To return to top of page use your browser's back button

USBCHA Bylaws and Rules for Sheepdog Trials



Article I     Name & Place
Article II   Objectives
Article III   Income & Property
Article IV  Types of Membership
Article V   Directors
Article VI   President
Article VII  Vice President
Article VIII  Secretary-Treasurer
Article IX   Audit Report
Article X   Authority to Sign Checks
Article XI   Directors Meetings
Article XII  Annual Meetings
Article XIII  Termination of Membership
Article XIV  Amendment of By-Laws
Article XV   Proxy voting
Article XVI Qualifying for National


SECTION 1:    Membership  
  Sanctioning Trials
SECTION 3:  Deleted See Part II after Section 31
SECTION 4:  Deleted See Part II after Section 31
SECTION 5:  Open & Nursery Finals
  Competency of Judges
Sheepdog Rules

Click Here for
Cattledog Rules

Rules -Continued

SECTION 7:  Instructions to Judges
SECTION 8.  Contestants
  Course Director
Time Keepers
Amending Rules
SECTION 13: National Finals Secretary
  Running Order
  Humane Rules
SECTION 20:  Scores
  Dress Code
SECTION 22: Course/Point Description
SECTION 23: International Gather
International Drive
International Shed
International Penning
Touching Sheep
: Nursery Rules
Part II
:  Standards of Conduct, Protest/Complaint              and Disciplinary Procedures



The name of this association shall be the United States Border Collie Handler’s Association, Inc., hereinafter called the Association.

The principle place of business shall be 2915 Anderson Lane, Crawford, TX 76638, but its members or officers may be residents of any state, territory or country, and business may be carried on at any place convenient to such members or officials as may be participating.


The objectives of this Corporation shall be to collect and preserve the history of the Border Collie dog, to promote the breed through obtaining, maintaining and disseminating information pertaining to their breeding and training as working dogs; to promote dog trials, exhibitions, publicity for the breed, and to work specifically for the improvement and preservation of Border Collies as working dogs.


The income and property of this Association shall be applied solely towards the promotion of the objectives of the Association directly or indirectly, as a dividend, bonus or as a profit to the members of the Association. However, nothing shall prevent the proper sum being paid to any official, servant or member of the Association in return for services actually rendered to the Association; or the presentation by the Association to any member any prize or prize money earned by the member in any trial or other competitive event duly promoted and held by the Association in accordance with its objectives; or the presentation to any person or organization, by payment or award, for special services rendered to the Association.


Members of the Association shall be admitted, retained and expelled in accordance with such rules and regulations as the Board of Directors may, from time to time adopt. Membership shall be of three categories:

1. GENERAL MEMBERS: Shall consist of those persons who have run a dog in any trial, (i.e. Novice, Pro-Novice or Open) sanctioned by this Association within two (2) years. Any person holding a general membership shall have the right to vote at all meetings of members regularly called, either in person or by proxy, provided such member has paid to the Association the set amount of the annual dues in the amount of twenty five dollars ($25.00) for General Membership preceding the Annual Meeting.

2. LIFE MEMBERS: Shall consist of those persons who qualify for General Membership, and in addition thereto, pay a one time fee of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) and no annual fee thereafter shall be required. Life members shall have the right to vote at all meetings of members regularly called, either in person or by proxy.

3. ASSOCIATE MEMBERS: Shall consist of those persons who are interested in being members of the Corporation and receiving information disseminated by it. Said members shall pay an annual associate member fee in the amount of twenty five dollars ($25.00). Associate Members shall have no right to vote on any matter.

All fees required by the Association shall be payable in United States funds.


The Board of Directors of the Association shall consist of twenty-three (23) Directors. Each of the ten (10) Districts to be represented by two (2) Directors. Each Director elected shall be domiciled within the district he or she represents by actual residence therein. The remaining three (3) Directors shall be elected from the membership at large without any restrictions as to that person residing within any particular district. To be eligible for election to and serve on the Board, an individual must be a member in good standing of the Association as a General or Life member.

The term of office for each District Director is two years. Terms are staggered so that one (1) Director term from each district expires at the end of each year. There are three Directors At Large. One (1) Director at large term expires at the end of each alternating third year.

In the event of the death, inability of a director to serve, or a director moves out of the district which that director represents, the person who received the next greatest number of votes from that district in the previous election will be appointed to serve the remainder of that director's term, provided that individual still meets all of the criteria to serve as a director. In the event that there is no additional candidate the President will appoint a member from that district to finish out the term."

The eight (8) districts of the United States for determining Directors shall be as follows:
1 - Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii
2 - Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah
3 - Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas
4 - Arizona, New Mexico, Texas
5 - Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana
6 - Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, District of Columbia
7 - New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine,
8 - Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia

The two (2) districts of Canada for determining Directors shall be as follows:
9 - Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Quebec
10 - British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan

The Board of Directors shall select from the membership, the President, Vice President and a Secretary-Treasurer to serve for a period of two (2) years.


The election of Directors shall be conducted by mail ballot. No later than 100 days before each Annual Meeting, the Secretary-Treasurer shall mail nominating forms to all members in good standing, soliciting nominations to fill all directorships which are due to expire at the end of that year, and stating that nominations must be received in the HA Office on a date at least sixty (60) days prior to the Annual Meeting. No later than forty-five (45) days before each Annual Meeting, the Secretary-Treasurer shall mail to each member in good standing a ballot listing all of the nominees for each position for which that member is eligible to vote, in alphabetical order. So that the ballots may remain secret, each voter shall place his or her marked ballot in a sealed, blank envelope, and place that blank envelope into an envelope addressed to the Secretary-Treasurer, with a legible return address and marked with the word "Ballot," and shall sign his or her name on the back of the outer envelope so membership can be verified. The Secretary-Treasurer, or her designee, shall check the returns against the list of members in good standing prior to opening the outer envelopes and removing the blank envelopes, and shall then pass the blank envelopes on to the tellers to be counted. The results of the voting shall be announced at the Annual Meeting. Ballots faxed to the HA Office on or before the voting deadline shall be deemed valid and counted, provided they are signed so that membership can be verified. There shall be no voting by proxy for Directors."


The President of the Association shall preside at all meetings of the Association and of the Board of Directors. He shall be an ex-officio member of all committees and shall perform such other duties as usually pertain to this office.


The Vice-President shall perform all the duties of the President in the absence of the President.


The Secretary-Treasurer shall give due and proper notice of all meetings of the Association and the Board of Directors and shall record the proceedings of same. The Secretary-Treasurer shall have charge of the Association’s office, shall receive all monies and keep an accurate account thereof, and make such reports of the receipts and disbursements in such form and manner as the Association may direct.


An Audit will be conducted by a Certified Public Accountant to examine the financial records of the Association each year. The audit shall be conducted prior to the Annual Meeting of the membership and the Audit Report shall be given by the Treasurer at each Annual Meeting.


All checks drawn on the funds of the Association shall be signed in the name of the Association by the Secretary-Treasurer. If required by the Board of Directors, the Secretary-Treasurer shall give a surety bond at the expense of the Association.


PLACE AND NOTE OF DIRECTORS MEETINGS: Regular and Special Meetings of the Board of Directors may be held upon notice sent by any usual means of communication, not less than five (5) days before said meeting. The business to be transacted and the purpose of all special meetings of the Board of Directors shall be specified in the notice or waiver of notice of such special meeting. Notice of an adjourned meeting need not be given if the time and place are fixed at the meeting adjourning so long as the period of adjournment does not exceed ten (10) days in any one (1) adjournment.

Action taken by a majority of the Directors or members of a Committee without a meeting is nevertheless Board or Committee action if written consent to the action in question is signed by all the Directors or members of the Committee, as the case may be, and filed with the minutes of the proceedings of the Board or Committee, whether done before or after the action is taken.

If a meeting of Directors otherwise valid is held without proper call or notice, action taken at such meeting otherwise valid is deemed ratified by a Director who did not attend unless promptly after having knowledge of the action taken and of the impropriety in question, said Director files with the Secretary or Assistant Secretary of the Association that Directors written objection to the holding of meeting or to any specific action so taken.

Any one or more Directors or members of a Committee may participate in a meeting of the Board or Committee by means of a conference telephone or similar communications device which allows all persons participating in the meeting to hear each other and such participation in a meeting shall be deemed present in person at such meeting.

A Member of the Board of Directors may vote by proxy, by assigning his proxy to another Director to vote, or the Director may provide specific instruction to the holder of this proxy as to how his proxy shall be voted.


An annual meeting of the members shall be held for transaction of any business which may regularly come before the HA . Members shall be given at least fifteen (15) days notice of such meeting.


Membership in the USBCHA is a privilege, not a right. Membership may be terminated or rejected by the BOD for cause detrimental to the interest of the USBCHA, its trials, policies and/or objectives. Termination under this article shall be conducted under the HA Disciplinary Procedures for notice, hearing and temporary suspensions.


These By-Laws may be amended at any Annual Meeting provided, however, that notice of the intention to amend these by-laws and the substance of such amendment shall have been submitted to HA Office at least ninety (90) days prior to such meeting and mailed to each eligible member of the HA by mail at least 45 days prior to such meeting. The approval of two-thirds (2/3) of the members present and those voting by proxy shall be required for adoption of any amendment.


Any member in good standing wishing to vote on any specific matter relating to the Association may do so by mailing a proxy expressing his wishes, properly witnessed and signed, to the Secretary-Treasurer at least thirty (30) days before the Annual or Special Meeting of the Association. Proxies may be voted on only by members in good standing or by designated individuals indicated on the proxy statement.  This Article does not apply to the election of Directors, which must be conducted in accordance with the procedure set forth in Article V.



The top placing 20% of all dogs competing in a sanctioned trial  run on sheep/goats will acquire points based on the total number of dogs running in each trial. Dogs may accumulate points from their top five point placing trials in the qualifying year. After the cut off date, anyone may send their entry for the National Finals to the HA Secretary, who will accept the top 150 point earning dogs who enter. In the event of a tie, all dogs tied at the 150 dog level will be accepted.  No more than two dogs per handler may be entered. Points will be based on the following chart:

# of Entries 20 % # of Dogs 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th  . . .
10 2.0 2 dogs 2.0 1.0        
15 3.0 3 dogs 3.0 2.0 1.0      
28 5.6 6 dogs 5.6 4.6 3.6 2.6 1.6 .6

*This chart is based on the following formula: (.2 times A) - (B) where A is the number of dogs in the trial and B is the number of dogs placing higher than the placing in question.


The Board of Directors has passed provisions entitled "Part II: STANDARDS OF CONDUCT - PROTEST/COMPLAINT AND DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES. These provisions replace what were Section 3 and Section 4 of the Rules. As an interim step, we have deleted Sections 3 and 4 and placed what will become Part II of the reorganized Rules at the end of the Rules on the website. The Rules Committee is currently working on the remainder of the Rules, which we will post as soon as approved by the Board of Directors.


A. Dues are payable on January lst. Any member who does not reinstate by January lst or any member who resigns by notifying the USBCHA (HA) Secretary of his intent in writing, will automatically become a member in arrears.

B. Members will receive the HA Newsletter.

C. Members will have the right to vote on matters brought before the membership.

D. Only members in good standing shall earn points to participate in the National Open and Nursery class finals. To participate in the HA National Finals one must also be a member in good standing of the American Border Collie Association Registry.

E. Members will receive a current copy of the rulebook.

F. Any Director may, at his discretion, collect membership dues. It will be the responsibility of the collector to forward monies to the HA office immediately.

G. By the act of paying membership dues, members accept all rules contained herein and rules and/or policies hereafter adopted by the Board of Directors (BOD).

H. By the act of paying membership dues, or entry fees to HA sanctioned events participants waive all claims against the trial management, or HA, for injuries he or she, or their property may sustain in any HA sanctioned event.

I. The HA assumes no responsibility for injury or damage to the person, property or animals of any owner, contestant or assistant at a HA sanctioned event.

J. As a condition of membership, all member-participants in HA sanctioned trials or HA approved special events, effected in any manner whatsoever by a decision of the BOD or any person or committee authorized by the BOD to handle disciplinary matters, hereby releases the HA, their affiliated, related, or subsidiary companies, their officers, directors, and employees, Hearing Committee members jointly and severally, individually and in the official capacity, of and from any and all claims, demands, damages, and causes of action whatsoever, in law or equity, rising out of or in connection with any individual committees to whom disciplinary matters may be authorized by the BOD or by a Hearing Committee.

K. All members shall receive a copy of minutes of ALL meetings, including all BOD meetings / Conference Calls. This may be done by direct mail, e-mail, Facsimile or by publishing them.

L. Facsimile transactions and email communications are acceptable forms of communication provided such form of communication can be confirmed by a "hard copy". (I.e.- a printed copy of email or a return acknowledgment of received fax.)

M. All HA members are responsible for reading and knowing the prevailing rules of the HA as well as those provided by management of individual trials in which they participate. Failure to know these rules is not an acceptable excuse.

N. Any member or non-member placed on suspension shall not be permitted to compete in any trial during the period of his suspension or event sanctioned by the HA. Any event that allows such suspended individuals to enter the trial will not be sanctioned by the HA.

O. Members may file protest (see Section 3 for procedure)

P. For further rights, privileges and possible loss of privileges see Section 4: Discipline.

Q. All handlers must be a current paid member of USBCHA before the handler’s dog receives qualification points for the Finals,

R. No eye test is required at the National Finals.

A. These rules and regulations apply only to HA sanctioned trials and approved events.

B.  New trial hosts, as well as existing hosts, must apply for sanctioning to the HA Secretary at least thirty (30) days prior to the trial entry opening date. They must specify the number of trials to be offered in each sanctioned class (e.g., 2 Open trials and 2 Nursery trials). If the HA Secretary deems it necessary, an Approval Trial Committee will review the request and either approve or disapprove. Errors or omissions by the trial host may be waived by the Trial Approval Committee and their decision will be final. All trial information must be published prior thirty (30) days prior to the trial opening date on the USBCHA website for Upcoming Trials. Trial information should include trial name and dates, contact name, phone number, email or web site address, and location. Upon request, the HA may furnish local district mailing addresses to the trial host.

                                     Subject: USBCHA trial management recommendations

 The sport of sheep dog trailing in the US is growing at an exponential rate. New trials are popping up all over the country and as the sport grows we have many new folks involved and many 1st time trial managers learning the ropes. The following is a list of livestock management recommendations endorsed by the USBCHA to be used as a guide by trial managers in order to facilitate a smooth running event.


The most important facet of any trial are the sheep. Their handling, care during the trial, management in the set out and exhaust pen will make or break the success of many runs. Availability of sheep is often a challenge , esp. for trial managers in the eastern part of the country. If sheep numbers are limited it is often the case that the sheep need to be re run several times during the day in order to accommodate all the dogs entered. There are limits to the number of times a sheep can be used in a trial. This will be dictated by many factors including:
temperature, length of the outrun and course condition of the sheep( dry ewes being more durable than lambs or recently weaned sheep).

There is the conception that hair sheep and lighter breeds are more capable of running several times during a day. This is only true to a point. Extreme heat, large courses are just as tiring for fast moving " light " hair sheep as they are to heavy wool breeds. 

 It is recommended that any sheep not run more than 3 times during a single day.


.Dog trailing is a sport full of "luck of the draw" situations so it falls to the trial manager to try, as best he can, to level the playing field; to try to reduce the variations in draw, to make the groups of sheep as uniform as possible.

 The care  sheep receive in the set out and exhaust pen is paramount.

 There are many possible designs for a set out system. Topography, available equipment, visibility from the post, ease of sheep movement and set out and available help will all influence the location and design.

The ideal set out has a couple of pens to hold the waiting sheep, a pen large enough to hold 3 or 4 runs worth of sheep followed by 2 pens in series, large enough to hold a run each. There will be shade, water and hay feeders available. If the pens are designed well then one person will be able to sort and release sheep to the set out person efficiently. Properly designed pens do NOT require a dog to move sheep through them. If the set out post is close enough then often one person can do all the work at the top. The location of the set out post varies between classes and should be far enough from the holding pens to eliminate the draw back to the sheep in the pen. If topography allows it is beneficial to have the set out post out of sight from the holding pen. 

 There should also be a reject/ injured /return pen at the set out and exhaust. This will be used for sheep that break back to the set out during the run or at set out, for injured sheep or for sheep that are identified as unfit during the trial. It saves sorting these sheep out continuously during the trial, facilitates treatment, avoids accidentally using sheep that should not be run. Any sheep abused by a dog during the trial should not be run again regardless of whether it shows obvious injury or not. Sheep chased, run off the field, crashed into fences, gripped and knocked down all constitute abuse.

Hay and water should be provided.

 If a sufficient number of sheep are available to run the entire day with fresh sheep for each run then the sheep should split and the afternoons sheep not brought to the set out till the middle of the day. This means that no sheep will be held in the set out all day waiting to run.

In the event that sheep are set from a stock trailer then they should have a sufficient area in which to rest and feed between runs. 

The set out itself is often a major determining factor in the success of a run. Sheep must be handled in a calm workman -like way both in the pens and during the set out. Sheep that are roughed up, crowded, abused by a dog in the pens, mishandled to load into the chutes and then fought with on their way to the set out post are not "winning sheep" for the handler standing at the post. Set out help is often selected from the handlers attendant. A good rule of thumb is to limit the dog handlers at the top to experienced handlers and dogs. The opportunity to set sheep is NOT a venue for training or to take the edge off a " hot " dog. While Novice handlers are often keen to set sheep at a trial it is not always conducive to have inexperienced help in this job. Rather, have the less experienced volunteers work in the pen, sorting and loading sheep WITHOUT a dog. Given proper guidance and support it is a much better way to use help and to aid in the education of the less experienced handlers.  Likewise a crew of kids in the set out pen may seem like a cheap option but is often disastrous to the well being of the sheep. Less is more when it comes to help at the top and properly designed pens and some ground rules as to how the job will be done are necessary to have the job go well and the help stay happy. 

Some trials have enough budget to hire set out crews. Regardless if they are paid or volunteer be sure to keep them well fed and watered, provide water for dogs and horses and to keep in contact with radios.

Several good radios and plenty of batteries are a must.


 Exhaust pens must consider many of the same details as the set out. Water and hay for sheep, room to rest, multiple pens to avoid re running sheep too soon. The sheep in the exhaust should not be visible from the field. Cheap plastic snow fencing is a popular choice to reduce visibility.  The entrance to the exhaust should be designed as to facilitate removal of sheep from the field quickly. Often a separate gate for the handler and dog is included.  Plenty of fresh water for the dogs and sheep is a must.

If possible sheep should be given the maximum amount of time to rest between runs . This often is best served by having multiple pens in the exhaust area. Sheep may then be held separately during the running so that the earlier run sheep re run 1st , giving the later run sheep time to rest and recover. 


 Water may be provided on the course for competing dogs if humidity, temperature, elevation or a combination of conditions apply. Handlers may send the competing dog to water at their discretion with no loss of points. Time will not be stopped. The judge may call a run, with points held to that point, if they deem the dog or sheep are in distress.

Plenty of marking crayons or spray at both ends of the field.
Basic first aid kit.
On call vet in local area
Protocol for dealing with injured sheep

  There are as many ways to put on a trial as there are trials and locations and people involved. Our spectators, our sponsors and our fellow handlers need to be confident that as trial managers we are doing all that is possible to put on a quality event and as our sport gains in popularity it is our responsibility as handlers and as stockmen to keep the welfare of our charges in mind. 

C.  A three (3) dollar per dog sanctioning fee shall be charged for each dog entered in Open and Nursery competition at all sanctioned trials. The one (1) dollar increase will be specifically designated for the National Finals Committee in order to meet expenses. The funds are not considered a loan, and the USBCHA will continue to share in any profits associated with a current year National Finals.

D. The three (3) dollar sanctioning fee, along with the trial results form is to be mailed to the HA Secretary’s office not later than twenty one (21) days after the trial. The HA Secretary will notify the sanctioning committee if trial management fails to abide by this rule.

E. All sanctioned trials must conform to the rules and regulations of the HA. Since both members and non-members who are under suspension are not allowed to participate in any HA sanctioned trials as either the owner of a dog, or as a handler, allowing a suspended member to enter a trial means that the trial will automatically lose its sanctioning. All trials requesting sanctioning will be kept notified of suspended members or non-members of the association.

F. The HA Secretary shall maintain a list of all sanctioned trials, and shall publish on the USBCHA website the number of trials to be run in each sanctioned class during the course of the overall trial.

G.  On request, HA secretary will send judging sheets as long as supply last.  It is not essential that trial host use the HA judging sheets.  You may download judging sheets off Home page.

H. H. Eligibility for Sanction
      (1) Trials sanctioned by other national or international organizations, including but not limited to the    American Kennel Club, the American Herding Breed Association, and the Australian Shepherd Club of America, are ineligible for sanctioning by the USBCHA.
       (2)Trials hosted or sponsored by, affiliated with, or benefiting any organization which advocates or supports conformation breeding or showing of Border Collies, and trials held in conjunction with any event sanctioned or sponsored by such an organization, are ineligible for sanctioning by the USBCHA.

I.   Must have 10 entries in an Open class to be a sanctioned class.

A Trial Committee will be appointed annually for the USBCHA/ABCA National Open and National Nursery Sheepdog Finals.  At least one-half of the members of this committee shall be appointed by the HA President, and up to half may be designated by the ABCA.  This committee shall have the power to make decisions regarding the interpretation and/or administration of any rule in question, the laying out of the course, and in general, supervise the running of that trial.   Minutes shall be taken of all meetings of the Sheepdog Finals Committee (with the exception of meetings held at the trial site for the purpose of resolving questions about the trial course and conduct of the trial), and copies of those minutes shall be furnished to the Board of Directors and posted on the HA website in a timely manner.

B. Trial Committee may appoint a non-contesting HA member to act as liaison between contestants and trial management.

C. All questions and disputes in connection with the National Trial not already settled by the judge(s) or Trial Committee shall be decided by the BOD whose decision shall be final and binding and not subject to Court of Law. Five (5) board members shall be a quorum.

D. In all cases of dispute, the trial will proceed without delay under existing USBCHA rules. Any contestant or person connected with the contestant altercating or arguing with judges will be disqualified from that run, fined and suspended from any further USBCHA trials, until further notice.

E. Every person who is suspended by the Trial Committee for unsportsmanlike conduct at the trial shall stand as suspended by the HA upon official notice to the HA from the Trial Secretary or Trial Chairman of any such disciplinary action. Fine or penalty will be assessed in accordance to the severity of the rule infraction.

F. Entries must be postmarked on or before August 1st. If entries are not accepted the entry fee will be returned.  Must notify trial secretary before the Finals begin (first dog to the post) in order to switch to an alternate listed dog on entry form provided the alternate has qualifying equal to the top 150.  After the date of closing and the legal run order draw for the USBCHA National Finals has been made, the secretary of USBCHA will be authorized to fill vacancies for accepted run order handler withdraws by allowing the next handler with the highest number of points be admitted to the run order until the 150 dog limit has been met. The secretary will be allowed to fill vacancy openings until 5:00 pm in the finals time zone the day prior to the first open run

G. Scores from the first qualifying round at the National Open Finals and the scores from the Semi Final round will not be added together to determine the entries qualifying for the Final round. Only scores from the Semi Finals will be used.

H. Placings in the Final round for dogs that have retired, or have been disqualified shall be determined by the Judge(s) immediately upon the conclusion of the trial.

I. Qualifying for the National Open Finals

a. Method of qualifying is described in ARTICLE XVI of the HA Bylaws.

b. Points will be awarded to dogs according to their placings in the go around that included all the dogs entered. Points will be awarded to all dogs allowed to run regardless of trial rules on the number of dogs that may place at the trial.

c. Trial Hosts should supply the HA Secretary with the following information.

i. Number of dogs that ran in the Open trial.

ii. Actual placings of dogs in go around that included all entered dogs.

Information should include the placing of the top 20% of all dogs competing even if they are not eligible for placing in the trial.

J. Election of judges for the Sheepdog Finals.  Eight months prior to the National finals the Lifetime and General paid members may nominate judges for the Sheep and Cattle National Finals.  Nomination form will be posted on web site.   Members must contact and obtain the consent of persons they wish to nominate.  Seven months prior to the Finals, the Secretary shall mail ballots to all USBCHA and ABCA directors, on which the names of all the nominees submitted by the directors are listed.  Each director shall vote for as many nominees as he or she chooses.  Directors shall indicate their preferences by writing next to the name of their first choice a number equal to the total number of nominees, writing next to their second choice the next-lowest number, and so on until they have voted for all the nominees they wish to vote for.  (For example, if there are a total of 8 nominees, directors will write the number 8 next to their first choice, 7 next to their second choice, 6 next to their third choice, and so on.)   Ballots shall be returned to the Secretary at least 6 months prior to the Finals, and the Secretary shall total the numbers assigned to each nominee by all the directors and, after confirming their willingness to serve, shall notify the directors of the nominees receiving the highest total, who shall be deemed elected.  If for any reason an elected judge cannot serve, the nominee receiving the next highest number of points shall be substituted.

K.  Must elect at least one North American judge for the National Finals.  At least one of the National Finals Judges would, although all could, be at the minimum one year resident of North America. 
No judge may  be used for the Cattle or Sheep Dog finals that are on an AKC approved judging list

L.  Eligibility to run in the USBCHA Open and Nursery Sheepdog Finals is limited to citizens of the United States and/or Canada, and to non-citizens who have been physically present in the United States and /or Canada for at least nine months of the qualifying year for the Finals they seek to enter, and who have not run in the National sheepdog or Cattledog trial of any other country during the same calendar year as the Finals they seek to enter other than the USBCHA National Finals and the CBCA Canadian National Championships.

M.  Eye exams:  Eye exam is no longer required in order to run in the National Finals. 

O.  No judge can judge more than three times in five years.  No person can judge the finals two years in a row.

P.  Any time during the running of a class at the National Finals, one of the judges becomes disabled in any way that we drop all of this judges previous scores and continue with the other judge to the end of that go-round

    At the National Finals there will always be water available on the field so the dogs can cool themselves and that handlers are allowed to direct their dogs to the water and the dogs may use the water with no points penalty. Handlers may not leave the post to go to the water with their dog. If the handler is on the way to or in the shedding ring or on the way to the pen they may detour to the water. The clock will not be stopped. Handler and dog are still being judged on the actions of the stock and anything that the stock do may cause a loss of points or if the stock leave the trial area disqualification. The HA recommends that all HA sanctioned trials adopt this rule.     

R. Any judge that feels that a dog is not capable of continuing with his run because he is showing signs of stress should disqualify that dog and handler. This would include over heating, lameness or demonstrated inability to do the work required.

A. When by a two thirds (2/3) vote of the BOD, the Board rules a certain individual is deemed incompetent to judge HA sanctioned trials, that person shall not judge any HA sanctioned trials/events for a period set by the BOD.

A. Judges judging the USBCHA/ABCA National Finals trial should read and follow "Instructions to Judges" listed within the body of the USBCHA Rule Book

B. Every Judge accepting an invitation to act at any of the Associations sponsored trials will be held, by his acceptance, to have given an undertaking that he will judge strictly according to the rules laid down by the Association and that he will not favor any dog, man or country.

C. A judge shall conduct himself in a manner fitting and proper to one afforded the honor of officiating at any Association approved or sponsored trial. Any misconduct on the part of the judge at any Association trial, the use of abusive language showing favoritism to, or discrimination against, either an individual or a dog performing in the trial, or any other action unbecoming to one in his position, either on the grounds or elsewhere during the entire trial, will make the judge subject to disciplinary action.

D. Judges are encouraged to read and follow International rules.

E. Under no circumstances will a published judge be permitted to enter the trial for which said judge was approved.

F. A judge shall not discuss with any contestant previous scores, events, or related happenings during a trial.

G. A judge shall not intimidate, or attempt to intimidate, a contestant. The penalty for violating this subsection will be a minimum of six (6) months suspension from the Association.

H. Each Judge’s points for each competitor shall be recorded by the secretary on score sheets supplied to them, which shall be aggregated by the secretary and double checked by a secretarial assistant.

I. Judges are required to review each score sheet at the completion of the run to insure accurate point deductions.

J. Judges may not be changed after a trial begins except in cases of sickness of injury. The trial committee is then responsible for appointing a new Judge.

K. See Section 3, G.

L. If any trial official or HA Officer/Director witnesses a grievance against a judge, that individual must report it to the HA immediately.

A. Each contestant must be ready when called by the Course Director or an assistant. Anyone failing to answer the call may be disqualified. Contestants should note that while the order of the runs will be strictly followed, unless changes are authorized by the trial committee, the exact timing can not be guaranteed.

B. Any contestant wishing to have the course explained or have any other point clarified must question the Course Director before he starts his run. Contestants can not ask questions once their run is started.

C. By commencing the run, contestants are presumed to understand the course and are expected to follow it.

D. Once contestants start their runs, they are entirely in the hands of the judge. By deviating from the course they are liable for disqualification or point loss as the judge considers suitable having regard for all the circumstances.

E. Any contestant, who receives assistance of any kind while running his dog, may be disqualified. If the contestant is disqualified he shall earn no points. If a contestant is called for expiration of time limit, points earned to that time will count.

F. After being called off, a contestant will cease working his dog and will collect the sheep and remove them from the trial field.

G. Any contestant who retires or leaves the field, without the judge’s permission, will forfeit all points.

H. Any contestant who intentionally harasses the stock after his run will be disqualified at the discretion of the judge in conference with the Course Director and may be subject to further disciplinary action by the HA.

I. Neither contestants nor any others, shall take dogs onto the trial course, before the competition starts except with permission of the Course Director or trial management.

J. No contestant, or other person, shall engage in any form of misconduct or harassment toward trial management, judges, or HA officials. Trial management has the right to disqualify or refuse entry to any contestant or other person for violation of this rule.

K. Any contestant so denied access may request that the regional (district) Directors determine if trial manager’s decision was appropriate, and if it was not, what action should be taken. If either party is dissatisfied with the decision of the regional directors, they may appeal to the BOD, which the Appeal Board may or may not hear at their discretion.

L. A contestant may drop out of any contest due to injury to himself, his dog, or due to sickness/death in his family.

M. A contestant shall not at any time withdraw from any trial he is participating in due to dissatisfaction, grievance with the judge/judges, trial management, or other contestants without forfeiting all money/prizes he may have won in previous runs.

N. If contestant refuses to compete in the finals (except for above mentioned reasons), any money/prizes won will be forfeited. In the event money/prizes have been distributed before the finals, it must be refunded/returned within fifteen (15) days after the refund request is made, or the contestant will be suspended until the money/prizes have been refunded/returned.

O. Should a contestant withdraw from competition, entry fees, or any part thereof, will not be refunded after contest starts. Trial management has the right to establish cutoff dates for trial withdrawal refunds.

P. A contestant shall not enter the trial field at any time with any kind of training device. The trial management, representative, or judge must disqualify a contestant if he enters the trial field with any such equipment, and all entry fees and/or premiums pertaining to said contestant shall be forfeited. Such devices include, but are not limited to, electronic collars, dummy or weighted collars, a leash or rope that is not detached before the dog is sent, or any device used to distract or cause pain to a dog while it is working. The judge has the right to inspect the dog for any violation to this rule.

Q. All handlers must be a current paid member of USBCHA before the handler’s dog receives qualification points for the Finals,

R. Handlers with physical disabilities may be allowed to use tools that are not normally accepted. (binoculars are an example). Handlers needing these tools should notify the judge/trial host of their needs before the trial starts so there are no suprises. The usbcha encourages those with physical handicaps to participate in our sanctioned events and believe that trial host and judges should make reasonable efforts to accomo date these handlers."

A. The Course Director shall be a person selected by the Trials Committee.

B. The Course Directors shall call competitors in their turn according to the program, unless directed otherwise by the Trials Committee.

C. If requested by the competitor before the run starts to explain the course, he shall do so. After the run starts he shall not assist the competitor by giving advice or in any other way.

D. He shall see that each lot of sheep when let out is placed to give each competitor a fair and equal chance.

E. He shall be available at all times during the trial to convey to the competitor any instructions from the judges.

F. He is responsible at all times for keeping the course clear and ensuring that competitors or their dogs are not interfered with in any way while competing.

A. It is the time keepers duty to accurately start the stopwatch at the beginning of each competitor’s run and to promptly call time when the allotted time for the course has expired.

A. If any member institutes litigation in which the HA is included as a defendant in an effort to recover damages, to overturn enforcement or interpretation of the Bylaws, Rules or for any other reason whatsoever, and does not prevail in said litigation by the recovery of all relief requested, said member shall be liable to the HA for its attorney fees, costs of court, and other expenses incurred in connection with such litigation. Venue for any litigation which the HA is included as a defendant shall be determined by the BOD.

A. The BOD shall have the power to repeal, revise, modify or amend the Rules of the HA at any annual or regularly scheduled meeting of the BOD. A simple majority vote by the Directors present shall be binding.

A. The Finals Trial Secretary shall work jointly with the Trial Committee, Course Directors and local trial committee. Trial Secretary shall furnish running order, judge’s sheets; be responsible for checking and posting scores. Secretary will have premium checks ready for disbursement by the end the Finals. The secretary will know at all times who the Course Director is and who is the spokesperson for the trial committee. The secretary will perform duties requested by the course director and/or trial committee spokesperson as is necessary to assure an orderly running of the Finals Trial.

B. The Trial Secretary or her assistants may not divulge information to any contestant about judge’s decisions or his individual preferences in the handling or scoring during the competition.

A. Entry forms must be completed and logged at the Trial Secretary’s office by the entry deadline. Entry fees shall be $200 per dog in Open and $150 per dog in nursery, and must be paid on entry.  
After the date of closing and the legal run order draw for the USBCHA National Finals has been made, the secretary of USBCHA will be authorized to fill vacancies for accepted run order handler withdraws by allowing the next handler with the highest number of points be admitted to the run order until the 150 dog limit has been met. The secretary will be allowed to fill vacancy openings until 5:00 pm in the finals time zone the day prior to the first open run.

A. Any competitor running two dogs will run his/her second dog after all other competitors with two dogs have run their first dog. A handler MAY NOT designate which dog is to run first.

B. To implement this, all handlers with one dog will be drawn randomly, one at a time, and divided alternately into two lots. Entries of handlers with two dogs will be added to the first lot. Entries of the first lot will then be drawn for running order. First dog drawn runs first, second dog drawn runs second, etc. When a handler with two dogs is drawn a second time that entry will be placed in the second lot for re-draw. Upon completion of drawing the first lot, the trial Secretary will randomly draw the second lot to continue the running order.

C. The HA suggests that where trials allow three dogs to compete that the running order be drawn as follows: All handlers with one dog will be drawn and randomly divided into three (3) lots. All handlers with two (2) dogs will be drawn and randomly placed in two of the three lots. All handlers with three (3) dogs will be drawn and added to each of the three (3) lots. Beginning with the first lot each lot shall be drawn to determine the running order.

A. A veterinarian shall be in attendance, or reasonably available at every trial.

B. No stock belonging to either contestant or stock contractor should be confined to vehicles beyond a period of twenty-eight (28) hours. Without being unloaded, properly feed and watered, provided that when animals are carried in conveyances in which they do have proper food, water, space and opportunity to rest, the provision for unloading shall not apply.

C. No sick of injured animals, whether discovered before or after the draw will be permitted to be used in competition. Animals will be inspected and objectionable ones eliminated before drawing. Judges and course directors will be responsible for inspection.

D. Sick or injured dogs will not be allowed to compete at the recommendation of the veterinarian or at the discretion of the judge and course director.

A. If two or more competitors stand equal in total points, the judges shall settle their priority either (1) by their points for the outrun, lift and fetch, or (2) ordering re-trials of any kind, or (3) dividing the prize money involved. In cases of equality where a trophy is at stake and the judges order re-runs, the re-runs will decide not only the trophy but also all cash prizes involved.

Breaking ties between the dogs receiving a score of 0 for their runs on the last day (Double Lift) of the National Finals (because of receiving a RT or DQ) the scores these dogs have earned up until the phase of work which they failed to complete will be used.  These dogs will receive an official score of 0.

A. The judges may stop a dog at any point of his trial and order a re-run if they consider the circumstances warrant such action. The re-run will commence where the original run was stopped and the points scored before stopping takes place will stand.

B. In the case of a re-run being ordered because of a wrong number of sheep having been let out, or sheep being wrongly marked or one or more sheep being unsound for working, the judges shall decide whether the run should be from the beginning or from which point it is to re-start. If decided that the re-run starts at any point other than the beginning, the points scored up to the point of re-run shall stand.

A. All awards announced at any HA trials are subject to correction of any error discovered within two weeks after the trial. Any error that may be discovered will be corrected, and the awards as announced readjusted accordingly. If such is the case, awards may be recalled and will be returned to the trial management.

B. All prizes and awards won at any trial shall be paid within one month after trial.

A. HA official score sheets do not have to be used at all approved trials. On request HA secretary will send judging sheet as long as supply last.  The score sheets are to be retained by the trial secretary for a period of not less than thirty (30) days. Trial secretary may make a copy of judges sheet if requested by competitor.

B. By the conclusion of the trial all scores must be posted with the amount for each deducted, for each phase of work, and the total of points awarded.

A. Contestants (and trial officials) may be required to be properly attired for any competition. Dress should be acceptable for weather and magnitude of occasion. Good judgment should prevail.

(in judging the HA Sanctioned trials judges shall apply the following general rules):


The Course, Scale of Points and Time Limit now fixed by the Directors are set out below. The Trials shall be on 4-5 sheep so selected that each competitor shall receive the same class of sheep if possible. Subject to the reservation that the Course may be altered by the Trials committee, the Trial shall, if possible, be decided on the following Course, Scale of

Preliminary Round  Sheep 4-5 sheep.  Gather 400 yards from handler.  Fetch. Set of gates = 7 yards apart, 150 yards from handler, in the centre of the course.  Drive 450 yards over triangular course, 2 sets of gates = 7 yards apart. First set of gates approximately 150 yards from handler. In the case of a short course, when fetch is less than 400 yards, the drive will be lengthened when possible so that the total length of the fetch and the drive is 850 yards, or as near to thislength as is reasonably practical. Shedding ring 40 yards in diameter. Pen 9 feet x 8 feet wide with a gate 8 feet wide, secured by a rope 6 feet long. The gate must open to not less than 170 degrees.

Semi Final

Sheep 5 sheep (3 unmarked and 2 marked with red collars).  Gather 450-500 yards from handler.Remainder of the course same guildelines.  At the completion of the drive two unmarked sheep will be shed followed by the pen. At the completion of the pen one marked sheep to be singled.

Sheep, 1st packet 10 sheep preferably unseen by dog.  Gathering Approximately 600-800 yards from handler.  Fetch Set of gates = 9 yards wide to a post fixed 20 yards through the gate in the centre of the field.  Sheep, 2nd packet 10 sheep preferably unseen by dog.  Gathering Approximately 800 yards from the handler.  Drive Total of 600 yards on a triangular course with 2 sets of gates = 9 yards apart. First set of gates to be approximately 200 yards from the handler. Shedding Ring 40 yards in diameter.  Pen 9 feet x 8 feet with a gate 8 feet wide to which is secured a rope 6 feet long. The Gate must open to not less than 170  degrees.

(A) OUTRUN (20 points)
From a Position near to the handler who stands at the post, the dog should run out, either right or left, in a cast which is neither too straight nor too wide, arriving behind his sheep at sufficient distance from them not to unduly disturb them. Should the sheep have moved, or be moving from the post the correct end to the outrun should be when the dog is at the head of the sheep and in a position to bring them on to the course. Any deviations from the line, crossing the course, stops, commands given, and any other mistakes will be penalized as the judge thinks fit, in the circumstances.

(B) LIFT (10 points)
Whether the dog has stopped or slowed down his approach should be smooth and steady and he should take control of his sheep in a quiet firm manner. Rash or rough work, slowness of approach necessitating too many commands, and any other faults will be penalized as the judge thinks fit.

(C) FETCH (20 points)
Once the sheep are on the move (lifted) they should be brought at a steady pace through the gates to the handler. The fetch ends when the sheep have been passed around behind the handler and then the drive begins. Over-flanking, unsteadiness, rushing, slowness, too many commands, missing gates, deviation from line, and other faults will all be penalized as the judge thinks fit having regard to the disposition of the sheep and all the circumstances.

(D) DRIVE (30 points)
From the handler in a triangular direction with the dog in quiet firm steady control in straight lines through two gates and back to the shedding ring or pen area as required. Any deviation from line, missing gates, rashness or slowness, too many commands, circling sheep or other faults will be penalized by what the judge considers suitable loss of points having regard to the disposition of the sheep and all other circumstances. An honest attempt must be made for each drive obstacle. If the dog is unable to drive the sheep to, through, or past an obstacle it may not proceed without loss of all remaining points and may be asked to retire. Handler must remain at the post until the sheep enter shedding ring when a shed is required after the drive. When the drive is followed by a pen the handler may proceed to the pen after the sheep have made or missed the final drive obstacle, however, the drive is not completed until the sheep are in the penning area.

(E) SHEDDING (10 points)
Shedding must be done within the ring. Two sheep are to be shed off and the dog must be in control of these two otherwise the shed will not be deemed satisfactory. Judges will apply suitable penalty in the case of ragged work, sheep moving out of the ring, splitting the stock wrongly, when the shed is done by the handler, when opportunity to shed is missed etc. The test here being to ensure that the dog can shed off and control the required sheep.

(F) PENNING (10 points)
On completion of the shed the handler shall proceed to the pen leaving the dog to re-unite the sheep and bring them to the pen. The handler will keep hold of the gate rope (6 ft. long) until the dog works the sheep into the pen. The handler may assist the dog but over assistance should be penalized, as should sheep circling the pen or making breaks away from the pen, unsteadiness, rashness, slackness or any other fault shown by the dog.

(G) SINGLE (10 points)
On releasing the sheep from the pen and closing the gate, the handler returns to the ring leaving the dog to bring the sheep. One sheep is to be shed off and held to the satisfaction of the judge. The shed must be done within the ring by the dog and not the man, and judge must be satisfied that the dog has proved its ability to ‘hold’ the single before they shall indicate their satisfaction. Again rashness, unsteadiness, failure to shed at suitable opportunity, man work etc., shall all be subject to suitable penalty. If the judge decides that because of the disposition and action of the sheep the dog has not been fairly tested, he may order any other sheep to be shed and held. The cut off must be done within the ring but the wearing may be outside or inside the ring, the test being the dog’s ability to hold or completely control a single. The above instructions are applicable to runs on the National Course but are also applicable in the main to the International Course.

The International gather or double lift competition requires a dog to be cast in a predetermined direction to gather the first lot of sheep. The sheep will be brought through the fetch gates to a post located approximately twenty (20) or more yards through the gates. The dog is to leave the sheep at the post and cast out in the opposite direction of the first outrun to gather the second lot of sheep.

When the first lot has been taken through the fetch gate to the post and the dog re-directed for his second lot, the first lot may wander off the course. If so, when the second lot has reached the post (or if more suitable a point nearer the handler) the dog should be sent to bring the first lot back on to the course and to join with the second lot. At no time should sheep be driven off the course to join up with others which have strayed.

Both lots of sheep will be driven around a triangular course consisting of two sets of drive gates and will be completed when the sheep enter the shedding ring.

The unmarked sheep are to be shed off within the ring. The shedding must be done by the sheep being passed between the dog and handler with the dog being brought in to stop and turn back any marked sheep. If the sheep are passed between man and dog in the approved manner, it is occasionally possible to get rid of a considerable number; and provided the dog and man are properly positioned and the dog stops any marked sheep which tries to join with the unmarked lot, this is in order.

There is no rule against the handler changing sides, but judges will assess whether a competitor who does so, or is compelled by circumstances to do so, can be as good as one who does not change over. If a marked sheep escapes to join a group of unmarked sheep, that group must be brought back into the shedding ring and reunited with the remaining sheep before the shedding can proceed.

The five marked sheep shall be penned in the same manner as described in the qualifying trials and so forth.

In any of the Association’s Trials, a handler who touches the sheep shall be penalized by loss of points as the judge thinks appropriate in the circumstances.

In considering "Command" the handler who gives fewest commands and who works his dog quietly shall be preferred to the handler who over-commands and works his dog noisily, regard being had to the circumstances. In the case of a dog, its obedience to commands given shall be the sole consideration. The points for "Command" are included in the points awarded for each phase of work.

Style maybe otherwise defined as a dog’s attitude to his work and his method of doing it. His attention should be on his master’s commands. Inattention, turning away from his sheep, unsteadiness or rashness all amount to poor style and should be penalized. As with command, style is included in the points allowed for each phase of the work.

A dog which grips or bites shall be disqualified if the gripping or biting is of such character and the circumstances are such as to justify disqualification. When gripping or biting occurs, the judge shall decide at once whether to disqualify the competitor. If the judge disqualifies the dog, he shall instruct the Course Director to stop the competitor.

In the event a judge has cause to DQ a competitor he or she must do so by showing a flag to the course director. This is done with no discussion with the other judge[s]. We are looking for independent action from the judges. If the coarse director sees a flag from each judge he will confirm then ask the competitor to retire from the field. If the coarse director does not see a flag from each judge he will leave the contestant on the field. The DQing judge will DQ the contestant on his score sheet and the other judge[s] can keep scoring the contestant..

A competitor whose dog damages sheep shall be liable to pay the damage. The judge may stop a competitor at any point of the trial or withhold any prizes on the ground of insufficient merit.

A) Age requirement:
A dog is eligible for the Nursery Finals if its third birthday falls on or after July 1 of the year in which that  Nursery Final is held. [Any dog born on or after July 1, 2010 is eligible for the 2013 Finals.,
Any dog born on or after July 1, 2011 is eligible for the 2014 Finals.
Any dog born on or after July 1, 2012 is eligible for the 2015 Finals.]

2. Imported dogs are eligible for the USBCHA Nursery ONLY if imported BEFORE they reach one (1) year of age.

B) The handler of the dog must be a current paid member of the USBCHA before he competes to receive qualification. A member can qualify by competing against a non-member as long as all dogs competing comply to the USBCHA guidelines.

C) A dog can compete in any event and retain eligibility.

D) The dog receives qualification, not the owner or handler.

E)  A Nursery dog must place two (2) times in the top twenty percent (20%) (rounded to the nearest whole number) of dogs competing in any Nursery Class of five (5) dogs or more, sanctioned by the USBCHA, to qualified to compete in the Nursery Championship Finals. A Nursery dog that places in the top 20% of a full National style judged Open class counts as a qualifying placing.

F) The nursery dogs must run a full National style course, without the shedding work, in order to be a qualifying class.

G) In the Nursery Championship Finals the scores of the top five (5) dogs from each district will be combined to determine the District Team Championship.

H) No nursery dog may compete in nursery trials after the August 1 cut-off if that dog is not eligible to compete in next year’s Nursery Program.

I) Two dogs per handler limit at the Nursery Championship Finals.

J) No eye test is required for the National Finals.

K)  Number of Nursery Classes Permitted.   

1.  At a trial where no Open classes are offered, only one Nursery class per day may be sanctioned.  

2.  At a trial where Open classes are offered, the total number of Nursery classes sanctioned may not exceed the total number of days that the trial is sanctioned for.  The scheduling of the Nursery classes is at the discretion of the trial host; however, no more than two sanctioned Nursery classes may be run in one day.                                          

L) For sanctioning Nursery trials, see Section 2, B

M) USBHCA Secretary must receive a trial result sheet upon completion of a Nursery trial. The results must be accompanied by a fee of three (3) dollars/entry.


A.    General provisions and principles:
  1. Each competitor, trial host and/or official and judge has the responsibility to read and understand the HA rules and regulations before entering, conducting or officiating an event.. By virtue of their entry in any event in which one or more trials have been sanctioned by the USBCHA, the competitor acknowledges and agrees to comply with the HA rules and regulations, to accept any sanction or penalties that may be imposed in accordance with this Part II for failure to comply, even if the competitor is not a USBCHA member or is not competing in a class or trial sanctioned by the USBCHA. The trial host and judge share in the responsibility for maintaining the USBCHA standards of conduct.

  2. Participants in USBCHA sanctioned events are expected to show a positive, respectful attitude for everyone involved. Disrespect for the judge, trial officials, or other handlers, undermines the sport. The USBCHA will not tolerate conduct that is detrimental to the association, the competition, the dogs, or any participant in the trial. Such conduct includes, but is not limited to: harassment or belittling of the judge or trial officials, physical violence or the threat of physical violence toward anyone at any time at the site of the trial or at any event associated with the trial, or verbal abuse directed toward anyone at any time at the site of the trial or at any event associated with the trial.

  3. Members or participants in USBCHA sanctioned events may be sanctioned for a violation of any USBCHA Bylaw or Rule. Specific rules and sanctions are set forth in Section E of this Part II but nothing in Section E is meant to limit the authority of the BOD to find a violation and impose discipline for a violation of any other rule of the USBCHA.

  4. Nothing in these rules prohibits a Judge or trial host from taking immediate action for observed misconduct. Similarly, a grievance may be filed and action taken by the BOD even if the Judge and/or trial host took no immediate action for observed misconduct. For example, the Judge or trial official may or may not immediately disqualify the handler for improper training, abuse or other rule violations. Whether or not a member was disqualified at the time, a subsequent complaint may be filed and sanctions may still be imposed.

  5. Definitions:

    1. Protest: A protest is a complaint against any trial official or Judge alleging the erroneous application of the rules during the course of a HA sanctioned trial or the incorrect award of any prize. Protests based on what are generally considered as a judgment call of a Judge will not be considered. A protest may only be made by members who were in good standing at the time of the alleged rule violation being protested.

    2. Complaint: A complaint is a formal concern regarding any of a violation of any USBCHA Bylaw or Rule. A member, non-member or judge may file a complaint for any alleged rule violation, but the complainant must have first-hand knowledge of the conduct alleged.

    3. Grievance: A grievance is the collective term used in these rules to refer to either a protest or complaint.

    4. Complainant: The complainant is the individual(s) who files either a protest or complaint.

    5. Respondent: The respondent is the member against whom a protest of complaint is lodged.

    6. Conflict of Interest: Any person who files a grievance, is the subject of a grievance, to the alleged conduct is considered an interested party and may not participate in the investigation (other than as a witness) or in the decision-making by either the committee or the BOD. If a member of the BOD is an interested party, they shall recuse themselves from all deliberation and shall not be included in any communications concerning the grievance. The President or the Disciplinary Committee may raise and rule on any other conflict of interest or perceived conflict of interest that may exist.

    7. HA: refers to the "Handlers' Association" and both terms are short for USBCHA (United States Border Collie Handlers' Association.

    8. BOD or "Board": USBCHA Board of Directors.

    9. Committee: The USBCHA Disciplinary Committee as appointed by the President.

B.     Filing, Response, and Notice Requirements:

  1. Any person desiring to file a grievance (protest or complaint) regarding any alleged violation of these rules may do so by submitting the grievance in writing to the HA President either directly or through HA Secretary's office. The requirements of this paragraph must be met for a grievance to be considered. Failure to meet the requirements will result in dismissal of the protest or complaint.

    1. A letter or email directed to the President or Secretary of the HA must be submitted within 14 days of the alleged violation or the closing of the trial involved, whichever is later. Protests or complaints not filed within 14 days will be dismissed and no extensions shall be granted.

    2. The complaint must state the name of the complainant, contact information (including email), name of individual(s) involved and their contact information, the date and time, location, of the conduct in question, any witnesses and their contact information, and a detailed factual description of the incident. If there are no known witnesses other than the parties, the complainant must so state in the complaint/protest.

    3. A fifty-dollar ($50.00) check. If the protest or complaint is sent by email, the check must be postmarked and sent to the Secretary within 5 days of the email or letter sent pursuant to subsection (a) of this paragraph. Failure to meet this deadline will result in dismissal.

  2. Videos may NOT be used in review of runs when a grievance is filed. This does not limit the use of videos in the review of other conduct or activity that is the subject of a grievance.

  3. Upon receipt of a grievance, the President shall notify the respondent(s) in writing (email or mail) of the grievance against them and shall provide the respondent with a copy of the materials submitted by the Complainant. Respondent shall have 10 days to submit a written response to the President. The response should be sent by mail or email to the President or as otherwise directed by the President and should comply with paragraph 1(b) of this Section.

  4. Time limits stated in days exclude the day of the event that triggers the time period and includes every day (weekends and holidays), ending on the last day of the period. (For example, 10 days commences the day following the event or end of trial as specified and ends on the 10th day.)

  5. Every notice required by these rules may be served by delivering a copy of the notice to the person to be served, or the person's attorney, either in person or by email, or first-class mail to the address set forth in the grievance or, if none, to the last known address as it appears on the HA records. Such notice shall be deemed received by such person when it is deposited in the United States mail or sent electronically.

C.     Disciplinary Hearing Committee Review Process

  1. Unless otherwise specifically provided in these rules, all grievances will be handled according to the procedures set forth in this Section C. Unless otherwise specifically stated in a particular subsection, the process for handling both protests and complaints shall be the same.

  2. The President shall refer a properly filed grievance to the HA Disciplinary Committee. The President has the authority to appoint additional members to the committee from the HA membership or BOD. Committee members must be members of the HA in good standing.

  3. The Disciplinary Committee shall initiate review of the protest or complaint within 14 days of receipt of the grievance from the President. The committee shall promptly notify the parties that they may be heard, in person or by counsel, and may present evidence in their own behalf and refute evidence offered against them. This may be done through the course of the investigation as outlined in paragraph 5, and it is acceptable for the committee or its investigators to meet with the parties by means of a telephone conference call, followed by a written report or recorded statement.

  4. The Disciplinary Committee may delegate two or more members to be the primary investigators of any grievance. The committee shall develop and follow a protocol for the review of all grievances. Such protocol must include the following:

    1. A telephone call to the complainant(s) to obtain additional information about the grievance. The designated primary investigators shall make notes of the call to share with the rest of the committee.

    2. A telephone call to the respondent(s) to obtain additional information about the response to the grievance. The designated primary investigators shall make notes of the call to share with the rest of the committee.

    3. The committee shall ask the parties for witnesses to the alleged conduct. All necessary witnesses will be contacted and asked to provide either written statement of their observations of the incident or shall be interviewed by the investigator(s).

    4. All interviews, whether in person or telephonic shall be conducted by at least two members of the Committee.

  5. The assigned investigators shall prepare a brief written report to submit to the committee for its initial determination. The committee shall meet (electronically or telephonically) to discuss the preliminary findings, modify the report and recommend a decision to the BOD. If the committee has not assigned investigators to the grievance, the committee chair or designee will prepare the preliminary report.

  6. The committee shall complete the investigation within 30 days of initiation of the investigation. The committee may request an extension of time from the President upon a showing of good reason for additional time.

  7. Details of all grievances under these rules and the decision reached by the committee shall be reported to the complete BOD in the form of a Report and Recommended Decision for review and action by the BOD, along with copies of all notes containing the statements of respondent, complainant, and all witnesses. A majority decision of the committee is required to forward the Recommended Decision to the BOD.

D.    Board of Directors' Action

  1. The BOD shall make a decision on the committee's report within 14 days of receipt. The President will grant an extension of time if the BOD requires further investigation of the grievance or if the President determines that there is good reason to grant additional time for the BOD's review. If the BOD fails to act with the time provided, the committee's Report and Recommendation shall become the final action of the BOD.

  2. The BOD may adopt the committee's report in whole or in part as its final action, refer it back to the committee for further investigation or take any other action consistent with the rules.

  3. The BOD may request that the complainant and respondent "appear" by telephone before the Board.

  4. Ten (10) members of the BOD shall constitute a quorum for the purposes of disciplinary action.

  5. The decision of the BOD shall be final and binding on all parties.

  6. The Board's decision on any grievance shall be recorded and filed with the committee's report and the Secretary shall maintain a log of all discipline. The Board is expected to review this log and use it as it endeavors to be consistent in discipline and to insure that the sanction imposed is proportionate to the offense.

  7. Deposit refunds:

    1. If the committee determines, after investigation, that there are grounds for possible disciplinary action the $50.00 will be returned to the complainant.

    2. If the Hearing Committee determines, after investigation, that no further action is warranted, the complainant will be notified and no further action will be taken. In this case the $50.00 will not be returned to complainant.

E.     Grounds for Discipline and Guidelines for Sanctions

  1. Fines and Suspension:

    1. Any member or non-member may be disciplined, placed on probation, fined, or suspended from all HA privileges whenever it shall have been established by a preponderance of the evidence that such member, or nonmember, has been found to have violated the stated rule or rules. Except as may be specifically provided in these Rules, a fine shall not exceed $500 and a suspension shall not exceed 1 year.

    2. When the rule in question contains a specific punishment provision, any disciplinary action recommended by the committee must be consistent with that provision. The committee may recommend and the Board may impose a different punishment than specifically provided upon a finding of good to do so.

    3. If no specific penalty is provided in the subsections below, the committee may recommend a penalty and the BOD may impose a penalty that is proportionate to the offense.

    4. The BOD may also require any member to whom a prize has been paid or delivered to return the same. The member shall be bound to do so within the time fixed by the BOD.

  2. Misconduct: The following provisions regarding misconduct at or in conjunction with a HA sanctioned trial, while not all-inclusive, are to be considered as violations of these rules.

    1. Attempting to fix, bribe, influence, intimidate or argue with the judge, trial secretary, timekeeper, course director, or any other trial official may result in disqualification at that trial, will result in a minimum fine of $100, and/or a minimum of thirty (30) day suspension. This provision does not preclude a participant from properly contacting the course director or other trial official to clarify a rule or the accuracy of a score sheet. (Ex. A handler may ask the course director to have the score rechecked for a mathematical error). When reviewing grievances against judges and against handlers who talk about scores and judging, the Disciplinary Committee and BOD should distinguish normal comment and criticism from intimidation and harassment. Review of such grievances should also take into account whether the conduct in question was distracting to the judge, trial officials or other handlers.

    2. A judge shall not intimidate, or attempt to intimidate, a contestant. The penalty for violating this subsection will be a minimum fine of $100, and/or a minimum of thirty (30) day suspension from the Association.

    3. Consuming or bringing alcoholic beverages into the judge's stand while a HA sanctioned trial is taking place.

    4. Altering or attempting to alter the draw will result in disqualification at that trial and a fine of $25-$250. This rule does not preclude a trial official from accommodating handlers as necessary for the conduct of the trial or for unforeseen circumstances.

    5. Tampering with competition livestock will result in disqualification for the remainder of that trial and will be subject to a fine of $25-$250.

    6. Unsportsmanlike conduct. The severity of the unsportsmanlike act will determine the severity of the resulting disciplinary action.

    7. Fighting on the trial site - immediate expulsion from the trial. The BOD may impose further sanctions.

    8. Threatening or actually inflicting bodily harm or injury to another person based upon that person's actions, conduct, or decisions in any official capacity for the HA or for any HA approved or sponsored event shall call for suspension for one (1) year.

    9. Using abusive language on the trial field.

    10. Attempting to aid or distract another competitor while they are competing may result in immediate disqualification in that trial, suspension, or fine as the committee may decide.

    11. Behaving in a manner discrediting to the HA.

    12. Participating in training activities while on the trial grounds other than in designated areas is prohibited.

    13. Inhumane treatment of dog or stock on the trial field or grounds. If trial management discovers inhumane treatment to dog or livestock, they may bar the responsible party from further participation in the trial. The decision as to inhumane treatment of animals may be based on the consultation with a veterinarian. If trial management determines, in its sole discretion, that the welfare of the animal requires immediate action and a veterinarian is not available, trial management may take any action that they deem appropriate to ensure the safety and well being of the animal(s). If trial management deems on field behavior to be inhumane treatment during a competition, trial management may consult with the judge of the trial before taking any action allowed by this Section. If any action is taken, within 10 days of the completion of the trial, the trial officials shall notify the President or Secretary of the HA of the details of the occurrence and the matter shall be referred to the Disciplinary Committee to consider disciplinary action against the responsible party. Notification of the conduct and action taken shall constitute a complaint under this Section.

  3. Warnings: The following provisions identify conduct that should be avoided. While not generally subject to discipline, the following items may warrant a warning and, if the circumstances are egregious or interfere with the judge or a handler, may be subject to discipline at the discretion of the BOD.

    1. Talking with the judges about any trial related matter throughout the duration of the trial or discussing with the judge any ideas or methods of judging or handling except at approved handlers' meetings. This provision does not apply to a judge's clerk/scribe or to anyone that the judge is willing to mentor as a potential judge.

    2. Making comments within a judge's hearing regarding any work taking place on the field.

    3. Creating excessive delays.

    4. Failure to exercise diligence in the control of the behavior of a dog.

    5. Any other conduct that is inconsistent with the rules and principles of the HA and which the Committee determines does not rise to the level of requiring discipline in the nature of a fine or suspension.

  4. Failure to make payments due:

    1. Trial organizers, or producers may be suspended for any of the aforementioned offenses and, in addition, any of the following offenses:

      1. Failure to pay added money as advertised.

      2. Leaving bad debts in any town connected with the production of a USBCHA sanctioned trial.

      3. Failure to pay sanctioning fee.

    2. Any member or non-member may be fined, placed on probation, or suspended, from all HA privileges for failure to pay any obligation owing to the HA or for giving a worthless check for entry fees, office charges, stock charges, premiums, or any other fees or charges connected with the exhibition of herding dogs, provided however, that this person (member or non-member) shall be given twenty one (21) days written notice of the amount due and the intention of the HA to fine, place on probation or suspend. Any suspension under this rule shall terminate upon full payment of the obligation due the HA.

    3. Any member or non-member passing a bad check or checks at a HA sanctioned trial or event which would effect the image or benefit of the local trial management will be fined $25 for each such check and must make check good for first offense; second offense, member shall be fined $100; third offense, member will be suspended and must appear before the Disciplinary Committee for reinstatement AFTER restitution of check or checks has been made and payment of a fine of $100.

  5. Penalty enhancement: The BOD may enhance the stated sanction set forth in these rules by increasing the suspension and/or penalty for repeat offenders of HA rules and regulations to a maximum of indefinite suspension of membership privileges and/or fine up to $1,000.

  6. Effect of Membership Suspension: During a BOD imposed suspension, the suspended party shall be ineligible to participate in any HA sanctioned event, shall be ineligible to judge a HA sanctioned event, and may not host a HA sanctioned trial. Suspension does not preclude the suspended party from entering a HA sanctioned trial that is scheduled after the termination of suspension. During the period of a suspension, failure to comply with these restrictions and any other express conditions or restrictions of any disciplinary action may constitute grounds for further disciplinary action.

  7. Publication: When the BOD has ruled on a complaint and disciplinary action has been taken against a member, or non-member, the person's name, the rule violated, and the disciplinary action taken shall be published on the USBCHA website. Warnings shall not be published.

F.     Emergency Action The President may call a special meeting of the BOD at any time or place or by telephone conference call where at least seven (7) directors are present to consider emergencies such as alleged rule violations of such magnitude as to appear to be detrimental to the best interests of the HA or to its practices, policies and/or objectives. A vote of at least five (5) Directors shall be binding for motions passed during any such special BOD meeting.

Return to: Association Page