The cowgirl will take up a gallop and ride towards the first barrel. They must make a complete loop around the barrel then accelerate toward the second barrel. At the second barrel, they will again make a complete loop, which means they will make the turn on the other lead then accelerate toward the third barrel. At the third barrel they will again make a complete loop and then run back to the start. The racers will pass through an elctronic timer entering and leaving the barrel arrangement and the elapsed time is the time for the event.
It is permitted to touch the barrels but not to knock them over. Knocking a barrel over adds a 5 second penalty to the time. Since going wide around a barrel is slower a delicate balance of speed and control must be made to achieve the fastest times. The time of the event is affected by the size of the arena in which the event is held, but the times for top professionals typically ranges in the 13-18 second range.