Rules & Guidelines

While the philosophy of the Rodear is to have a minimum of rules governing the course, the following will be strictly enforced:

  • The objective is to complete the course while achieving the most points in the least amount of time.
  • In the event of a point tie, tie-breaker will be the fastest time.
  • Handlers will sort their own cattle from a small herd of no less than 15 head of cattle. As with the course, the objective is to perform the sort in a quiet and controlled manner.
  • No restrictions on use of the horse/rider to assist dog in maneuvering cattle through the obstacle course. 
  • All obstacles will require BOTH the dog and horse/rider to negotiate and complete.
  • Quiet and controlled maneuvering of cattle is required. Contestants will be whistled out for excessive chasing or abusing of livestock and/or chasing cattle outside of the boundaries of the course.

Rodear Classes

The Open class is for any dog and any handler.

The Non-Pro class is for individuals who do not receive remuneration of any kind for training dogs. Any dog may compete in this division.

The Green Dog is intended for young and/or inexperienced dogs that are not ready to compete in the other Rodear classes offered. For the 2022 competition calendar year, dogs must be born on or after April 1, 2020.

The Rookie Handler class is for inexperienced handlers who are new to cow dog competitions. While Rookie Handlers may compete throughout an entire Rodear America competition calendar year, once an individual has won a Rookie Handler class three times over the course of the calendar year, or won a Rodear America Rookie of The Year title, he or she must move up to the other Rodear divisions in the coming competition year.

Year End Standings

Year End Standings are used to determine the rankings of competitors during a competition calendar year. Competitors finishing in the Top 20 in the Open, Non-Pro and Green Dog divisions as of the cut-off date for the competition calendar year will be invited to the National Semi-Finals competition in the Fall.

Year End Championship Awards will be given in the Open, Non-Pro and Green Dog divisions, as well as a Rookie of The Year title to competitors accumulating the most points throughout the competition calendar year.

Zero Tolerance Policy


The primary objective of Rodear competition is for competitors to have fun while being challenged to exhibit the superior stockmanship skills of themselves, their dogs and horses. To that end, Rodear America has adopted, and will enforce, a ZERO TOLERANCE policy at all of its sanctioned events to include the following.:

  1. There will be no abusive treatment of any kind, to any animal, at any time allowed anywhere on the event premises. This includes any act which the general public would perceive to constitute abusive treatment. Any act of inhumane treatment, mistreatment, or intent to mistreat an animal will be dealt with in the strongest possible manner allowed by this policy.
    1. Cattle may not be contacted in any manner by the handler or their horse. Running or pushing cattle causing them to run into obstacles or over fences will not be allowed.
    2. No rough handling of dogs is permitted. This will include training, schooling or correcting a dog in any manner that could be perceived as rough.
    3. No training devices, or dummy training devices, will be permitted to be used on, or worn by dogs at any time.
    4. Inhumane treatment or excessive training of a horse in any manner is strictly prohibited.
    5. Inhumane treatment of a horse includes the exhibition of a lame or injured horse, or one that appears to be.
    6. Excessive training of a horse includes excessive jerking, cueing, whipping, slapping or hitting a horse; or any other act which may cause trauma to a horse.
  2. If the event management or judge discovers a violation of the foregoing they may immediately bar the responsible party and their dog from further competition and forfeiture of all entry fees at the event. Additionally, each person found to be in violation of this policy may be subject to the following discipline:
    1. 1st offense - $500 fine and six months probation within Rodear America hosted events. *
    2. 2nd offense - $1,000 fine and six months suspension from Rodear America hosted events.
    3. 3rd offense - lifetime suspension from Rodear America hosted competition.

* The term probation as used herein refers to a probationary period wherein should another violation of any kind occur, a period of suspension may be levied by the Rodear America Board of Directors.

Dress Code

Recognizing the ranching roots of the sport of Rodear, it is only fitting that we do our part to preserve and promote our western heritage. To assist in achieving that goal the following dress code will be enforced at all Rodear America hosted events.

Appropriate western attire and tack must be worn/used while showing. This includes a western hat, long sleeved western shirt with collar and cuff, and boots. A western saddle and bridle must also be used.

Individuals in violation of this policy at a Rodear America hosted event will be disqualified and receive a score of zero for the class the violation occurred in for the first offense. A second offense will carry the same penalty with the addition of a $100 fine and 90 day probation*. The third offense will have a $300 fine and 90 day suspension.

* The term probation as used herein refers to a probationary period wherein should another violation of any kind occur, a period of suspension may be levied by the Rodear America board of directors.


Rodear America is pleased to offer sanctioning to approved individuals or organizations interested in hosting a Rodear event.

For complete information, please visit the sanctioning page.