California Desperados



a)      Whereas being a Cardholder in the Cowboy Mounted Shooting® Association is a privilege and not a right, CMSA has the authority to direct disciplinary action or sanctions against cardholders or affiliated clubs, who by virtue of being affiliated with CMSA, come under the jurisdiction of CMSA’s Rules and Regulations.

b)      A cardholder or affiliated club may be disciplined, suspended or expelled from the CMSA for actions that are determined to be detrimental to the overall welfare and/or financial well being of the association.

c)      The CMSA Board of Directors is the forum that initially and ultimately hears and reviews evidence of alleged violations. Subsequently, the CMSA Board of Directors will determine what actions are appropriate based on the severity of the violation. 

d)      Examples of actions that could be considered detrimental to the CMSA include, but are not limited to the following:

i)        Threatening and/or aggressive behavior toward others during or after a match.

ii)       Continuous inhumane treatment of animals.

iii)     Non-payment of debts to CMSA or affiliated/charter clubs shall result in the cancellation of points and suspension of CMSA card until appropriate settlement has been reached.

iv)     Competing under the influence of non-prescription drugs or alcohol.

v)      Unauthorized use of CMSA Trademarked or Copyrighted materials.

vi)     Failure to conduct CMSA sanctioned events in strict compliance with CMSA Rules.

 2)      Definitions:

 a)      Rules: will be determined by the use of the word “shall” and are in Bold.

b)      Guidelines: will be determined by the use of the word “should” and are highlighted in gray.

c)      Class: There are six classes, numbered accordingly which consist of Men’s, Ladies, Junior’s, Senior’s, and Wranglers. Non-Competition Card Holders (NCC’s) do not have Classes.  Non-Competition Card Holders (NCC’s) do not receive points therefore it is not a Class. 

d)      Levels: There are six Levels, within each Class numbered 1 through 6, which make up the classes of Men’s, Ladies, Juniors, and Seniors.

e)      Wranglers are competitors age 11 or under.

f)       Divisions: Men’s and Ladies.

g)      Match Director is the single representative of a hosting club or association, responsible for all facets of a CMSA match.

h)      Range Master is responsible for maintaining a safe environment for both shooters and spectators, assessing any penalties incurred when a contestant shoots the course of fire and keeping the match moving in a timely fashion.

3)      The COWBOY MOUNTED SHOOTING® ASSOCIATION (CMSA) is the organization that promotes and provides rules and guidelines for the equestrian sport of Cowboy Mounted Shooting.

a)      The CMSA recognizes only those events that are conducted under the rules and guidelines set forth in this rulebook. 

b)      Cowboy Mounted Shooting® is a multi-faceted equestrian sport in which contestants compete using two single action revolvers, loaded with blank ammunition specifically manufactured to CMSA standards.  Mounted contestants shoot 10 reactionary targets while negotiating a specified course of fire on horseback.

c)      A truly unique aspect of our sport is the emphasis placed on period clothing, tack and other equipment used in CMSA competitions.  The clothing and equipment used should be typical of that available in the American West during the late 19th and early 20th century (thru the Silver Screen era).

d)      This rulebook contains the specific rules and guidelines adopted by the COWBOY MOUNTED SHOOTING® ASSOCIATION, INC.

e)      ALL CMSA cardholders SHALL sign solidarity agreement.

4)      FIREARMS

a)      Only fixed sight single action revolvers of .45 Colt caliber, designed prior to 1898, or reproductions thereof, shall be allowed in CMSA competitions.

b)      Examples: Colt Single Action Army or Bisley Model, Smith & Wesson Schofield, Russian, or Remington Models 1875 & 1890, their reproductions and Ruger Vaqueros.

c)      All holsters shall be of leather construction and shall retain the contestants’ firearms throughout the strenuous range of motion required in mounted competition. 

d)      Holsters shall conform to the historic Old West design. A holster is defined as a leather pouch formed in the shape of a gun.  A feedbag or saddlebag does not qualify and is considered by CMSA to be unsafe. Pistols shall be returned to holsters, which would be limited to belted holsters, pommel, cantle, and/or shoulder holsters. 

e)      Note: Old time high riding holsters work much better on horseback than the modern Hollywood type Buscadero rigs.

f)        All firearms shall be maintained in the same external condition as originally manufactured from the factory. Allowed modifications shall be limited to engraving, hammer knurling or turned down hammers as long as there is no lateral movement or welded add-ons. Custom grips are allowed including Birds head grips (like the Cimarron Thunderer). No rubber grips allowed. The original external profile shall be maintained. All external parts shall be of the type manufactured for that particular model of firearm. Stock parts may be swapped from gun to gun. Ejector rods shall be maintained. Site modifications shall be limited to the filing of the front site. Triggers shall be operational; “slip hammer” revolvers are unsafe.

g)      “Bird’s Head” type grip frames on single action revolvers are legal for CMSA World Point Competition. Included are standard factory production Bird’s Head Grip Frame guns and guns equipped with aftermarket Bird’s Head Grip Frames. Aftermarket grip frames shall be a production type product. No one of a kind custom made grip frames shall be allowed. The side profile for grip frames cannot be altered on any revolver. This includes Standard, Factory Bird’s Head and guns equipped with aftermarket Bird’s Head Grip Frames.

h)      The use of tape or vet wrap on guns, grips, or hammers is not allowed.

i)        “Bisley Style Hammers” are legal on single action revolvers for CMSA World Point Competition. A Bisley Style Hammer may replace a standard hammer so long as it is of the same manufacturer. Example: It is legal to replace a standard Ruger Vaquero hammer with a Ruger Bisley Hammer.

5)      SADDLES

a)      Traditional leather tack and equipment is more representative of the Old West, and is an enhancement to the sport.

b)      Competitors should use “period” saddles of early western design: Sam Stagg rigged A forks, Hope Trees, American Cavalry Saddles, etc. However, you may still use any saddle of western design as long as it is constructed of leather and is in safe condition.

c)      Headstalls, reins, breast collars and tie-downs should be of leather construction. Modern neoprene and fleece lined cinches, nylon latigos and billets, shin, skid, and bell boots while not encouraged, are acceptable as long as they are of neutral earth tones and do not blatantly change the overall traditional appearance of the competitor’s rig.  Contestants may use any bit or hackamore to reasonably control their mount as long as it is not overly severe in design.

6)      CLOTHING

a)      Contestants shall dress in period style clothing and have the overall “look” of the late 19th and early 20th century (thru the Silver Screen era) or they shall not compete. Modern five pocket jeans shall be permitted ONLY if worn with chaps or chinks. Modern clothing such as T-shirts, knit tank tops, ball caps and men’s short-sleeved shirts are not allowed.

b)      Competitors should remain in period dress at all match events: dinners, award ceremonies, dances, etc. It is also recommended that invited guests and family wear western clothing. 

c)      Promotional logos on tack or clothing shall not be allowed in CMSA sanctioned matches. The only exclusion to this rule shall be for the maker’s mark.

d)      Cowboy hats or protective headwear are required for ALL contestants regardless of gender when first crossing the timing beam.  Ladies wearing dresses are exempt.  Those who may be wearing other period attire such as Indian outfits shall wear appropriate headgear.

7)      HORSES

a)      CMSA competitions are open to all breeds of horses and mules, registered and unregistered. Riders are expected to compete with mounts that are healthy and in good physical condition. Horses should be introduced and conditioned to the sound of gunfire prior to competing in a CMSA match.  A mounted shooting competition is not the appropriate forum to introduce your horse to the sound of gunfire for the first time.  New riders and/or mounts shall demonstrate that they can safely control or be controlled during the completion of a course of fire prior to entering a competition.  Basically, you need a well-trained horse that you can keep under control while negotiating a course of fire with one hand on the reins while shooting with the other.

b)      Due to the harsher sounds of smokeless gunpowder, you should avoid using blanks loaded with smokeless powder.  All mounted shooting ammunition is loaded with black powder or a substitute like Pyrodex. 

c)      No more than two riders per CLASS on the same horse with the exception of the Wrangler Class.  However, there is no limit on the number of horses that a contestant may use in a CMSA match. In other words, a rider can change horses for each stage. Like roping and team penning events, CMSA matches score contestants, not horses.

d)      No abuse of animals shall be allowed. This is a Match Director call, done with a warning first. If disregarded, expulsion from the match shall follow.


a)      The “course of fire” or pattern of riding is commonly referred to as a “stage” and should be designed for maximum enjoyment of competitors and spectators, while testing horsemanship and shooting skills. The safety of riders, spectators and horses is a principle concern.

b)      The primary purpose of a stage is to provide a scoring grid that is fair for all contestants.  A standard CMSA stage is to have ten targets. A contestant is to shoot the course of fire with two single action revolvers loaded with not more than 5 approved cartridges. Revolvers are used one at a time. With the first revolver, a contestant shoots a random course of fire (the first half of the stage). This random course shall be set in a safe manner. Upon completing the random course, the contestant shall holster the now empty revolver and draw the second revolver and ride to shoot the second half of the stage called the “rundown”.  Pistols shall be returned to holsters, which would be limited to belted holsters, pommel, cantle, and/or shoulder holsters.  The rundown is standardized in all CMSA World Qualifying Matches.  The rundown is to have five targets to be completed in a fast, forward motion.  The final five targets shall be staged in such a way that horse and rider are challenged to shoot them at a maximum rate of speed, according to their ability.  It is specifically not the intention of the CMSA rules to penalize a fast horse and rider.

c)      The Range Master shall have the responsibility of making final inspection of the course before rider gets their go. Course of fire as set in riders meeting takes precedent over all other possibilities.

d)      No running starts into the arena

e)      All riders shall start with the gate closed or use of a baffled alley/gate.                                  

f)       Barrel shall not be closer than 25 feet to the side rails of the arena and 25 feet to the end rail and balloons shall be a minimum of 30 feet from side rails. Try to set course so contestants shoot towards the center of the arena.

g)      After completing the stage, the contestant shall immediately report to the armorer and unload both revolvers.

h)      All arena barrels used in CMSA matches should be plastic.

9)      TIMING

a)      Electronic beam “barrel racing” timers, such as FarmTek Timers, are preferred for larger championship events. The rider and horse shall start the course of fire from behind a predetermined start/finish line. 


a)      CMSA matches are scored according to elapsed time plus the total of any applicable penalties. The total sum of all of the stages determines the overall match winners.

b)      The decision of the Range Master is final, based on the rulebook.  If a contestant wishes to protest the Range Master’s decision he/she shall do so by filing a $50 cash protest fee with the Match Director. The Appeals Board for any CMSA sanctioned match shall be made up of 3 experienced CMSA Cardholders and one alternate who shall hear the appeal.  This Appeals Board shall be set up confidentially by the Match Director prior to the shooters meeting. No appeal shall be heard, discussed or pre-vote opinion taken of the Appeals Board until the $50 is paid in CASH to the Match Director.  The Appeals Board shall immediately convene and listen to the riders’ case.  They shall then discuss and vote in private on whether to accept or deny the protest.  If the appeal is granted the $50 is returned; if the appeal is rejected the $50 goes to the club sponsoring the event.

c)      The board of a sponsoring club has sovereignty if no rule or penalty exists in the CMSA rulebook.

d)      Points shall not be retroactive.  Club Presidents are to enforce that riders either have their current competition card or have joined CMSA at the World Point Qualifying match in which they wish to compete.


a)      Discretionary penalties have no place in timed events and penalties shall be restricted to the following:

i)        Missed target: 5 seconds

ii)      Knocked over barrel: 5 seconds

iii)    Failure to follow course of fire: 10 seconds

iv)    Dropped gun: 5 seconds

v)      Failure to holster first gun: 5 seconds 

vi)    Loss of hat or headwear (makes contact with the arena floor) penalty: 5 seconds

b)      A firearm that is dropped once the course has been engaged is a dead firearm and the rider incurs a 5-second penalty plus any missed targets.  A rider who drops a firearm before crossing the timing beam is removed from his place in line until the firearm has been cleaned and inspected by a match official.  No consequences shall be received for a firearm dropped after crossing the finish line, but the match official shall still inspect the firearm.

c)      A rider who becomes dismounted during the course of fire receives a 60 second penalty and the ride is over.

d)      In the event that a firearm comes into contact with the arena floor, that firearm becomes a dead gun.  Only an arena official shall pick it up.

e)      Total final time for a fall or a ride shall equal no more than 60 seconds. Total time for a rider that does not complete any stage shall be 60 seconds for that stage.

f)       No penalty will be given to any contestant for knocking over a target pole.  However, the targets shall be broken by direct gunfire.  All targets (whether standing or lying down) shall be broken by gunfire to be considered a hit. All targets broken accidentally or by nature shall be shot.  If a missed balloon is broken accidentally by an act of nature after the miss occurred it shall still be a miss.

g)      If a contestant hits two balloons with one shot they may use the remaining round to pick up a target they may have missed. If round is not needed to pick up missed target, it should be fired before holstering or crossing the finish line.

h)      A rider shall have been determined to have engaged the course once he has crossed the start/finish line or is on the clock.  At that point, he/she accepts the stage as it is. Thereafter, any mechanical malfunctions of your firearm or gear, including your horse, shall not constitute a re-ride.

i)        If a rider is notified during or after the completion of a stage that a timekeeper error or a timing malfunction occurred the rider shall be granted a re-ride. The Timekeeper and the Range Master shall determine if a re-ride is granted.

j)        If a rider crosses the timing line prior to completing the course of fire, he or she shall be given a total time of sixty seconds.

k)     The Range Master shall grant re-rides as soon as possible after the completion of that run.  Re-rides shall normally take place after the last rider has completed the stage.

l)        Re-rides are given as a new stage. This means the competitor does not carry forward any misses or a clean stage. (This is intended to make a rider decide whether he wants the re-ride and not wait to review the times of the other riders to decide if really needs to make up a re-ride)

m)    If a run is interrupted, the call for a re-ride is made by the Range Master.

n)      The no alibi rule shall be put in place for all CMSA sanctioned matches.  There are no squibs, high primers, or misfires accepted. There shall be no re-rides or scoring adjustments for ammo problems.

o)      Accidental discharge of a round before entering the arena may not reloaded and shall be counted as a miss.

p)      Flagrant and deliberate bypassing of a target with intent to gain an unfair advantage shall be a procedural.


a)      The standard targets used in CMSA competitions are helium quality balloons. When inflated, a target should measure 6 to 9 inches in diameter. Care should be taken to make sure that targets are of uniform size for all competitors.  Balloons shall be of two distinctly different colors; it makes it easier for a contestant to define the first half from the second half of a stage.

b)      For safety reasons target stands shall be made of a flexible material like PVC or polyethylene pipe no larger than 3/4 inch in diameter. A simple 1 1/2-inch vertical hacksaw cut in the top of the pipe provides an excellent way to fasten the balloons to the target pole. Simply tie off the neck of the balloon, stretch it, slip it into the saw cut, then when let loose the balloon is securely fastened to the target pole.

c)      Standard target poles should be 48 inches high, but can be varied from ground level to 60 inches to increase the variety possible within each CMSA stage. Traffic cones make excellent, safe bases for target poles.


a)      All ammunition used in CMSA WPQ matches shall be CMSA approved.  Ammunition providers shall submit 100 rounds of ammunition to CMSA for testing & certified approval.  Each ammunition provider upon approval shall be issued a numbered CMSA approved ammunition provider certificate.  This approved ammunition provider certificate number shall be included with WPQ match results. All CMSA approved ammunition shall consistently burst properly inflated helium grade balloons from a distance of not less than 10 feet and not more than 20 feet. 


a)      All contestants are responsible for their own personal safety and that of their horse. They should also remain alert for other unsafe conditions and/or unsafe conduct by others. All contestants are considered line judges and should take immediate action to remedy an unsafe condition or confront anyone whose conduct is unsafe.

15)  Safety Rules and Guidelines:

a)      All firearms shall be treated as if they are loaded. 

b)      All loading and unloading of firearms should be done under the supervision of the designated armorer or line judge.  

c)      All firearms shall remain unloaded until the rider is called to the loading area.

d)      Contestants shall have no live ammunition on their person or in their cartridge belts or saddlebags. Only dummy ammunition with inert or fired primers should be used in cartridge belts.

e)      Riders have final responsibility to make sure their firearms are loaded, check for missing or dented primers, cylinders rotate freely and to be certain they are properly indexed prior to stage engagement. The armorer is not responsible.

f)       All contestants shall use “match supplied” .45 Colt blank ammunition. No personal ammunition of any type is to be allowed at CMSA competitions under penalty of disqualification.   No blank shall have an effective range longer than 20 feet for rider and spectator safety.

g)      If the quality of the match-supplied ammunition is in question, any CMSA Competition Card Holder can purchase 50 rounds of said ammunition & submit it to CMSA for analysis. 

h)      No firearm shall be cocked until immediately prior to engaging a target.

i)        Competitors are expected to compete safely within their individual capabilities at all times. Do not try to “over ride” your own horsemanship skills.  Control your firearm’s muzzle direction at all times.

j)        All contestants shall be knowledgeable and proficient in the safe use of firearms.

k)      Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in the range, staging and shooting areas. This includes all persons, competitors, range officials, guests or any one else in these areas.

l)        Competitors shall not consume any alcoholic beverage until they have completed all of their shooting for the day and have unloaded, inspected, and stored all of their firearms.

m)    Competitors shall not ingest any substance, which may affect their ability to participate in a completely safe manner.  Both prescription and nonprescription pharmaceuticals that may cause drowsiness or other physical or mental impairment are to be avoided.

n)      Abusive language or conduct shall not be tolerated and at discretion of Match Director shall be given a warning or disqualification.

o)      Mandatory New Shooter orientation and qualification rides shall be conducted PRIOR to competition.

p)      CMSA recommends the use of eye protection and ear protection at all CMSA sanctioned matches.

q)      As the national sanctioning body CMSA recommends that Cardholders support the NRA.

r)       CMSA recommends the use of a Range Master and a Line Judge, either on foot or mounted, at all CMSA sanctioned events.

s)       CMSA further recommends Range Master and Line Judge should be over 18-years of age and a CMSA Certified Range Master.

t)        Parents or guardians of minors or their designate may be in the arena when they compete.

u)      The rider assumes all responsibility for participation in these events.


a)      Cowboy mounted shooting requires equestrian and shooting skills of an intermediate to advanced level. Persons unsure as to their own skill level should contact the CMSA about qualifications, practice and pre-match training clinics.


a)      The CMSA has established a classification system that is based on the competitor’s riding and shooting abilities. Like team roping and team penning, the CMSA has adopted a number classification system. Contestants are categorized into six levels from 1 to 6, for Men, Ladies, Seniors and Juniors. All Class wins at World Point Qualifying (WPQ) matches shall be counted toward changing classifications if all prerequisites have been met.  Clubs do not have to award buckles for these wins to be counted.

b)      CLASS ONE: A #1 Class contestant is an entry-level rider. To move up to a Class #2, a competitor shall earn two #1 wins in a CMSA Point Qualifying Match. For a win to qualify toward a move-up there shall be at least three #1 riders within the appropriate Division in the match.

c)      CLASS TWO: A #2 Class contestant has developed riding and shooting skills beyond that of a beginner. A #2 shall be able to challenge a course of fire aggressively within the realm of his or her abilities. To move up to a Class #3, a competitor shall earn three #2 wins in a CMSA Point Qualifying Match. For a win to qualify toward a move-up there shall be at least three #2 riders within the appropriate Division in the match.

d)      CLASS THREE: A #3 Class contestant has a solid foundation in horsemanship and proficiency with firearms. A #3 shooter is an experienced average shooter. To move up to a Class 4, a competitor shall earn four #3 wins in a CMSA Point Qualifying Match. For a win to qualify toward a move-up there shall be at least four #3 riders within the appropriate Division in the match.

e)      CLASS FOUR: A #4 shooter is an experienced winning competitor possessing excellent riding and shooting skills. A #4 contestant is an expert within the field. To move up to a Class 5, a competitor shall earn five #4 wins in a CMSA Point Qualifying Match.  For a win to qualify toward a move-up there shall be at least five #4 riders within the appropriate Division in the match.

f)       CLASS FIVE: A Superior Mounted Shooter. To move up to a Class 6, a competitor shall earn six #5 wins in a CMSA Point Qualifying Match.  For a win to qualify toward a move-up there shall be at least six #5 riders within the appropriate Division in the match.

g)      CLASS SIX: A Master Mounted Shooter.

h)      In the Wrangler Class the Parent/Legal Guardian and a qualified Range master shall be present at the firing line.  One of these adults is to be responsible for handing the live firearm to the Wrangler competitor. 

i)        WRANGLERS should not be given a time for their shooting; instead they would receive only penalties for missed balloons.  Timing encourages fanning, which should not be allowed.  It is suggested that riders 10 or 11 years of age ride, then shoot five rounds while standing on the ground.  Riders younger than 10 years old should ride only.  The final decision about how the Wrangler section of a match is to be run is left to the Match Director.

j)        All ages are as of January 1st of calendar year.

k)      There will be two classes of Wrangler, Open & Limited as follows:  Open 10-11 and Limited 7-9.

l)        All Open wranglers shall wear holsters and either non-firing replica or unloaded competition firearms.  All Open wranglers shall ride to and aim at all balloons and change guns. 

m)    All wranglers and their horses shall be pre-qualified by the range master for safe riding skills and demonstrate the ability to control their horse and guns.

n)      A mandatory safety meeting with ALL Wrangler competitors, parents, Wrangler Director and Range Master shall be held immediately following the safety meeting prior to start of the main match.

o)      All wranglers shall ground shoot with eye protection and ear protection.  A missed balloon is a 5 second penalty.

p)      JUNIOR: Jr. Rider 12 to 15 years of age. Juniors have six months after their sixteenth birthday to make the decision to move down one Class, or remain in the same Class as an adult. Juniors shall be able to compete for the Overall in their respective gender, but the Junior Class shall not be separated by gender.

i)        Open Class: Any junior who is a CMSA 3, 4, 5 or 6.   

ii)       Limited Class: Any junior who is a CMSA 1 or 2.  

q)      Junior Division move ups shall be as follows: A full Limited Class shall consist of 3 Juniors in any combination of Class 1 or 2 riders from either gender. A full Open Class shall consist of 4 Juniors in any combination of Class 3, 4, 5 or 6 riders from either gender.

r)       All age relevant classes shall be allowed the option of moving on Jan 1 of the competition year in which they turn the appropriate age, or on their birthday, or on Dec. 31 of the competition year in which they turned the appropriate age. Once they choose to move they cannot move back to their previous Class.

s)      SENIOR CLASSAny CMSA cardholder, male, having attained the age of 55 and not having previously won any national or world title shall be eligible to ride in the senior division. Those competitors who have previously won a world or national title prior to reaching the age of 55 shall not be entitled to ride as a senior until their 60th birthday.Women who have reached the age of 48 years shall be eligible to ride as a senior lady providing they have not won a world or national title in any class or division. Those female competitors who have won a world or national title prior to attaining the age of 48 shall not be entitled to compete in the senior division until their 50th birthday.

t)       Seniors shall be able to compete for the Overall in their respective gender.

u)      Senior Division move ups shall be the same as Class 1 through 6 move ups. 


a)      When contestant reaches designated number of buckles in their current Class, they shall move to the next level in their Class.

b)      The word CHAMPION shall be used for Overall’s and Reserve’s only, including Men’s Ladies’, Junior’s and Senior’s.  All others shall be Class WINNER’S.

c)      Moving up in Class shall not be granted by verbal or written request. Movement shall only be granted by number of wins in contestants’ existing Class. #1’s shall win two #1 buckles/wins, #2’s shall win three #2 buckles/wins, #3’s shall win four #3 buckles/wins, #4’s shall win five #4 buckles/wins, #5’s shall have six buckle/wins. For a win to qualify there shall be at least three (3) competitors within the appropriate Division in that Class, except Class #3 which shall have four (4), Class #4, which shall have five (5) , and Class #5, which shall have six (6) competitors within the appropriate Division in that Class, and it shall be a CMSA Point Qualifying Match.

d)      A contestant receives a win toward a move up if he or she wins an Overall or Reserve position in a WPQ match, while placing above contestants in his or her Class or a higher Class, or if he or she beats the required number of contestants in his or her Class.

e)      If a competitor wins his Class, and is Overall or Reserve, he shall receive both the Class win and the Overall or Reserve win, which counts toward one move up.

f)       A competitor can petition to move down in Class if he or she has competed for one calendar year and not won in their current Class.


a)      The CMSA classification system forms the basis for team events. Teams are made up of three or fewer classified mounted contestants.  A number 7, two-person team event is made up of two contestants whose total classification numbers total seven or fewer.

b)      Examples:

i)        A #4 and #3 equals a #7 team.

ii)       A #2 and #5 equals a #7 team.

iii)     Any team with total team number of seven or fewer is eligible for a #7 team.

c)      Team events can be scored concurrently with regular matches. Individual team member scores are totaled together to give team totals.

i)        Teams can be made up of two or three Cardholders.

ii)       Two-member team: Total team number is seven.

iii)     Three-member team: Total team number is ten.


a)      In order for your event to be sanctioned and count as a points event you need to follow the following procedures for the 2006 competition year.


a)      Anyone can enter a sanctioned event, however, only CMSA Competition Cardholders shall receive World Qualifying Points.  In order for CMSA to track move ups, all competitors shall be assigned a number.  To compete in any CMSA sanctioned event, a contestant shall have one of the following

i)        A valid CMSA number 

ii)       A Temporary number, such as T1, T2, T3 which is issued to any competitor who joins at your match and does not have a CMSA number. You shall remit appropriate Cardholder fees for all Temporary numbered contestants with your event fees

b)      All Non-Competition Cardholders shall be classified as a NCC 

c)      CMSA cards shall be checked at registration. Then you know that every rider is current, i.e., NOT EXPIRED and the class & level at which they must ride.  Each competitor shall compete at the class & level listed on his or her Competition Card

d)      To verify interim move-ups, print out the Certified Points page from the website the day of the event.  This page will also tell you how many buckles each rider currently has towards his or her next move-up.  In the event of a back-to-back WPQ, after the first day, you can move a competitor up for the next day of competition.

e)      Move-ups are not official until certified by the CMSA office.

f)       Results will be double checked (certified) by the CMSA office.  

g)      If a rider claims that his or her Class or Wins are incorrect have them contact the CMSA office or fill out the form on this page:


a)      An NCC (Non Competition Cardholders) would include someone who has not joined yet or a CMSA cardholder whose card is not current, i.e. his/her membership is expired.  

b)      Give all NCC’s a CMSA number of NCC & a Class specification of NCC.   

c)      If you use your own spreadsheet, make sure that it sorts out NCC’s.  

d)      Do NOT list NCC’s on any Awards Form, as they are not eligible for awards or move-ups. 


a)      You issue a Temporary number (T1, T2, T3), then either send his or her cardholder fees with your results or you will be invoiced for them. 

b)      Temporary Cardholders shall ride in their respective Class 1


a)      A CMSA Competition Cardholder shall receive one point for each contestant he or she places above in the overall standing, including NCC’s.  Although non-competition cardholders count for a point, they are not counted for move-ups.   If a Class 3 rider beats 3 other Class 3 riders, but one of their cards has expired, there is NO move-up.

b)      Wranglers are tracked in a separate World Points Series.   

c)      A CMSA Cardholder will also receive one point for entering the match.   

d)      If a person joins at a particular match, their points will count at that match and thereafter.  Points shall not be awarded retroactively.  

e)      Points will not be awarded until all event fees are paid to the CMSA office. 


a)      A club shall remit $5.00 for each contestant including Wranglers whether a Competition Cardholder or not.   

b)      The $5.00 fee shall be included in the event entry and not added on as an additional fee.   

c)      Two sets of Match results shall be submitted to the CMSA office.  One shall be sorted by Overall fastest to slowest, and the second shall be sorted by Class fastest to slowest.  We have several spreadsheets available for your use that make this sorting very easy.

d)      Match results shall be sent to the CMSA office within 48 hours of completion of the event.  E-mail submissions are encouraged. 

e)      A late fee of $5.00 per day shall be charged

f)        Courses of fire shall be drawn each event day, for that day, in full view of the participating shootersThere shall be no pre-publishing of courses.

g)      Limiting the number of riders at a match shall be advertised 90 days in advance.


a)      An Affiliated Club can host 

i)        Twelve regular World Point Qualifying matches (WPQ) 

ii)       One Grand American Championship (GAC) 

iii)     All events, dates & locations are subject to CMSA approval

b)      World Point Qualifiers, Double World Point Qualifiers & Grand American Championships may be held on any date approved by CMSA.

c)      State Championships & Regional matches shall be stand alone events and a minimum of six stages shall be required.

d)      No other mounted shooting association’s event may be held in conjunction with or contiguous to, any CMSA Points event.

e)      To prevent match conflicts: If events are submitted to and approved by the CMSA office by December 31, schedule deadline, the following rules apply.

i)        The CMSA World and National Championships shall be stand-alone events and no other matches shall be scheduled these dates. 

ii)      No other CMSA matches shall be scheduled within a 750 mile radius of the location, on the same day as the CMSA Western or Eastern US Championships.

iii)     No other CMSA Point matches shall be held on the same days, in the same state, as a State Championship.

iv)     No other CMSA Point matches shall be held on the same days, in the same Region, as a Regional Championship. 

v)      State & Regional Championships submitted after December 31 may or may not have this exclusivity.


a)      No more than 1 WPQ may be held in one location, in a single day. 

b)      No more than 2 WPQ’s may be held in one location on a single weekend.  

c)      Double point WPQ’s (double points, double fees) are allowed if the WPQ’s are held on separate days in the same location.  

d)      To qualify for CMSA World Points, an event shall have at least four stages and a minimum of 10 contestants, not counting Wranglers.


a)      No more than 1 Grand American may be held in one location in a single day.  

b)      To qualify for CMSA World Points, an event shall have at least four stages and a minimum of 10 contestants, not counting Wranglers.

c)      Montana Silversmiths has custom designed trophy buckles for the Grand American Championships.  At least two of these buckles shall be ordered for each GAC.

d)      Grand American buckles can be customized for each match and shall be purchased through CMSA.  


a)      Each state may have 1 State Championship 

b)      State Championship dates & locations shall be approved by CMSA.  The affiliated club that produced the highest count of riders in the previous calendar year will be granted first right of refusal to host the State Championship.  If the club with the highest count of riders sent to CMSA does NOT wish to host the State Championship it will be offered to the affiliated club with the next highest count of riders generated and so on.  Clubs are encouraged to work together to produce the best possible event.

c)      State Championships shall be a triple Points Match & shall not use up any allotted WPQ’s.  

d)      To qualify for a CMSA State Championship Event, the event shall have at least six stages and a minimum of 10 contestants, not counting Wranglers.   

e)      The Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association will recognize the Top CMSA World Point earning Cowboy and Cowgirl in each state. Only points earned at CMSA World Point Events hosted by Affiliated Clubs based in the Competition Card Holder’s home state will accrue for the state high point honors.

f)       All Range Masters at CMSA State matches should be certified.


a)      Each Region may have 1 Regional Championship

b)      Regional Championship dates & locations shall be approved by CMSA.  The affiliated club that produced the highest count of riders in the previous calendar year will be granted first right of refusal to host the Regional championship.  If the club with the highest count of riders sent to CMSA does NOT wish to host the Regional Championship it will be offered to the affiliated club with the next highest count of riders generated and so on.  Clubs are encouraged to work together to produce the best possible event.

c)      Regional Championships shall be a quadruple Points Match & shall not use up any allotted WPQ’s

d)      To qualify for a CMSA Regional event, the event shall have at least six stages and a minimum of 10 contestants, not counting Wranglers.   

e)      The Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association will recognize the Top CMSA World Point earning Cowboy and Cowgirl in each CMSA Region. Only Points earned at CMSA World Point Events hosted by Affiliated Clubs based in the Competition Card Holder’s home Region will accrue for the Regional high point honors.

f)        Montana Silversmiths has custom designed trophy buckles for the Regional Championships. At least two of these buckles shall be ordered for each Regional.

g)      Regional Championship buckles can be customized for each match and shall be purchased through CMSA.  

h)      All Range Masters at CMSA Regional matches should be certified.


a)      The National Championship is Quintuple Points.



a)      The Cavalry Class is a mounted revolver competition that combines historical re-enactments and horsemanship, while paying tribute to the mounted soldiers of the Cavalry. Inspired by the great diversity of colorful military uniforms from, the Civil War (1861-1865) Union and Confederate, Plains Indian Campaigns (1870-1879), Southwest Campaigns (1880-1889), and Spanish American Wars (1898). This Class shall be conducted as a side match, and presented in exhibition form. Emphasis should be strongly placed on authenticity in uniforming, firearms, saddlery, and other equipments of the mounted branches of the cavalry, bringing more pageantry and Americana to the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association’s matches in a lively and historically accurate manner. Like any other CMSA competition, the Cavalry Class is only open to CMSA Competition Cardholders.

2.      FIREARMS:

a)      Firearms shall not be judged as part of the Cavalry Class


a)      All competitors shall be required to use Cavalry-era, full flap holsters as were most commonly used during the period they have chosen to portrayMilitary-type, full flap-covered pommel holsters and civilian full flap holsters of the period, may also be used as a secondary holster, but one revolver shall be worn on the competitor’s person and be used in competition. In military fashion, flaps should be secured before entering arena. The empty revolver shall be returned to one of the holsters.

4.      SADDLES:

a)      Horses used in this competition shall be tacked with proper period saddlery and bridle equipment. For example, saddles can be any of the following types: Model 1859 and up McClellan saddles, no 1904s, Texas Hope-type saddle, U.S. Grimsley, or the Jennifer pattern, along with English and Plantation saddles of the period are among those saddles of the Cavalry time period that can be used. All parts of the saddle shall be period correct including stirrups, hardware, skirting, etc. Externally blankets shall be of the type from the period. Pads underneath shall be out of sight. Saddlebags, canteens and other equipment of the period are encouraged. So, pick the saddle and tack for the time period you have chosen to portray.

5.      HEADSTALL :

a)      All headstall equipment should be of the patterns used in the era the competitor has chosen to portray. This includes halter, bridle, bit and reins and all hardware should be period correct. Bits should have at least exterior appearance of the period.


a)      All contestants shall be required to wear a uniform, consisting of some form of appropriate headwear, a uniform jacket, appropriate belt gear, footwear and trousers of the period.While certain items of uniforming may vary, depending on the unit depicted, jackets (uniform coats) for the period the competitor has chosen shall be required. For example, while it is well known that many Confederate units had difficulty in obtaining uniforms, and often campaigned in homemade uniforms, shirtsleeves, or civilian clothing, for the sake of sameness for both sides, contestants depicting rebel soldiers shall be required to wear a uniform jacket. Nevertheless, Confederates may wear trousers other than strictly the regulation light blue (Confederate regulations stated that uniform trousers were made of light blue wool, virtually identical to those of the Union army). Since southern soldiers wore blue (often captured from northern soldiers), gray, butternut (brownish gray) and even civilian attire—such garments shall be permitted, so long as they are of the 1860s styling. This has been decided for the sake of the colorful variety of uniforms that shall be worn in the arena, yet shall not place an unfair competitive advantage on one side or another. Both Union and Confederate contestants may wear any period shirt underneath the jacket, and vests are optional. However, as with other gear, the competitor shall be judged on total appearance.


a)      Although there weren’t any official female fighting units during the Cavalry period, there were a number of women who disguised themselves as soldiers and otherwise followed the army throughout the war. Some women who served as camp followers adopted colorful uniforms of their own that included skirts and trousers—called vivandieres. Outfits such as these shall be allowed in the Class, so long as all of the other rules of the division are followed (firearms, saddlery, tack, holsters, and so on).

7.      HORSES:

a)      All CMSA rules apply, except where colored horses are concerned. Any color horse may be used, however, since we are striving for historical authenticity in this Class, and the U.S. military did not normally issue spotted or “colored” horses, (appaloosas, palominos, pintos) and relied on solid color animals, competitors wishing to compete as Federal troops shall use a solid color animal of the appropriate color. If a “colored” horse is used, it may cost that competitor in points for historical accuracy—but the horse can be used for competition. Confederate troops can use “colored” horses so long as that contestant is depicting a Confederate soldier of the western theater of the war. If the competitor has not stated the unit and region of depiction or the unit hails from the eastern theater, then the “colored” horse rule shall also apply to that competitorSince Appaloosa horses were virtually unknown during the War Between the States, they may be used, but the “colored” horse rule shall again apply.


a)      The courses of competition for this Class shall be specifically designed to allow for enough time to return guns in those flap-covered holsters and draw the second revolver from another flap holster.

b)      Specialty stages unique to the Cavalry Class utilizing military strategy may be employed.

9.      TIMING:

a)      All CMSA timing rules apply


a)      Riders shall declare which period of the Cavalry they are portraying and shall be judged accordinglyThey shall have firearms of that period with them when they are judged.

b)      All CMSA scoring rules apply. Extra ½ second shall be given for each item. (which amounts to reduction of total score) given for historical accuracy:

c)      Example: Points will be given for various categories such as:

i)        RIDER’S UNIFORMING—break down into 5 (five) areas of judging/consideration. (1. Headwear 2. jacket 3. belt gear 4. trousers 5. boots and spurs).

ii)       HORSE EQUIPMENT—break down into several categories such as Headstall and saddlery

iii)     (Headstall is broken down to (1. Halter 2. Bridle, bit and reins)

iv)     Saddlery is broken down to (1. saddle 2. blanket and/or saddle cloth 3. accessories—such as breast collar, field pack, saddlebags, etc.)

v)      With .5 seconds for each item, up to 5 full seconds score reduction may be awarded. Judging shall be done by the peers before and after inspections in a military atmosphere. We shall not be thread counters but just go for look and feel.


a)      All CMSA rules apply.


a)      Blue and gray balloons.


a)      The only ammunition allowed for use in the CMSA’s Cavalry Class is CMSA approved .45 Colt blank ammunition. There are no exceptions.

14.  SAFETY:

a)      Since this is strictly a mounted revolver competition, carbines and sabers shall be left out of the arena for safety’s sake.


Mounted Rifle Shooting is a class within the sport of Cowboy Mounted Shooting.  Competitors should be experienced shooters prior to attempting the rifle competition and shall follow CMSA rules plus the following additions or changes.

Mounted Rifle competition shall be accomplished with the first five targets being engaged with pistol (CMSA pistol rules apply) and the second five targets being engaged with a rifle.  The competitor shall not have a round in the chamber of the pump or lever action rifle prior to crossing the starting line and shall lever or pump the action prior to engaging the first rundown target.

a)      The rifle used shall be one manufactured prior to 1900 or a reproduction thereof.  It shall be a production weapon, not a one of a kind or a home-made weapon.  It shall be a pump action, lever action, or revolving rifle.  The pump action and lever action shall be 45 LC, 44/40 or 44 magnum caliber.  The revolving rifle shall be 45 LC.     Rifle barrel minimum length shall be 16 inches and overall rifle minimum length shall be 30 inches. 

b)      The ammunition for the pump and lever action rifles should be the 5 in 1 or 3 in 1 blank cartridge.   The revolving rifle shall use pistol ammunition with a sealant (bore butter, Crisco or like substance) applied to the crimped end.  This sealant shall be available at the armorer’s table. Do not use any type of adhesive as it could provide a projectile or clog the gun. All ammunition shall be supplied by the match armorer

c)      Rifle competitors shall be divided into two divisions: Men’s and Ladies.

d)      Clothing and Tack: CMSA rules apply, plus the rifle scabbard shall be of leather construction and shall be attached to the saddle. 

e)      Each stage shall be started with the rifle in the scabbard.

f)       Courses of fire:  The following 10 patterns from the CMSA Coursebook shall be the rifle courses:  1, 10, 18, 26, 36, 43, 47, 48, 49 and 50.

g)      Rifle match shall consist of two or more stages.  Course of fire to be selected at the shooters’ meeting. 

h)      Penalties are the same as CMSA pistol rules, plus the following:    

i)        Failure to lever or pump the lever or pump action rifles prior to engaging the first rundown target shall result in a 10 second procedural penalty.

ii)      Rifle stock shall be held against the shoulder or under the arm. No waving or extending the arm with the rifle in one hand shooting like a pistol shall be allowed. Failure to do so shall result in a 10 second procedural.

iii)    CMSA rules shall apply concerning the number of procedurals per stage.  If there are no CMSA rules concerning number of procedurals, the total shall be one procedural per stage.


 Eastern US Championship, Western US Championship, National Championship & World Championship


a)      4 and 5 year Olds (Futurity)

b)      Maturity Division (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 Futurity/Maturity/Sweepstakes Horses)

2.      FUTURITY ELIGIBILITY: Horse shall not have competed in any organized mounted shooting competition prior to nomination. Horse shall be nominated or space saved by April 1st, 2006.  Nominated horses do not have to be shown at all four major competitions; Eastern, Western, Nationals, & World Championships.  Contestant may ride no more than two horses in the Futurity.

a)      The age of a horse is determined by January 1st of the year foaled.  Four and five year olds are foaled in 2001 and 2002.

3.      MATURITY DIVISION ELIGIBILITY: All horses that have been paid in full in the 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 Futurity Program are eligible for this division. Horses that were sold and have kept their payments current are eligible for this division. No substitutions are allowed. Riders may ride more than two horses. Past Sweepstakes horses and Maturity horses remain eligible FOR LIFE, IF CURRENT AS OF DEC 31, 2005.

a)      Owners and riders shall be current CMSA Cardholders

b)      All other CMSA rules to govern

c)      Riders may only ride two horses in the Futurity Division.

d)      Riders may only ride two horses in the Maturity Division (formerly Sweepstakes Class).

4.      PROTESTS:

a)      Alleged infractions of the rules shall be reviewed by the CMSA Match Director

b)      A protest shall be conducted according to the CMSA Rulebook.

c)      The Futurity Committee shall review eligibility infractions.


a)      CMSA points are not awarded for Futurity Divisions

b)      Horses shall compete in two stages at each of the four major events.  Maturity horses to compete only at the National and World of the four major events, the Eastern, Western, National, and World Championship.

c)      Watch for purse schedule and awards on website.                                                                                                  

d)      CMSA Stages and alternate to be drawn prior to competition                       

e)      CMSA Stages to show training and speed.

f)        Mandatory entry of $25 at the Big Four Championships (100% Jackpot payback) to be used for tracking purposes.

g)      Futurity entries are separate from SIP entries.

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