The Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials

“The worst day in Western Colorado is better than the best day anywhere else.”
~ Bryce the Auctioneer

IMG_1821We made an end of summer visit to Meeker to attend the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials.  Ever since moving to Colorado a couple of years ago, this event has been on our “must do” list, so we were glad to be able to finally make the trip this year.  We love visiting small town Meeker, CO and were curious to see what the town would be like while hosting an International event.  The trials included participants from across the world, including Canada, Brazil and South Africa.

While Furry B was not able to attend the trials, we did bring back some recon surveillance for his review, so he could learn some tricks of the trade.

The multi day festivities begin with 125 dogs in the Preliminary Round; the top 30 finishers then move to the Semi-Finals, and finally 12 qualifying dogs make it to the Finals.  The goal of the trials is for the sheepdogs (Border Collies) and handler to work together to fetch the sheep herd and maneuver them through a series of course tasks/challenges.  Border Collies are highly intelligent and ready to work.  This was apparent as each dog appeared with his handler, eagerly awaiting his command to leave post to seek out the herd of sheep, which were positioned on the other side of the pasture over a quarter mile away.  Click here for Herding Dog History.

Meeker sheep are free roamers known for their lack of cooperation and stubbornness.  The free range sheep “migrate from winter range North of Cisco, Utah to the high, lush mountain pastures above Vail and Eagle, Colorado in the summer” and challenge anyone (any dog) who might try to dictate their path.  It was entertaining to watch the sheepdogs attempt to maintain control of  the feisty sheep.  The independent Meeker sheep make this championship trial especially challenging for the Border Collies and their handlers.  With a purse of $20,000, the Meeker Sheepdog Trials attract the best of the best!

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