The West Australian Team Penners Association Inc promotes the sport of Team Penning which encourages the mixing of all age groups, abilities and skill levels within a fun, social, yet competitive atmosphere. The WATPA was born in West Australia in August 2009. Our emphasis is family fun, playing with our horses and cattle in a controlled environment. This would have to be the cheapest horse sport the whole family can enjoy.
Our inaugural event was in October, 2009 and from that event on we have relied on sponsorships to furnish our prize pool. We are totally grateful to our sponsors and promote and advertise their products whenever we can. Sponsors and donators are given a link on this website and event sponsors are given advertising in the form of banners and announcements at our club events.
We expect to run about 5 to 8 events a year on a monthly basis (with breaks in winter and summer) at whatever venues we can find, North, South or East of Perth. Everyone is welcome – it’s a great spectator sport and watching is free. Our membership season runs from the 1st of September to the 31st of August. So get your membership in and start having some fun!
**UPDATE** As of December 2015 we also have Ranch Sorting events, another great cattle sport!
What is Team Penning?
Team Penning (also called Team Yarding) evolved from the common job of separating cattle into pens for branding, doctoring or transport. It is one of the fastest growing cattle sports in the US and is also growing quite well here in Australia.
Today, it is an exciting event that provides a team of three riders 2 minutes to cut out three same colour collared cattle from the herd and pen into a yard located at the opposite end of the arena, making sure no more than 5 cattle cross over the half way line at any time.
The herd can range from 18 head to 30 head of cattle and judges ensure that the colours are rotated fairly amongst the various teams. Team work is the key with all three riders required to work in harmony to cut out the correct cattle and drive them to the pen at the opposite end of the arena while keeping the wrong coloured cattle back. Sounds easy doesn’t it?
What is Ranch Sorting?
Ranch Sorting started in the USA years before fences, when cattle grazed freely on the open ranges of America.
Cowboys from surrounding ranches worked together to round up cattle for branding or for sale. Once the cattle were circled in a herd, horsemen from the various ranches would slowly enter into the herd to sort out the desired cattle, and then ease (sort) the selected cow to the outskirts of the herd.
Eleven head of cattle (ten are numbered) are placed in one round pen and two contestants sort and move ten head of cattle in numerical order through the ‘gate’ and into the second round pen within the sixty second time limit – the team with the most cattle sorted in the time wins.
The evolution to the figure eight round pen set up is no accident, it allows the event to be run in many varied locations where the cattle are contained, the pace slower, both horses and cattle are easier to control and above all else offers a safe environment for expert and novice alike.
The emphasis is not on how much your horse and gear costs but how much fun you can have doing it! For sure, people will aspire to be more and more competitive and with that dedication will come the better horse and gear but for the people that want an avenue to enjoy their horse and work with cattle, ‘run what ya brung’ – it just has to be maintained and safe!
Just like Team Penning, Ranch Sorting is experiencing exploding growth worldwide. This a great opportunity for horse enthusiasts at all levels, from Novice to Professional, to have a go at this fun family event.