Reindeer Competition Dictionary

Lasso throwing

Lasso (or in Finnish suopunki), is a traditional tool used in reindeer herding. In the competition there are no reindeer, but wooden sticks on the ground that has to be “caught” with the lasso. The aim is to catch them as soon as possible from all the ranges, starting from the shortest to the longest distance. For women the distances are 7 to 11 metres and for men 11 to 15 metres. There are own competitions for children. There is usually a time limit between 6 to 10 minutes in the competitions and the person who gets through the track fastest is the winner. The best lasso throwers finish in a minute!

Preliminary contest

In the preliminary contests, the competing reindeer try to finish the one kilometre track in less than 1 minute and 25 seconds. If they do this, they will get a racing status and can participate to official reindeer races. These preliminary tests are monitored by an official supervisor.

General series

This is the first series where a reindeer can officially compete. It has managed to pass the preliminary contest and it has been registered to the Reindeer Herders’ Association’s registry of competing reindeer. It has then received the ear tag too. A reindeer competes in this series until it meets the time required for the Hot series.

Hot series

When a competing reindeer finishes the one kilometre track in 1 minute 19 seconds, it will compete in the Hot series. In other words, the fastest reindeer compete in this series.

Reindeer Cup

There are maximum of five Reindeer Cup competitions annually and they are monitored and approved by the Reindeer Competition Committee. These competitions are organised by local organisations. The reindeer that collects most of the points during the Reindeer Cup is the Cup-champion. The Finnish competition season ends to the Reindeer Championships where the 24 best reindeer from the Hot series compete.


Sprint competition is held in a 201.12 meter long track. Sprints are very popular competitions in the cities. They are organised annually for example in Rovaniemi, Inari and Maze (Máze in Norway).

Golden watch Competition

This competition is held annually as a part of a ReindeerCup. The first competition was held in 1976. The prize has traditionally been a golden watch and this series is only for women drivers.