the team sorted 5 head in 58 seconds, they turn-in a 56 on 5 head (58– 2 = 56).

    #2 Beginner Sort (non-handicap)

    In the Beginner Sort, the maximum combined team rating is 2. Both team partners may only be rated as #1 Beginners. Both Team partners are allowed to switch back and forth between the sort and gate positions. The Gate Rider may not sort or turn toward a cow to take it out the gate. He can go in the sorting pen to turn back cattle. In this class the team will be sorting with 6 head of cattle (5 numbered and 1 blank). There is no handicap, therefore the team will be running on a 60 second clock.

    #10 Beginner Youth Ranch Hand Handicap

    (1 cap on sorter age 13 & under; gate rider may be an adult or an experienced rider).

    In the Beginner Youth Ranch Hand Handicap, the maximum combined team rating is 10. The sorter cannot be rated higher than a #1 because there is a 1 cap on the sorter, they also must be age 13 and under. The gate rider may be an adult or an experienced rider. The highest rated rider a #1 could be partnered with is a #9. The Sorter/Gate Rider must be designated. The Gate Rider may not sort or turn toward a cow to take it out the gate. He can go in the sorting pen to turn back cattle. One (1) additional second is given for every number a team’s combined rating falls below the class number for example, a #1 rider and a #7 rider have paired to ride in the #10 which will be run on a 60 second clock. Their team rating is 8 (1 + 7 = 8); therefore, they will receive two (2) additional seconds (10 – 8 = 2). This team will sort on a 62 second clock (60 + 2 = 62). After the run, those additional seconds ARE SUBTRACTED from the final time. So, if the team sorted 5 head in 58 seconds, they turn-in a 56 on 5 head (58– 2 = 56).

    In the Beginner Youth Division, or any other division, if the gate rider is not charged an entry fee, then the $3 Sanctioning Fee is not required. Points will not be distributed as well. If the $3 Sanctioning Fee is charged then points will be awarded.

    #4 (non-handicap)

    In the #4, the maximum combined team rating is 4. The highest rated rider that can ride in this class is a #3 rated rider partnered with a #1. Both Team partners are allowed to switch back and forth between the sort and gate positions. The Gate Rider may not sort or turn toward a cow to take it out the gate. He can go in the sorting pen to turn back cattle. There is no handicap, therefore the team will be running on a 60 second clock.

  • I am planning on competing as a Beginner for the first time at an RSNC event next weekend. Can I only enter the beginner class?

    As a Beginner you pretty much have open range to enter all classes, although for the Youth class you have to be 18 and younger and for Masters class you have to be 50 or older. If it's a number class such as the #8 HC (handicap)- the combined rating between you and your partner must not exceed that number class, in this case it is 8. So, if your rating is a 1 you can ride with a partner that has a rating up to a 7. But let's say your partner is a 2, that would make your combined rating a 3 and the difference is your handicap, which would be 5. You always get 60 seconds to sort your cattle but if it is a handicap class you get to add your handicap in seconds. So now you have 65 seconds to sort your cows. After you are done sorting, your handicap time is removed from your final time. So, say you got 6 cows sorted in your 65 seconds, but your last cow came through at 55 seconds, we then minus your HC time of 5 seconds, so your final calculated time would be 6 cows in 50 seconds. If it is a Ranch Hand class that means only one person can sort and only one person can work the gate. The Rookie #11 HC has a 2 cap on the sorter. So only a #1 or #2 rated rider can sort but the gate can be worked by a higher rated rider.

  • How do you determine what a rider needs to be rated and when will their rating be moved?

    Important Rating Guidelines – It is important to the success of this association to ensure there is a place for new novice riders to be competitive within our sport. The definitions of the #1,#2 and #3 ratings are printed for all contestants to review so it is clearly understood that if you are successful at the #1 or #2 rating you will automatically be moved. This is the only way for new contestants who were just like you when you started to have a fair introduction to the sport.

    The #1 Beginner

    This rating is only for those participants who are novice riders on novice horses and who have never won  over $500 in any sorting or other cow horse competition. Once you win $750 you will automatically be moved to a number 2. This is only an introductory level and is probationary meaning if you or your horse’s skill dictates it you may be moved at any time.

    The #2 Rookie

    The #2/Rookie rating is only for those participants that have never been rated higher than a #1 in any sorting or other cow horse organization. To start at a #2 rating this rider must be a novice rider on a novice horse who has never won over a $1000 in any sorting or other cow horse competition. Once #2/Rookie’s earnings in RSNC sanctioned events reaches $1000 (youth classes excluded) and that amount has been confirmed and recorded at the RSNC Headquarters, he/she will no longer be eligible to ride as a #2 Rookie unless their win/loss ratio is below a .60 in the #6 and below divisions. Then they will remain a #2 until they earn another $500, at which time they will be revaluated for the .60 cut off, and if not above that ratio again at every $500 interval. They will remain a #2 until they surpass the .60 win/ loss ratio at which time they will automatically move up to a #3 novice. This is a probationary rating meaning if you or your horse’s skills dictate it you may be moved at any time. If you have success please expect to move beyond the rookie rating.

    The #3 Novice

    A #3 Novice is defined as a #3 rated contestant that is inconsistent in their ability to sort cattle whether it is because of their cattle reading ability, their ability to get successful partners and/or the ability of their horse. Any new member that has won over $1000 in Ranch Sorting or other cowhorse competition in any and all associations combined will not initially be rated below a #3 Novice. Additionally, the #3 rating will be reviewed by win/ loss ratios every 6 months (after the World Finals and State Finals). If a #2 has been moved to a #3 they will have the opportunity to move back to a #2 after re-evaluation at every 6-month interval. If they have attended enough events to fairly evaluate them and their win/loss ratio is below a .25 as a #3 they will have the option to move back to a #2.

    The Amateur

    An Amateur is defined as a #4, #5 or #6 rated contestant that is just below or just above average in their ability to sort cattle. This is a contestant that can read cattle, is aggressive and confident and is riding an athletic cow horse. From time to time this contestant or their horse will make minor errors that prevent them from consistently sorting. Those that are considered just below average should be a #4, average as a #5, and just above average should be a #6.

    The Open Rider

    An Open Rider is defined as a #7, #8 or #9 rated contestant that excels within the sport of Ranch Sorting. These are experienced sorters that have continued to improve and advance within the rating system or professional horseman that have recently entered the sport and their horses and sorting abilities dictate that they are superior to the Novice and Amateur contestants. These could be cutting horse and cow horse trainers that in a very short period of time have learned how to be competitive in sorting and have advanced to the open level. There are three levels within the open division.

    The #7

    #7 is considered too good to ride as an Amateur, but either doesn’t have an exceptional horse or who may have a slower reaction time than the best riders in the industry. This contestant’s win/loss ratio prevents him/her from advancing.

    The #8

    The #8 is a professional ranch sorter. This contestant can travel anywhere in the country and be competitive in Open Ranch Sorting Divisions but does not consistently win like the #9 contestant.

    The #9

    The #9 is reserved for the elite within the industry. They reflect the standard of excellence, which all others strive to achieve.

    Data Driven Rating Evaluation is the contestant’s data and will be collected and carried over from one year to the next, until as determined by RSNC he or she has competed enough to accurately depict a contestant’s performance. Once data is used to depict a contestant’s performance, then the slate is cleared and data is collected again until a rating evaluation is determined.

    The RSNC will use 9 rating classifications. All contestants regardless of age, will be assigned a rating classification. Each new member of RSNC must be given a rating classification before competing in a RSNC sanctioned event. The member is required to accurately and honestly answer all questions regarding his or her rating criteria.

    New Membership Probationary Rating is where all new members will compete on a probationary rating for their first year of competition. If for any reason, it is found by RSNC that the person is inappropriately rated then RSNC will correct the rating. If that person is found to have falsified information about his or her rating then RSNC may revoke the membership of that person.

    Masters

    The Masters division is for all contestants ages 50 years or older by December 31 of the current year.

    Youth

    All Contestants in the Beginner Youth Division must be 12 or younger by January 1st of that year. Beginner Youth may have an Adult or experienced person in the gate but the sorter must be rated #1 Beginner. All Contestants in the Youth Rated Division must be 18 or younger by January 1st of that year. There is no rating cap on the Youth Rated Division but it is recommended to be a HC class. Youth ages 13 through 18 who are rated 4 & under may ride in the Rated Youth class but are not eligible for youth points.

    The Youth Points Race is for all youth age 12 & under as of January 1st of the current year and rated a #4 or below. The youth points race includes all youth classes and all RSNC classes with a class cap of 11 or lower, excluding the #11 Handicap.

    Youth will not be moved from a #2 to a #3 unless their win/loss ratio is in the top 60% of all youth when they reach the $1,000 mark or until they reach $1,500 in regular rated classes in the top 60%.

  • In which timeframe do I earn National Points?

    National Points are earned from 1st July to 30th June. National Finals are held in August. The Top 20 from each rating category from each state that have ridden at 5 sanctioned RSNC Events qualify for high point prizes. There is a 5 show requirement for all riders that wish to attend the National Finals event, however, first year members are exempt.

  • How does a Round Robin class work?

    A Round Robin is where each rider rides with every other rider one time. Each rider accumulates the number of cattle sorted on each team he or she is on and at the end, the rider with the most cattle sorted in the fastest accumulated time wins.

  • How are points awarded in Round Robin classes?

    Points are awarded to the top teams in the class just like in any other sanctioned class. Not the winning individuals. Therefore, an example with 20 riders you will generate 190 teams. Based on 190 teams 1st thru 10th will get double points because there are over 100 teams in the class.1st 18 pts., 2nd 16 pts., 3rd 14 pts., etc., and 10th 1pt. 

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