Western Australian Team Penning Association Inc. (WATPA) has been around since 2009 running Team Penning events and introduced Ranch Sorting in 2016. Since then this dynamic sport has shown incredible growth. WATPA has strong connections to clubs “over East” which allows Australia-wide competition, chances to ride in National Finals, and even World Finals in Texas USA.
Ranch Sorting has many classes available to suit most any rider, from Beginners, Juniors, Open, Western Heritage – where you cannot ride more than a trot, and various other classes. Prize money, ribbons, and points accumulate toward end-of-year prizes and awards for the club, state, and nationals are all part of the appeal.
This is a family-orientated sport, with men, women, and youth all encouraged to ride at their own levels. WATPA offers many club days where practice on cattle and getting familiar with the club are the aim, non-competition in a relaxed atmosphere.
All levels of riders can compete, on any breed of horse, riding in any type of gear (as long as it is safe), bitless is accepted, all will be encouraged and supported to enjoy this addictive sport.
We require you to use a mechanical stop as no type of head tie-downs, running reins, or head checks are allowed – your horse must have free use of its head.
All contestants at an RSNCA sanctioned show must wear western attire: a western hat or helmet, and a long or short-sleeved western shirt and boots. Tank tops, t-shirts, and baseball caps are NOT allowed. Any member who is in violation of the dress code rule will be given a warning the first time, and a “no time” afterwards for that ride.
All competitors under 18 years of age MUST wear a helmet at all times while mounted. #1 Rating Beginner riders MUST wear a helmet whilst training and competing.
ALL LEVELS HANDICAP (OPEN)
This class is an open class and open to all riders with a 50% payout. There is a 60 second time limit, handicapped based on combined team rating (i.e. Two 9’s will have 60 sec whereas a #3 combined with a #1 will have 74 seconds in total). Maximum 5 entries per event including an auto draw. The top ten teams will go through to a final run.
#8 HANDICAP (HANDICAPPED)
This is the same as the All Levels with the exception that the riders’ combined rating cannot exceed 8. The handicap also starts with an 8 rated team on 60 sec and the riders’ lower-rated with more time based on their combined ratings.
To be eligible for this class the combined rating of the riders must not exceed 4, i.e. a 1 and a 3 or 2 number 2s. There is no time handicap for this class so all riders will be riding with a flat 60 sec. There is a 50% payout in this class. Maximum 5 entries per event including an auto draw, and the top 10 teams go through to a final run.
BEGINNER SORT (#1 CAP ON SORTER AND GATE)
The Beginner Sort this 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 and are rated #1. In this class beginner ranch sorters ride with fellow riders that are rated #1 both on the gate and sorting. In the Beginner Sort both parties are allowed to make both offensive and defensive manoeuvres on the cattle within their position. Maximum 5 entries per class including an auto draw. The top ten teams will go through to the final run and there is a 50% payout in this class.
YOUTH SORT - ALL LEVELS HC - (6 years to 18 years)
The Youth Sort – All Levels class is for riders from 6 years to 18 years or younger from 1st January of current year (July 1st of previous year). There is no rating cap on the Youth Rated Division however it is a handicapped event. Maximum 5 entries per class including an auto draw. In this event the Youth support each other with both the sorter and gate person being a Youth and being allowed to make both offensive and defensive manoeuvres on the cattle.
There is a 75 second time limit on this class, handicapped on combined team rating. (i.e. A #1 ‘sorter’ combined with a #4 ‘gate’ will have 80 seconds). The top ten teams will go through to the final run and there is a 50% payout in this class.
WESTERN HERITAGE ALL LEVELS HANDICAP
This class runs the same as the All Levels with additional rules of:
a. Limited to a trot or walk by the sorter: Loping after one stride by the sorter will result in a no time. The gate person can go at any speed to defend the gate as a defensive move however they cannot lope/canter toward or into the herd to sort cattle.
b. Verbal noise, by either contestant, intended to influence the cattle is prohibited. Shouting by either rider to intimidate the cattle will result in a no time however, non-verbal noises such as whistling, clucking, slapping chaps, etc are all common practices among cattlemen and are allowed. Artificial whistles are not allowed.
ROOKIE #11 HANDICAP (#2 CAP ON SORTER)
A Rookie #11 Handicap class can have a combination of riders with a maximum combination of rider ratings of #11 however the person who is the ‘sorter’ must not be rated more than a #2. If you have two people competing who are both rated #2 or less then both may ‘sort’ during the run however a rated #3 or above may only be a ‘gate’ person. There is a 60 second time limit, handicapped based on combined team rating (i.e. A #1 ‘sorter’ combined with a #3 ‘gate’ will have 67 seconds in total where as a #2 ‘sorter’ combined with a #4 ‘gate’ will have 65 seconds). Maximum of 5 entries including an auto draw. The top ten teams will go through to a final run and there is a 50% payout in this class.
REVERSE ROOKIE #11 HANDICAP (#2 CAP ON GATE)
A Reverse Rookie #11 Handicap class can have a combination of riders with a maximum combination of rider ratings of #11 however the person who is the ‘gate’ must not be rated more than a #2. Rookie Gate is defined as any #2 RSNCA rated contestant. Only #2 Rookies or #1 Beginners may be the gate rider in this class. If both partners are rated #2 or below then they both may sort and gate. However, if one partner is rated higher than a #2 than that partner must work the sort only and allow only the #2 or below partner to gate as in a Ranch Hand Class. Maximum of 5 entries including an auto draw. The top ten teams will go through to a final run and there is a 50% payout in this class.
MASTERS #10 HANDICAP OR LOWER
The Masters division is for all contestants ages 50 years or older by December 31 of the current year (January 1- December 31).
This is a Single Go class. All teams are created dynamically, and each rider will ride at least once with every other rider. This is a single-entry, “draw only” class. No picks are allowed. All cow counts and times are accumulated for each rider, and the payout goes to the rider (not the team) with the most cows in the least time. Points are awarded to the top teams, following the same point guidelines for all other classes.
Sadie Hawkins this class is for the ladies to invite the men to the sorting. It must be a lady and a man or youth or master. Either way there must be 1 lady on the team.
The class starts as all sorting classes start however at some point at riders choosing the team must re-sort the cattle they have already sorted back the other way in reverse order. No cattle are counted as sorted until they return across the centreline from the reverse direction. For example: the team is given number 3. They sort 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 in about 30 seconds. Then they go get the 8 and sort it back across the foul line and it is counted as the 1st cow sorted at 35 seconds. Then they get the 7, 6 and 5 before the time expires. Their final time was 4 cows sorted (both ways) in 59.2 seconds.