Rodeo

The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA), with 137 member schools, oversees competitions and exhibitions throughout the US at which more than 3,500 student-athletes compete in its various events. NIRA competitions showcase student’s skills in numerous exciting events. Women’s teams compete in four events: Barrel Racing; Breakaway Roping, Goat Tying and Team Roping. Men’s teams compete in six events: Tie Down Roping; Steer Wrestling; Team Roping; Bull Riding; Bareback and Saddle Bronc Riding. There is one level of competition.

Judging

A judge’s primary responsibilities are to

  • Supervise the class to ensure rules are followed.
  • Confirm that the course is set up as prescribed by the appropriate rulebook.
  • Read the rulebook prior to the event as many associations and organizations have their own rules pertaining to speed events.  (As an example, in an open show, a knocked-down barrel or pole may cost the rider 5 seconds, while the same knocked-down barrel or pole may only cost the rider 2 seconds in a 4-H class.)

Barrel Racing

As the most popular timed-event class, the cloverleaf pattern in Barrel Racing is designed to test the maneuverability and speed of the horse. The course can be adjusted if too large for the available space by reducing the pattern by an increment of 5 yards until the pattern fits the arena. The distance from barrel No. 3 need not be reduced 5 yards at a time if there is sufficient room for the horse to stop. Each barrel should be set at least 15 feet from the arena wall or fence.

The rider can choose to turn the right or left barrel first; either way is acceptable. Judges and participants should review the rulebook before the barrel racing event as open shows, breed shows, rodeos, jackpots, and 4-H shows may have differing penalties and rules.

Roping Events

The roping class provides an opportunity for the horse to demonstrate its natural talent and be judged on its ability and willingness to perform. The rope horse is evaluated on maneuvers that reflect its ability to allow its rider to catch and handle a calf and/or steer most efficiently and effectively.

Requirements:

  • the horse must start from the roping box
  • tie-down roping and heading horses only in dally team roping must start behind a barrier
  • only the horse’s performance, including manners behind the barrier and at all other times, is to be judged
  • there is a one-minute time limit

Legal Catches Required in Both Header and Heeler

Heading:

  • legal catches in heading are both horns, half-head, and around the neck
  • any figure-eight, front leg, or the tip of a horn is not a legal heading catch

Heeling:

  • legal catches for heeling include a catch that holds from behind the steer’s shoulders and back, around the flank, or on one or both heels
  • a tail-only catch is not a legal heeling catch.

Tie-Down Events

During this event, the roper may throw only two loops and must be done within the two-minute time limit. The two minutes must be within the time from when the calf leaves the chute and until the roper signals the roping is complete. Even when the time limit is complete, the horse will continue to be judged until the rider has mounted the horse and ridden forward.

  • Failure to catch is a no score.
  • Any catch that holds is legal, but the rope must remain on the calf until the tie is completed and the roper has mounted the horse.
  • If the calf is not standing when the roper reaches the calf, the roper must re-throw the calf by hand, crossing any three feet, and tie with not less than one complete wrap and a half hitch.
  • The rope must be run through a foul rope around the horse’s neck and may, at the discretion of the rider, be run through a “keeper.” If a keeper is used, it must be attached to the noseband of the tie-down but never in front of the head stall and cannot be attached to the bridle or bit.
  • Only the roper may touch the calf while the horse is being judged. The roper may dismount from either side and leg or flank calf.

Scoring

On a 0 to 100 basis, an average performance is 70. Each maneuver is scored on a +3 or -3, in ½-point increments. The tie-down roping horse will be judged on four different maneuvers:

  • Box and barrier
  • Running and rating
  • Stop
  • Working the rope

Penalties

One Point:

  • Dragging the calf will be penalized one point for each 3 feet moved up to 12 feet.

Two Points:

  • Freeze-up in the box
  • Jumping the barrier
  • Setting up or scotching
  • Rubbing the rope
  • Failure to continue backing while the roper is flanking the calf
  • Slack in the rope

Three Points:

  • A two-loop run

Five Points:

  • Refusing to enter the box
  • Rearing in the box
  • Breaking the barrier
  • Running into the calf
  • Horse walking up the rope
  • Blatant disobedience

No Score

  • Failure of the calf to stay tied until the roper has remounted and ridden forward to loosen the rope
  • Excessive schooling
  • Whipping or hitting the horse with the rope
  • Dragging the calf more than 12 feet
  • Inhumane treatment of the animal being worked
  • Attempting to position the horse behind the barrier, enabling the contestant to rope the animal without attempting to leave the box
  • Initiating the run with the rope on the opposite side of the horse’s neck than exhibitor’s roping hand

Faults

Faults are to be scored according to severity.

  • Jerking the reins
  • Slapping
  • Jerking the rope
  • Turning around in the box
  • Turning the head severely
  • Squatting in the corner
  • Stopping crooked
  • Rearing up in stop
  • Ducking off
  • Looking off while working the rope
  • Shying away while the roper is remounting

Team Roping

The heading horse and the heeling horse are to be entered and scored individually, not as a team.

Requirements

  • All heading and heeling cattle shall be protected by horn wraps.
  • Legal catches are required by both the header and the heeler (see above for legal catches).
  • The roper on the horse being judged may throw only two loops.
  • Header must head the steer, and the heeler must heel the steer.
  • Riders are to stay mounted.
  • Each contestant will select the other member of his or her team.

Scoring

On a basis of 0 to 100, a score of 70 is an average performance.

Heading

The horse will be judged on four different maneuvers:

  • Box and barrier
  • Running and rating
  • Setting and handling
  • Facing

Penalties

Two points:

  • Freeze-up in the box
  • Jumping the barrier
  • Setting up or scotching
  • Ducking off
  • Failure to face completely
  • Freeze-up while facing

Three Points:

  • Additional loop on either end

Five Points:

  • Refusing to enter the box
  • Rearing up in the box
  • Broken barrier
  • Running into the steer
  • Refusing to pull
  • Blatant disobedience

No Score

  • Intentional and continuous stretching of the steer
  • Excessive schooling
  • Whipping or striking the horse with the rope
  • Failure to catch
  • Loss of the rope
  • Failure to maintain dally through the completion of the run
  • Refusal to face

Faults

Faults are scored according to severity.

  • Jerking the reins
  • Slapping
  • Jerking the rope
  • Turning around in the box
  • Turning head severely
  • Squatting in the corner
  • Incorrect position
  • Failure to rate
  • Failure to run the steer
  • Horse being outrun by the steer

Heeling

Heeling horse maneuvers include:

  • Box
  • Run and rate
  • Position
  • Stopping

Penalties

Two Points:

  • Header breaking the barrier

Three Points:

  • Additional loop on either end

Five Points:

  • Refusing to enter the box
  • Rearing in the box
  • Position on the wrong side of steer
  • Running into the steer
  • Failure to stop on hindquarters and hold position through the completion of the run
  • Blatant disobedience

No Score

  • Intentional and continuous stretching of the steer
  • Excessive schooling
  • Whipping or striking the horse with the rope
  • Failure to catch
  • Loss of the rope
  • Failure to maintain dally through the completion of the run
  • Refusal to face

Faults

Faults are to be scored according to severity.

  • Jerking the reins
  • Slapping
  • Jerking the rope
  • Turning around in the box
  • Turning head severely
  • Squatting in the corner
  • Incorrect position
  • Failure to be in correct lead before the horse moves into position on the steer

Breakaway

This is an event with a one-minute time limit and is performed by the same general rules as calf roping. The horse must start from behind a barrier.  A 10-second penalty will be added to the time for breaking the barrier.