Nine of us joined the Museum of Western Colorado van for another adventure in the Colorado outdoors yesterday; we drove up to the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials, a three day event. The volunteers working the event said it was the biggest and best ever. And who would disagree? I was certainly impressed.
First off, we learned a bit about what sheepdogs must learn in order to actually herd. And by herding, we were told that these dogs will herd anything...ducks, geese, sheep, little kids...you name it, they will herd it. Whistles were explained, calls were named and good information abounded. Sorry I did not get too many pictures, but this one of a professional and her dogs was the first I caught:
We settled down in our lawn chairs, hats on and sunscreen applied, and watched several hours of the sheepdog trials.
(on the course, border collie keeping the five sheep on track)
Mick, the border collie owned by the Enzeroths, is shown with Ron and his wife in the photo below.
It was only after reading the program and reviewing the names of the 42 dogs participating in trials yesterday that I saw that the Enzeroths had listed "Dublin, Texas" as their home. Now that is a small world because I lived in Stephenville, Texas for three years. (Stephenville is about 12 miles from Dublin.) Too bad we did not mention that little factoid when we were talking! And if you two are reading this, I lived with my grandparents then, the L.B. Howards. Contact me if you want to talk about Dublin and our high school football rivalry since I was an old SHS cheerleader. Or maybe it should be "former" cheerleader since none of us wants to be considered "old".
Mick was friendly and liked his ears scratched. He and three other border collies allow the Enzeroths to live with them and take care of their high energy needs. The Mrs. said they sleep downstairs in their private kennel quarters and enjoy walks and training. Their youngest dog is 10 weeks old, and the older is 12 years old. Mick is 2 and it was his first trial run.
You should have seen the look on Mick's face when he looked at Mr. Enzeroth. Adoring. It reminded me of when Nancy Reagan used to look up at Ronald Reagan like he was the only man in the world (for her). Really, Mick's expression of love was just heartwarming.
Bringing in over 700 sheep from the area around Meeker is no small task, and most of the budget for the event consists of getting the sheep down for the trials and then back to their grazing areas. Real, live, cowboys were there for getting the sheep off the eastern side of the course. Again, sorry, no photos.
Those caring for the sheep? What about them? That is another whole story, but I can show you a picture of a current day sheepwagon seen off road outside Meeker, Colorado below.
This has to be cut off soon, so I will show you my acquisitions from the dog trials adventure. Too bad I ate that delicious lamb fajita with yogurt topping without taking a picture. But I did buy some 100% Shetland Mule Wool from the Sheepcamp people in Molina, Colorado who own a family business there and create their yarns that go from sheep to skein. And I helped out the Western Border Collie Rescue by purchasing one of their monogrammed shirts. After Libby Sweetpea retires from her day job as a registered Therapy dog,( link link link link link link) maybe an older collie would make a good therapy dog.The first sheepwagon was built in 1884; the standard design is 11 feet long and 6.5 feet wide, enclosed by a canvas top, with a stove for heating and cooking. The interior is designed for storage and the compact beds are tucked away. Tables fold down when not in use....In the early years in the American west, a lone sheepherder and his dogs could tend 2,000 sheep - with the sheepwagon as his mobile home as he followed the sheep. A camptender delivered supplies every ten days or so. In the Meeker area, you may see sheepwagons and herders with their dogs and horses, however, they may have solar panels for power to modern conveniences. (Lee Raine...source)
Western Border Collie Rescue ... Because Every Dog Should Have Its Day!
This is the 2012 winner of the Meeker Sheepdog Trial Art Contest:
A fun day. Good luck to all those wonderful dogs in the contest this year, and to the people they own.