The 28th annual Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials for 2014 will begin September 3rd and will continue to the 7th. Join us, as the world’s top dogs and handlers encounter unforgiving turf, high altitude, and the West’s most high-strung sheep in one of the nation’s most respected sheepherding competitions. Contrary to arena and other field contests run on even ground, the Classic’s natural pastureland consists of steep hillsides and deep ravines.
Certain dogs that may not be well-trained and ignore their handler’s commands may never find their flocks or, if successful, may quickly lose sheep scattered amidst lanky sagebrush and steep gullies. Being at an altitude of slightly more than 6,000 feet, it sometimes takes a toll on unconditioned dogs and handlers. Handlers must skillfully chose the most energy-saving course for their dogs in order to prevent early tiring-a grim task when amazingly quick sheep change direction unexpectedly. Even though tame stock may be used in other competitions, the Classic’s rookie sheep have just come from their summer high pastures where neither herder nor herd dog interrupted their peace. Famous for dashing away in head-long charges, these sheep are also capable of upsetting the rhythm of the dog and handler’s teamwork where the handler’s “call” a run before the actual completion to save the energy of their overwhelmed dog.
Food and entertainment provide extra fascination. The trial’s site is just west of Meeker on State Highway 13. Tickets are sold at the gate, at the Meeker Chamber of Commerce and at Wendll’s Wondrous Things in downtown Meeker. Please bring your lawn chairs due to limited bleacher seating, and also tag along some binoculars.