These are in order based on the USWRCA Rulebook, which you can find under Membership -> Forms and Documents.
Judged events are those events where one's skill is on display, more than one's speed. These events are individual, with the exceptions of Parade, Drill, and Pairs Pleasure. Some general rules across most judged classes:
1. Martingales, draw reins, tie downs, cavessons, and mechanical hackamores are not allowed in any judged event.
2. Protective boots are only allowed in Reining and Cutting.
3. A Western bridle can have either a snaffle bit or shank bit, with split or Romal reins. If the rider has a snaffle bit, they can choose to ride one handed or two, but must still have split or Roman reins. With split reins attached to a shank bit, the rider holds them in one hand, with the index finger between the reins, and the tail of the reins on the same side as the hand (if the rider is right handed, then the tail will drape on the right side of the horse, for example). Romal reins attached to a shanked bit do not require a finger between the reins.
Parade is split between two classes, based on the number of riders: Class A with 11+ riders, and Class B with fewer than 11 riders. No backwards movement is allowed in Parade maneuvers. If a US flag is included, the rider carrying the flag rides with the club and must follow US Flag Etiquette.
Riders, horses, and tack should be clean and in good working order; uniformity in dress and tack is a plus. Riders and horses should show good, safe manners. Maneuvers should display correct spacing, alignment, and coordination with flowing movements.
The video is of the 2021 Region Parade performance.
Drill is split the same as Parade: Class A with 11+ riders, and Class B with fewer than 11 riders. Clubs can be in different classes between Parade and Drill. Unlike Parade, if a US flag is included, the rider carrying the flag must be the first rider into the arena and post the flag, and must be the first rider to exit the arena at the completion of the drill, in accordance with US Flag Etiquette.
A drill is not to exceed eight minutes; at six minutes, a two minute warning will be given by the announcer. Time starts when the first horse enters the arena, and stops when the last horse leaves.
Drills are judged on appearance, degree of difficulty, and the precision of the performance. Like in Parade, riders, horses, and tack should be clean and in good working order; uniformity in tack and dress is a plus. A team that performs a more difficult drill, or performs at a faster speed, should get a higher score than a team that performs simple maneuvers, or performs at a slower speed. Lastly, drills should maintain consistent spacing, show symmetry, and flow between maneuvers; riders should be alert to prevent collisions, crooked lines, broken gaits, etc.
The video is of the 2021 Region Drill performance.
Western Pleasure (Ladies and Men's)
USWRCA splits classes between men and women.
Western Pleasure is the art of displaying a horse that is a pleasure to ride and easy to control on a reasonably loose rein, with flowing movements and a natural, relaxed headset. Credit should be given to the flowing, balanced, and willing horse who transitions smoothly when called.
Horses are to be shown on the rail at a walk, trot, and lope in both directions, ending by coming into a line at the center of the arena to back up at the judge's request. The back should be prompt and obedient (no mouth gaped open, no tossed head), and horses should stand quietly in the line-up.
A moderate extension of the trot may be asked for, at the judge's discretion. Posting is not acceptable at the trot or extended trot. A reverse may only be called at a walk or trot. Passing is permissible, provided the horse maintains proper cadence and rhythm.
The video is, unfortunately, not of anyone from South Oquirrh Hills. It is the 2020 Select AQHA Western Pleasure class.
Matched Pairs Pleasure
This event is very particular to USWRCA: teams of two ride in tandem (beside each other) through a Western Pleasure class. The fundamental rules for the class are the same as the Western Pleasure rules, in that the class will be shown on the rail at the walk, trot, and lope both directions. A moderate extension of the trot may be asked for at the judge's discretion, and posting is not acceptable at either the regular or extended trot.
The biggest difference in the event is during the line-up. During Pairs Pleasure, once all the pairs have lined up, one at a time, each pair will ride forward out of the line, the riders will dismount and take at least one rein down to ground tie the horses, then step at least three steps away from the horses. They will return to the horses, mount, and back as a partnership back into the line-up.
Lastly, Matched Pairs does have a breakdown of the actual judging: pairs are judged on the actual match as to the horses (30%), manners (40%), and performance (30%). The equipment should also match, such as being in hackamores, snaffle, or curb bit. While horses who do not match do not get the 30% matching score, do not paint horses to match, as it would be a disqualification!
Ranch Cow Cutting
Mostly just called Cutting. In a two-and-a-half minute time limit, a competitor rides into a herd of cows, chooses one, and cuts it from the herd. Once separated, the competitor keeps that cow out from the herd until it "quits." After the cow has quit, the competitor should back off the cow immediately and return to the herd to pick a new cow. The competitor also has the help of four other riders, called herd helpers, that help manage the herd (see below for more on herd helpers).
During the time, the judge will be watching the ride in order to score the competitor. The base score starts at 70 and can go up or down depending on the competitor's presentation. Certain failures of the competitor will get points docked, but there are areas where the judge can add points for flashiness or good herd work. Here is the USWRCA Cutting score card.
The herd helpers come in two roles: from behind the herd, and in front of the herd. The herd helpers behind the herd will help the competitor pick the cow they'd like and separate it from the herd. They can move up with the competitor to act as filters, moving unwanted cows out of the way and leaving the desired cow open for the competitor to ride. Once the competitor has their cow out, the herd helpers behind the herd will return to their spots to settle the herd against the back fence. The herd helpers in front of the herd can also help manage the herd while a cow is being picked by a competitor, but their job is really after the cow has been separated. The herd helpers in front of the herd place pressure on the cow being ridden to get better digs for the competitor.
Despite appearances (cows running back and forth across the pen), Cutting is a deliberate, precision event. It is far worse to lose a cow back to the herd because you want the flashy digs that you and your horse are not ready for, than it is to get a plain run with no lost cows. Also, there is no warning to the competitor at any point about the amount of time remaining; this is different than Team Penning, where a 30 second warning is given.
Unfortunately, the video is not of anyone in South Oquirrh Hills, but the 2020 AQHA Amateur Cutting class.
The only patterned show class of USWRCA, Reining is a class aimed at showing the smoothness, finesse, attitude, and quickness of the performing horse while completing various maneuvers.
Scoring a run begins with a baseline of 70 points, denoting an average score; the individual maneuvers are then scored in half-point increments from -1 and 1/2 points to designate a very poor execution of an element, to a maximum of +1 and 1/2 points to designate an extremely well executed element. Certain penalties are laid out exactly in the rulebook and are not counted as part of the execution score; you can be docked for a penalty and docked for the straight execution of an element, for example.
For a full breakdown of the penalties one could face in a Reining class, please see the USWRCA Rulebook, page 26.
The rulebook also denotes that the pattern for the year will be determined by the Head Judge at the January meeting of the year the pattern is to be set for. At this time, no pattern has yet been set for 2022.
Unfortunately, the video is not of anyone in South Oquirrh Hills, but the 2021 NRBC winner "A Vintage Smoke".
Timed Cattle Events
A team of three riders will approach a herd of 30 cattle, who had been settled by the previous team or the show help, with the goal of plucking out as many cows with the correct number and penning them in a pen across the arena in under 90 seconds. The team with the most cows and the fastest time will win (meaning, teams with slower times but more cows will place before teams with a faster time but fewer cows).
Each cow is labeled with a number from 0 to 9 in sets of three (three 0s, three 1s, etc.). When the nose of the first horse crosses the foul line, which is usually marked at the half-way point of the arena, the announcer will call out the team's number and their time will begin. The team then has 90 seconds to get as many of their numbered cows out of the herd and into the pen on the other side of the arena. The team will (or should, according to the rules) get a 30 second warning. Once the team has their cows in the pen, one rider will ride into the pen and throw their hand up to indicate the completion of their run.
If more than four cows cross the foul line, the team will get a no time. If there is an incorrectly numbered cow (called "trash"), or any unpenned cattle at all on the pen side of the foul line, the team cannot get a time until those cows have been moved to the herd side of the foul line. Therefore, even if a rider has ridden into the pen and called for time, their time is based on when all the unpenned cows are on the herd side of the foul line.
There is a more general Team Penning video, but also a video of the South Oquirrh team of Shelly, Kerry, and Kendall at Region placing first with three cows penned.
3 Man Arena Sorting
A new event that was only added this current rulebook cycle (meaning it was officially added as a USWRCA event in 2021).
Similar to Team Penning, a team of three riders will ride into a herd of 10 numbered cattle and pick out the cows in the correct order and in under 60 seconds, based on the number called by the announcer. The team with the most sorted cows and then the fastest time will be the winner (so five cows sorted with a slower time will beat two cows sorted with a faster time). Unlike Team Penning, however, there is no pen so the cows just need to cross the foul line and stay across the foul line.
Three riders will enter the arena and approach the herd. When the nose of the first horse crosses the foul line (usually marked at the one-third point of the arena), the time begins and the announcer will give the team the number they are to start with. The team must enter the herd, separate the number given by the announcer, and then get the next highest number and the next. (For example, if the number called by the announcer was "7", the team would sort cow number 7, then 8, then 9.
When timing the event, use a phone or other device that shows both the total amount of time and the time when each "lap" was pressed. (One such website is https://www.timeanddate.com/stopwatch/) As each correct cow crosses the timing line, the timer will hit the "lap" button. The team gets the full 60 seconds to move as many cows as they can, but their final time is the time that the last correctly sorted cow crosses the timing line (for example, three cows with a time of 42.51 seconds).
If any cow crosses back from the sorted side of the arena, or a cow that is not the next number crosses to the sorted side, the team gets a no time.
Unfortunately, the video is not of South Oquirrh Hills, or any other USWRCA team, but of Team Sorting more generally. The video only gives you a very limited understanding of the event, as they have a much smaller area to work their ten cows in than USWRCA teams do.
What used to be called "Wild Cow Milking."
Teams of two--one mounted roper and one person on the ground, called the "mugger"--start on one side of the starting line, with the cattle at the other end of the arena. One of the team will have the ribbon used for the event. These teams have two minutes to rope a cow, get control of the cow's head (the rope must be free of the saddle and horse at this point or the team will be disqualified), tie on the ribbon to the tail of the cow, and then one team member runs to the circle that designates the finish. The ribbon must still be on the cow by the time the team member makes it to the circle to be eligible for a time.
Ribbon Roping is run in heats, with the size of the heat depending on how many cows are available and how many competitors are in the event in total. If there are multiple heats, the heats will be split between other events so the cows have time to rest.
Unfortunately, the video is not of South Oquirrh Hills, but of Wild Cow Milking at a rodeo.
All events should be run using an electric eye barrier if one is available. Once a competitor "calls" for the cow (begins their run), the cow belongs to that competitor unless the animal escapes or if a contestant is fouled by the barrier or other mechanical failure. In such an instance, the competitor must pull up immediately and declare the issue in order to receive a rerun.
For all chute events, if the competitor breaks or beats the barrier, a ten second penalty will be added to the final time. The barrier judge has the right to determine what counts as beating the barrier, such as rearing up over the barrier.
Competitors will begin in the roping box with their rope; their rope should have a long, white flag attached to the end of the rope that is tied onto the saddle horn. The rope should be tied on with string provided by show management. At no point before their run should the competitor break the string themselves, as it will count as a no time.
When the competitor is ready, they will "call" for their cow, allowing it to be released from the chute. Competitors then have thirty seconds to rope the cow and have the string break from the saddle horn. The rope must be thrown or released from the hand, it can't be held out to snag the cow. Any catch is legal as long as it goes over both ears and the nose. Loops cannot be rebuilt, but the competitor can throw two loops if two are carried.
If not enough competitors get times, then the results for District and Region will go to a draw in order to send teams on to the next stage. Any position drawn at that point does not count for points in high-point calculations.
Unfortunately, the video is not of anyone in South Oquirrh Hills.
Officially, Ribbon Pull has one competitor and one hazer. The hazer cannot pull the ribbon, so be sure of your role before the event.
The competitor and the hazer will enter the boxes, with the competitor in the box with the barrier, whether electronic or physical. When ready, the competitor will "call" for the cow, and then chase down the cow with the help of the hazer to capture a two-foot long ribbon glued to the cow's back in a twenty second time limit.
If the ribbon comes loose, the competitor must immediately pull up in order to get a rerun.
The video is of one of our South Oquirrh Hills North Region team of Kerry and Kendall.
Teams of two attempt to rope the head and back legs of a cow within sixty seconds. One person is the "header", whose job is to rope the head of the cow, and a "heeler", whose job is to rope the heels once the head is caught. The header is the person who will go in the box with the barrier.
When the team members are ready, the header will "call" for the cow, allowing . The header must catch the head of the cow; the only legal head catches are: both horns, one horn and the nose, both horns and the nose. If only one horn is caught, the catch is not legal.
Once the head has been caught, the heeler then can throw for the heels of the cow. Any catch where the rope is behind both shoulders is legal, but cannot include catching any front feet. If only one back leg is caught, the team gets a five second penalty.
Unlike in Breakaway, each contestant may only have one rope, but three total loops may be thrown (for example, the header can throw, reloop and throw again, and the heeler can catch for a time).
Unfortunately, the video is not of anyone in South Oquirrh Hills.
All events will be timed from the nose of the first horse to the nose of the last horse, whether the timing is being done by hand or by a timing light. During team events, if two horses are across the timing line at the same moment, the team will get a five second penalty.
For all events, except Poles and 5-in-a-Row, poles will be used to mark the timing line; in the other two events, it will be potato buckets. If the size of the arena allows, markers must be thirty feet apart. For single events and 5-in-a-Row, the starting line will be at least twenty feet off the outside fence.
During an event, if a contestant uses a baton, dipper, or potato stick to hit or encourage the horse, there will be a five second penalty.
Teams of two--one rider pulling the hide and one person riding the hide--compete to be the fastest to pick up their hide rider and cross the timing line. The person riding the hide can wear any kind of helmet/hat, coveralls, and gloves.
The hide will be provided by USWRCA with a knot at the twenty foot mark of the drag rope. The rider must dally above that knot. When ready, the rider will pull the empty hide across the arena to the barrel where their partner is waiting to be picked up.
If the person on foot is able to catch either the rope or the hide itself, they must be prone by the time they pass the barrel or the team will be disqualified. Otherwise, the person has to make an attempt to ride the hide, but as long as they're holding on to the rope or hide, they must keep hold until they have crossed the timing line. It is not enough for the rider pulling the hide to cross the timing line, the person on the hide must also cross the timing line. Unlike in other events, if the barrel is tipped over, the team is disqualified.
Unfortunately, the video is not of anyone in South Oquirrh Hills, but the picture is of Rick (on the horse) and Ben (on the hide) of South Oquirrh Hills from years past.
A team of five riders competes through the event simultaneously, riding nose to tail. From the starting line, the team will weave through four poles, circle around the outside of three barrels, and then weave back through the poles. The last rider must complete a full circle around the last pole (the pole closest to the timing line) to complete the pattern.
If the pattern is not performed correctly, or any of the riders pass any other rider in the line up, the team will be disqualified.
The video is South Oquirrh Hills' North Region team, of Kerry, Kendall, Alena, Kristy, and Shelly.
Teams of five go one at a time with the potato stick to a far barrel, stab a potato, and then deposit that potato in the nearer barrel (called the receiving barrel). For the first through fourth riders, they will then pass the potato stick to the next rider, while the fifth and final rider need only cross the timing line.
If either of the potato barrels are knocked over, the rider must dismount, pick up the barrel, and pick up any spilled potatoes, at which point the rider can remount and continue the run. If a potato breaks while it is being deposited, the rider must spear the bigger part of the potato, still mounted, and put it in the receiving barrel.
Functionally, this is rodeo barrel racing. Individual riders will enter the arena and run their barrel pattern (a first turn to the right and two to the left, or a first turn to the left and two to the right).
If an electric timer is available, it should be used over hand timers. If a competitor hits a barrel over, they get a five second penalty.
Unfortunately, the video is not of anyone in South Oquirrh Hills.
Teams of five riders will enter the arena and, one at a time, run the barrel pattern, passing a baton between each rider. The first rider will be given the baton, they will run the barrel pattern, then cross the timing line and pass the baton to the next rider. The last rider need only pass the timing line to complete the run.
If, at any point, a rider tips a barrel over, they must dismount, set the barrel back up, remount, and recircle the barrel before continuing the pattern. If the baton is dropped during a pass, any person but the person who was attempting to take the pass can get off, grab the baton, and remount before passing the baton to that next rider. If the baton is dropped during the run, the rider must stop, dismount, and get the baton before continuing the run.
Teams of five compete in this event to fill a jar that is perched atop a pole from water in a bucket held by one of the five team members. In other words, one team member stands on the other side of the arena holding the five gallon bucket with the team's water, and the other four members will ride across, fill the dipper, and carry as much water back to the jar as possible.
Starting on the far end of the arena: the team member holding the water bucket has a line drawn in the dirt that they cannot cross, or have a five second penalty added to the team's time for each cross over the line.
For the four team members tasked with filling the jar with the dipper: they will start on the other side of the arena, behind the starting/timing line. The first person will take the dipper, generally from the steward, and ride across to their teammate holding the water bucket. The teammate with the dipper can cross the line that the water bucket holder cannot, if they need to, in order to fill the dipper with water. The dipper can be held in any way that works for the team member, so long as the dipper is not bent. Once the dipper is filled, the teammate will ride back across the arena with the goal of keeping as much water in the dipper as possible so they can fill the jar. Once the water is poured in, they will cross the timing line and pass the dipper to the next teammate.
The steward will be the one to determine when the jar is full, and once the steward has called it, the time will be taken from when the nose of that horse crosses the timing line. If the team cannot fill the bottle within six minutes, the steward will end the team's attempt at six minutes. If the water pole is knocked over, the team receives a no time.
Unfortunately, the video is not of anyone in South Oquirrh Hills, but does show a USWRCA team.
Teams of five compete to have the fastest time in this very particular USWRCA event. Each team member's horse will be unsaddled when brought into the arena, and each team will have one saddle, without a saddle pad, that they will collectively use for the event. The team will start on foot, leading their horses by the reins.
When the team first comes in, the saddle will be placed in a circle marked by lime and that teammate will return to the rest of the team on the other side of the starting line. Across the arena will be a barrel. When ready, the first team member will cross the starting line, saddle their horse with the saddle that had been left in the circle, mount, and ride down around the barrel. They will then ride back, dismount, unsaddle, and lead the horse across the timing line.
When unsaddling, the saddle must be more than 50% within the circle or else the team will be disqualified. When crossing the timing line, the teammate that just went must be entirely across the timing line before the next horse can cross, or else a five second penalty will be added. If any team member touches another team member's horse, a five second penalty will be added. And lastly, if the barrel is knocked over, it does not need to be set up, but a five second penalty will be added.
Individual riders will enter the arena and run their pole pattern (running down either the left or right side of the poles is allowed).
If an electric timer is available, it should be used over hand timers. If a competitor hits a pole over, they get a five second penalty.
Unfortunately, the video is not of anyone in South Oquirrh Hills.
Teams of five riders will enter the arena and, one at a time, run the pole pattern, passing a baton between each rider. The first rider will be given the baton, they will run the pole pattern, then cross the timing line and pass the baton to the next rider. The last rider need only pass the timing line to complete the run.
If, at any point, a rider tips a pole over, they must dismount, set the pole back up, remount, and go back around that pole before continuing the pattern. If the baton is dropped during a pass, any person but the person who was attempting to take the pass can get off, grab the baton, and remount before passing the baton to that next rider. If the baton is dropped during the run, the rider must stop, dismount, and get the baton before continuing the run.
The video is of South Oquirrh Hills North Region team of Alena, Kristy, Kendall, Kerry, and Shelly.
Individual riders will enter the arena and run their keyhole pattern (running into the key, turning left or right 180 degrees, and running back out of the key through the neck and across the timing line).
If an electric timer is available, it should be used over hand timers. For each of the horse's feet that hit or cross the lime marking the key, a five second penalty will be added.
The video is of South Oquirrh Hills club member Kerry, who placed fourth at the North Region show.
Teams of five riders will enter the arena and, one at a time, run the keyhole pattern, passing a baton between each rider. The first rider will be given the baton, they will run the keyhole pattern, then cross the timing line and pass the baton to the next rider. The last rider need only pass the timing line to complete the run.
If a horse steps on or over the lime marking the keyhole, five seconds per foot will be added to the total time of the run, up to twenty seconds per horse. If the horse leaves the key out the back, there is no further penalty for that person returning to the key to finish the run through the neck. If the baton is dropped during a pass, any person but the person who was attempting to take the pass can get off, grab the baton, and remount before passing the baton to that next rider. If the baton is dropped during the run, the rider must stop, dismount, and get the baton before continuing the run.
The video is of South Oquirrh Hills North Region team of Lisa, Alena, Kendall, Kerry, and Shelly.
Teams of two compete to have the fastest time in this very particular USWRCA event. In short, the teammates start in the cab of the truck with the horse in the trailer; at "go", they exit the truck, unload the horse, bridle and saddle, one teammate mounts the horse and completes a counterclockwise circuit around the arena. They then return to their rig, dismount, unsaddle and unbridle, load the horse back in the trailer, and return to the cab of the truck.
Each team must either bring their own truck and trailer to use in the event, or coordinate with another team to use their truck and trailer. Trailers will be brought into the arena and lined up down the middle of the arena, inside a box marked by four potato barrels; the back of the trailer must face the grandstand.
Only one horse per team is needed for this event. Horses can already be onboard when the trailer is brought in, or the horse can be loaded once the trailer is in the arena. Except for the horse, the trailer must be entirely empty. The horse must be wearing a halter, with the bridle, saddle, and saddle pad in the bed of the truck (the gear in the bed of the truck cannot be sitting on anything). When the race starts, the horse must be "facing forward" for the type of trailer (forward for straight load, sideways for slant load) or they must be resettled before the race can begin. At the start of the race, the trailer gate must be latched so the gate couldn't swing open if the trailer was being pulled down the road.
The teammates must be in the cab of the truck with the doors closed before the race can begin. At "go", the team will exit the truck, unload the horse, and then bridle and saddle. The saddle must have a saddle pad that is not attached to the saddle. The bit on the bridle must be in the horse's mouth. Once saddled and bridled, one teammate will mount, ride a counterclockwise circuit around the potato barrels marking the arena, and then return to the rig. There, they will dismount, unsaddle and unbridle (replacing the halter), and reload the horse in the back of the trailer, latching the trailer gate.
The teammates will take the gear and return it to the floor of the truck bed. Any of the gear not entirely on the floor of the truck bed (either hanging over the edge of the bed or not in the truck bed at all) has a five second penalty, up to fifteen seconds. The team members will then get back in the truck cab, close the doors, and flip the headlights on the truck to signal their completion of the run (so at least one teammate must, or should, be in the driver's seat of the truck). The team must then wait for the truck, trailer, and horse to be inspected by a steward; if they leave before an all-clear from the steward, they will be disqualified.
Unfortunately, the video is not of anyone in South Oquirrh Hills, but does show one of the heats for the 2021 North Region USWRCA show.