The PCTPA Rule Book is similar to that of the Canadian Team Cattle Penning Association. Sections have been adapted to suit the nature of our club.

  1. A team consists of 3 riders. When cross-entering a team must change out one rider. After a three-person team competes in any one go-round, if one person is unable to compete for any reason in subsequent go round(s), it is the option of the two remaining contestants to compete, if they so desire, but in no event may less than two persons compete.
  1. The maximum time limit for all classes, including youth classes, is 90 seconds. Adult or Open team will compete with a 70 second maximum. Within this time limit, the team must separate from the herd and pen three head of cattle with the same assigned identity number. In instances where the team has completed their run and the flag has dropped at almost the same time as the maximum time buzzer has sounded the Judge must refer to the timekeepers to determine whether or not the maximum time limit has been exceeded. All a Judge can do is drop the flag to signify the timers to stop the clock. The timer will then tell the Judge and scorekeeper if the time was within the maximum time allowed. A courtesy warning may be given to the team at 30 seconds prior to the maximum time allowed.
  1. There must be 21-33 head of cattle in the arena when a team competes, except in the event that injured or escaped animals have been removed and management has opted to complete runs in that particular herd. If this situation occurs and the number of that injured or escaped animal has not been used previously, that number will be deleted from the order of go. In the event more or less than three assigned cattle are discovered within the herd the team(s) in this situation will receive a rerun at the end of the herd on their previously assigned number. In the event a number is called twice in the same herd the second team drawing the duplicate number must rerun. Teams awarded a rerun for these reasons will not carry forward any penalties to their reruns. Times for all other teams on the herd will remain the same.
  1. Herds of cattle will be changed every ten runs regardless of no shows. In order to achieve better herd management, herd changes may be rotated more frequently.
  1. All cattle will be unified & settled (bunched) within the mandatory markers on the cattle side of the start line before time begins. The Line Official will raise the flag to signal when the arena is ready. All team members are expected to move promptly into position to start and must proceed immediately if instructed to do so by either official. An official may grant a short rest of not more than 30 seconds to a competitor with back to back runs. The team that takes a short rest must turn and face the pen end of the arena so as not to obtain an unfair advantage over other competitors in spotting cattle. Time begins when the nose of the first rider’s horse crosses the start line. The drop of the flag to start the run deems the team is committed to their cattle. Riders will be given their cattle number as they cross the start line. Teams delaying in entering the arena within a 30 second time limit between teams will be disqualified (unless waived for good cause) from competing in that class for that day and will forfeit their entry fee. If a team is a no show, the cattle number drawn for that run will be used for the next team so that the maximum number of teams (10) will compete in each herd. The announcer shall announce, frequently, the competing team’s assigned cattle number for the benefit of the competitors and spectators.
  1. Once committed to the cattle, the team is completely responsible for their animals. If an animal leaves the arena either over or through a fence or gate the team can be disqualified for unnecessary roughness, given a time on their remaining cattle, or awarded a rerun at the Judge’s discretion.
  1. If an unassigned cow (trash) crosses the cattle / start line at any time during the run, the team will be disqualified. Cattle will be judged over the cattle/start line when all four feet are over the line.
  1. Time will AUTOMATICALLY be called as soon as all four (4) feet of all three (3) cattle are in the pen and all of the riders and horses are on the pen side of the line. This will be signified by the Pen Judge dropping the flag as soon as all of these conditions have been met.

A team may call time MANUALLY by any team member any time after one or more cattle have been penned. To call for time “manually” one team member’s horse’s nose must break the plane of the gate and that team member must raise a hand above their shoulder. The Pen Judge’s flag will drop when the first horse’s nose breaks the plane and that rider calls for time and time will be given on the number of cattle fully in the pen when the rider called for time. If a team calls for time with only one or two of their cattle in the pen, the remainder of their assigned cattle do not have to be on the herd side of the cattle line.

The Pen Judge signals for time to stop on the conditions that occur first, whether automatic or manual.

  1. a) A cow judged as penned must be completely in the pen (all 4 feet).
  2. b) If all 3 cattle enter the pen before all 3 riders are on the pen side of the line, time will not stop until the Line Official signals to the Pen Judge that all riders have crossed to the pen side (all 4 feet of horse(s)). Only the Pen Judge can signal to the timer when time stops. In this situation, if any cattle escape the pen while waiting for rider(s) to cross the line, cattle may be re-penned.
  3. c) If a team calls for time “manually” (see above for definition) and all riders and horses are not on the pen side of the line, the team will be disqualified.
  4. d) A rider whose horse totally enters the pen shall not be disqualified.
  1. Two herdholders will move penned cattle back to the herd following a run. The herdholders will ensure the herd is settled and unified between the mandatory markers. Herdholders attempting to disturb the herd – splitting pairs or ‘burying’ unused numbers can be called for Unsportsmanlike Conduct. Herdholders must face the herd and control the herd in this position until the number is called. The herdholders are to exit along the outside edge of the arena immediately upon the number being called and not in front of the competing team. The function of the herdholder is to ensure the herd is settled and unified.
  1. Contact with or hazing cattle with hats, ropes, reins, bats, romals or any other equipment or apparatus is a disqualification. Romals or reins may be popped on the rider’s leg or saddle.
  1. The fall of a horse and/or rider shall not eliminate the entry. Any attempt by a dismounted rider to work cattle before remounting will result in a disqualification. A team with one or more dismounted riders may call for time providing all riders and horses are on the pen side of the line or time will end automatically once all three cattle are in the pen. Outside help for dismounted riders by anyone other than their team mates in the arena will result in disqualification.


  1. If, in the opinion of the Judge, unnecessary roughness occurs, the Judge will stop the run immediately at the point of the infraction. The team will be awarded a no time. Unnecessary roughness which will result in disqualification includes but is not limited to:
  1. Causing cattle to jump other cattle or making them leave the arena.
  2. Excessive bumping, biting or stepping on the cattle by the horse.
  3. Rider forces a cow to slam into the arena fence.
  4. Cattle bumping at the entrance to the pen.
  5. Slamming cattle into the back panel of the pen.
  6. Hitting cows broadside.
  7. Knocking a cow down.

The Judge may call an “intentional or irresponsible roughing”. A rider awarded an intentional or irresponsible roughing will be eliminated from competition at the show at which the infraction(s) took place. The rider may also be subject to further suspension and monetary fines as deemed appropriate by the cattle supplier and/or PCTPA.

PCTPA and/or the cattle supplier reserve the right to review any roughing infraction(s) by an individual and the right to assess further penalties if necessary.

  1. Unsportsmanlike conduct by a team and/or rider may result in disqualification. Unsportsmanlike conduct is defined as abuse of one’s horse or cattle, excessive use of foul language, intoxication in the arena or on the grounds or any other conduct felt to be detrimental to the sport of team penning. Abuse of one’s horse may include but is not limited to excessive jerking, spurring, whipping, slapping or kicking or riding a horse that is visibly lame, sick or emaciated. Unsportsmanlike conduct may also be levied against a rider showing disrespect, physical, verbal or written abuse to a Judge, Line Official or Show Management. Any rider who shows disrespect to those parties listed in the previous sentence will be awarded an unsportsmanlike conduct and will be disqualified for that day of competition and all entry fees for the day will be forfeited. This rule is to be enforced by the presiding Judge, Arena Director and/or Show Management.

PCTPA reserves the right to suspend any rider from competing in the balance of the show at which the offense took place and further, will review the offense to determine if further suspension is required.

Unsportsmanlike conduct may also be levied for any physical, verbal or written abuse to any member of a rating committee regardless if it occurs during or outside of a sanctioned event. This rule will be enforced by PCTPA.


  1. a) Team positions for the 1st go-round and cattle numbers will be assigned by an impartial draw. Once the order of the draw is established it cannot be changed. The second go-round will be run in the same order as the first. All teams will have 2 go-rounds.
  1. b) In the event of a tie after completion of the second go-round, tied monies and points will be divided equally, except in the event that management has opted to follow the PCTPA tie-breaking rules.


  1. a) The placing in a class at sanctioned pennings is determined on the aggregate scores of cattle penned and times obtained in 2 or more go-rounds. A no time or disqualification will be recorded as a no time. Times will be recorded to the nearest hundredth of a second.
  1. b) Times and cattle penned by all participants will be recorded.
  2. c) PCTPA Tie Breaking Procedure: In certain circumstances there is a need to break a tie between two or more teams. To break this tie, a flip of a coin will decide which team shall go first. Each team will have one chance to pen one cow. When the Judge raises the flag to start the run, the team can elect to pen any one cow. The team with the fastest time penning one cow will be deemed to have won and will be ranked higher than the other team(s) involved in the tie. In certain circumstances there is a need to break a tie between two or more riders when high point rider awards are involved. To break this tie, a flip of a coin will decide which rider shall go first. Each tied rider will select one rider to pen with them in the tie-breaker. The selected penner must have been a team member of the tied rider on a previous team in that class. The two-person team will have one chance to pen one cow. When the Judge raises the flag to start the run, the team can elect to pen any one cow. The tied rider must be the rider to select the cow from the herd and call for time. The team with the fastest time penning one cow will be deemed to have won and the rider will be ranked higher than the other rider(s) involved in the tie.


  1. YOUTH
  2. a) Barring enough Youth participation, the youth classes will consist of a Junior Division of which riders are 12 years of age or under as of January 1st (a show year is from January 1st to December 31st) and a Senior Division of which riders are 13 to 16 years of age as of January 1st. The Senior Youth class is optional and is offered at the discretion of individual associations.
  3. b) In the Junior Youth class, two youth must ride with one adult. The adult must be 18 years of age or older. The change out of the rider in the Junior Youth class must be a Youth. In the Senior Youth class all riders are Youth. No cross-entries between Junior and Senior Youth classes are allowed.
  4. c) In the Junior Youth classes, a youth must enter the herd prior to the adult and must initially do the larger portion of the work involved in bringing each of the cattle out of the herd. The adult is allowed to assist the youth with any animal and may re-cut any animal that has returned to the herd after initially being separated by a youth. If the team calls for time “manually”, a youth must signify for time at the pen.
  5. d) In the event of only one entry in the Youth Class the team will be allowed to pen, be allocated 1 point and show credit and will be paid 1st place prize money.
  6. e) All Youth riders must wear a proper helmet. As of November 2016 the equipment waiver is no longer available to be signed by parents of Youth riders. All riders under the age of 19 must wear a helmet.
  7. DRAW
  8. a) All PCTPA show participants must enroll in a minimum of 2 draw teams per show. Each draw team will participate in 2 go-rounds per team entered.
  9. b) The draw teams will be selected by random computer generation. Once the draw has been selected the draw will not be changed.
  10. c) The Draw category will be handicapped to equalize the playing field. For every one rating point higher than the lowest rated team the lower team shall have half a second deducted from each run. For example a team rated at 5 will have 3 seconds deducted from their combined runs if the highest rated team is 8.
  11. OPEN
  12. a) The Open category will be offered at each PCTPA show. Members are not required to participate in this category.
  13. b) The Open teams are selected by participants and may be a mix of all level riders and genders. Each team must consist of no more or less than 3 riders. There is no minimum or maximum rating for an Open team
  14. c) The Open category will be handicapped to equalize the playing field. For every one rating point higher than the lowest rated team the lower team shall have half a second deducted from each run. For example a team rated at 5 will have 3 seconds deducted from their combined runs if the highest rated team is 8.


  1. All contestants must wear a western hat or protective helmet, boots and a long sleeved collared shirt which is tucked in at the waist or jacket with cuffs covering the wrist. Western style long pants (jeans without holes) are required. In the event that a contestant has a mishap during penning and a button or snap is torn off or broken, this is not to be considered an infraction of the dress code. All contestants are encouraged to maintain a western image.