Concerts at the top of the new attractions during the Classic

MEEKER I New events will complement the world-class sheepdog competition in Meeker for the 30th annual Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials, Sept. 7- 11.

Thursday, Sept. 8 features a local and spectator favorite, the Art Reception and Lamb Cook-off at the Wilber Barn from 5-6:30 p.m. New to the evening will be a solo concert by country recording artist Michael Martin Murphey.
Trial visitors will have a personal unique opportunity to listen to American cowboy music courtesy of iconic Western singer/songwriter Michael Martin Murphey, the top selling artist of that genre of all time.
As always, admission to Art Reception and Cook-off is free. Following the activities at the Wilber Barn, folks will be directed towards the main vending area, where the concert will be held. A small admission fee will be charged for those attending the concert. Vendors will remain open for the evening and tickets can be purchased at the main gate.
On Friday at 8 p.m. at the 4-H Community Center at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds, there will be a free screening of the Award Winning Film “UNBranded.” “UNBranded” is a documentary that follows four friends (recent graduates of Texas A&M) on their 3,000-mile trip from the Mexican border north to Canada using recently broke mustangs.
Facing challenges of weather, terrain, human nature and the mustangs, the four embrace this journey across the American West. The trip became an epic journey of self-discovery, tested friendships and iconic landscapes that included runaway horses, a sassy donkey, perilous mountain passes, rodeos, sickness, injury and death.
The Audience Award winner at Telluride Mountainfilm and Hot Docs Film Festival, “UNBranded” is a soaring tale of danger and resilience, an emotionally charged odyssey that shines a bright light on the complex plight of our country’s wild horses. Admission to the film is free.
Beginning at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, evening events will all be held at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds this year. Visitors to Meeker and locals will join two acclaimed entertainers as they offer songs and stories of the American West.
Longtime friends, Gary McMahan of Bellevue, Colo., and Dave Munsick of Sheridan, Wyo., share stories about the land, lore and lives of the West, leaving the audience to feel that they’ve experienced life through their eyes.
McMahon wrote the famous song, “Double Diamond” and practices his heart’s desire: to write, perform, and record the stories, poems, songs and humor of his Western heritage. Gary’s songs have been recorded by stars like Ian Tyson, Chris LeDoux and Riders in the Sky. He has also recorded six critically acclaimed albums himself.
He has received the most prestigious award in Western music: A National Cowboy Hall of Fame Wrangler Award. Gary’s poems have also been published by the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev.
Joining McMahon from Sheridan, Wyo., is Dave Munsick, who writes and sings stories from Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains. Munsick has written scores of songs, produced 6 CDs of original music and written and recorded themes for historical documentaries as well as compositions for government, commercial and private sectors. In addition to writing and recording, he performs with several bands and has opened for or performed on fiddle, piano and guitar for artists including Chris LeDoux, Gary McMahan, Ian Tyson, Lyle Lovett and Suzie Bogguss.
The Meeker Lions Club will host their barbecue and a beer garden from 5-7 p.m. at the fairgrounds that evening. Following the barbecue, spectators and handlers will move over to the arena to watch the Handler’s Challenge Arena Trial. That is a time for spectators to watch handlers gather together, kick back and have some fun. Ray Crabtree will provide commentary.
Event visitors will enjoy the finest original border collie art to be found at the Wilber Barn. Juried by Meeker artist Pat Daggett, all art will be offered for sale through silent auction. Works by Daggett and 2016 poster artist Leslie Franklin of Winnipeg, Man., Canada will be displayed in the barn as well. Steven Baker will host a book signing and special exhibit on Saturday and Sunday at the Wilber Art Barn, featuring the life and works of Colorado’s sheepherder artist Pacomio Chacon.
Sheep, dogs, music, film and art—the week of Sept. 7-11 in Meeker—present a rare opportunity to enjoy authentic culture and entertainment of the American West.
For more information, call 970-878-0111 or visit www.meekersheepdog.com