• Open and Second Division Barrel Race Event is open to Female contestants only. (Junior event may be Female or Male - see notes below)
  • Contestants must run in a Clover Leaf Pattern.
  • Western dress & equipment must be used (Open & Second Division)
  • All equipment and how it is used must be in keeping with the NZRCA rules and regulations.
  • Fastest qualified time wins the event.
  • Contestants can only run the course once (no re-runs are permitted)



After crossing the start line the contestant heads for the first barrel and makes a sharp turn around it. She then heads for the second barrel and after another sharp turn around that, she heads for the third. After a final sharp turn around the third barrel she heads directly for home as fast as possible. With each turn around the barrel the contestant must cross over their own tracks.

The run is complete and the clock stopped when the contestant crosses the finish line and breaks the beam of the electronic timers that started the run. The fastest qualified time wins the event.

A standard clover pattern (as per diagram below) is used for the Barrel Race Event. Contestants may choose to take either the left hand or right hand barrel first and then continue in a clover leaf pattern as illustrated.

If a contestant knocks over a barrel during a run then a 5 second penalty is added to their final time for each barrel knocked over. The contestant is allowed to touch the barrel to prevent it from falling.
Barrel contestants are permitted to wear riding helmets (instead of Western style hat) if they choose to do so. Junior competitors must wear a approved riding helmet.



How a rider can be disqualified:

  • if they cross their tracks more than the 3 times
  • if they are not in the arena gate 30 seconds after the flag is up
  • if they cross the start/finish line without completing the cloverleaf pattern


A Junior Barrel race is available for both male and females under 15 yrs of age. Western saddles are not compulsory in the Junior Event nor is being an NZRCA member.

Many Rodeo clubs also run a Local Barrel Race, please contact clubs for their rules for the Local Barrel Race Event.

Distances between barrels may differ from the above diagram if the size of the arena requires it.