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Qualifying for the National Finals

NCA Sanctioning. The NCA sanctions three classes: (1) Open, (2) Nursery and (3) Intermediate.  The eligibility requirements for each class are described below.  Because each trial is controlled by the individual trial host, all classes may not be offered at every trial.  Trials may include additional non-sanctioned classes such as Rancher, Pro-Novice, Novice or Beginner.  The qualifications for these classes are left up to the trial host.

The NCA charges a sanctioning fee ($4.00) for each dog run in a sanctioned class.  These funds are used to help put on the National Cattledog Association National Finals.

NCA Points.  Qualifying points for Regional and National Finals are awarded by the NCA in each sanctioned class. Provided that there are at least 4 dogs in the class, points are awarded to the top placing 30% and the top placing dog or team receives points equal to 30 times the number of dogs in the class. Each dog or team in second place will receive 100 points less than the first place dog or team. Third place and below will each receive 100 points less than the place above until there are no points.

For example, in a class of 19, 6 dogs or teams will earn points and there will be 570 points awarded to first place:

1st – 570

2nd – 470

3rd – 370

4th – 270

5th – 170

6th –  70

Point totals are kept by the NCA office and listed on the website.

Open Class.  Any dog of any age may compete in the Open class. Dogs who have competed in the Open class may not be eligible to compete in some non-sanctioned classes at some trials.

Any handler may compete in the Open class.  A handler who has competed in an NCA sanctioned Open class is not eligible to compete in the Intermediate class.

Nursery Class. Only dogs that are younger than 30 months (2.5 years) at the beginning of the qualifying season (April 1) are eligible to compete in the Nursery class.  In other words, for the 2018 National Finals, eligible dogs must have been born on or after October 1, 2014.

Any handler may compete in the Nursery class.

Intermediate Class. The Intermediate class is limited to handlers who are not competing in the Open class.  Any dog may compete in the Intermediate class.  Effective August 1, 2013, an Intermediate handler may acquire a dog of any level at any time during the qualifying year and make that dog part of his/her Intermediate team. However, once a dog is part of an Intermediate team, it must, during that qualifying year, be run only by that handler to maintain the Intermediate eligibility of that team.

Unlike in the Open and Nursery classes, where points are earned by the dog and may be transferred with the dog to a new owner or handler, in the Intermediate class points are awarded to the handler/dog team.

At the end of a qualifying year, unless they attend and compete in the National Finals, the top two Intermediate point earning handlers are no longer eligible for the Intermediate class.  The champion and reserve champion Intermediate handlers at the national finals are no longer eligible for the Intermediate class.

Regional Finals. Regional Finals champions in all classes are automatically qualified for the National Cattledog Association National Finals. If there are more than 10 dogs in a class at the finals competition, the reserve champion is also automatically qualified for the National Finals.

National Finals. Points earned during the qualifying year determine eligibility for the National Cattledog Association National Finals.  Handlers are limited to two (2) dogs per class.

  1. Open class:  50 dogs will compete in the National Finals Open class.  A handler may apply to compete in the National Finals Open class with any dog that has earned points in an Open class during the qualifying year.  The 50 highest point earning dogs  entered will compete.
  2. Nursery Class:  30 dogs will compete in the National Finals Nursery class.  A handler may apply to compete in the National Finals Nursery class with any Nursery age dog that has earned points in a Nursery or Open class during the qualifying year.  The 30 highest point earning dogs entered will compete.  A qualified dog may compete in both the Open and Nursery classes.
  3. Intermediate class:  45 teams will compete in the National Finals Intermediate class.  A handler may apply to compete in the National Finals Intermediate class with any eligible dog with which he/she has earned points in an Intermediate class during the qualifying year.  The 45 highest point earning teams who enter will compete.
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