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MEEKER I Once a year in September, border collies, handlers and sheepdog enthusiasts converge in Meeker for the annual Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials, offering five days of fun for everyone. The dogs are the main attraction, but weekend highlights showcase two attractions you don’t want to miss.
Award-winning Western entertainer, singer/songwriter and storyteller Gary McMahan will be the featured entertainment for the free outdoor concert on Saturday evening, Sept. 12, downtown on the courthouse lawn.
Bluegrass musicians and the husband/wife duo of Ron and Julie Lynam will accompany McMahan as he treats the crowd with his songs, yodeling and stories.
Country singer Chris LeDoux once said of McMahan, “I would say Gary is our cowboy Bob Dylan. He is a unique talent and my friend.”
Another crowd pleaser set to perform during the weekend will be the “Ducks in Space” production, choreographed by veteran handler and Meeker competitor Dawn Boyce of Georgia.
It’s a unique opportunity for all locals and event visitors to enjoy an evening of free entertainment on Saturday in Meeker.
Starting at 4 p.m., an opening act of a Scottish pipe and drum band will set the tone for an evening of fun on the courthouse lawn followed by McMahan and his band.
Colorado cowboy and entertainer McMahan is a walking page of American history. McMahan said of himself, “I’ve been all over the West, first with my dad as he hauled cattle from Montana and the Dakotas to Texas and all points in between, then as a cowboy, and finally as an entertainer. For most of my life, I’ve somehow managed to make my living either with a horse or a guitar.
“I can remember when Ian Tyson, Chris LeDoux and I were the only genuine cowboy types kicking around Nashville in the early ‘70s,” he said.”All three of us were pretty much out of work, and it stayed that way for over a decade. But we all three hung and rattled and made it through that drought.”
McMahan is the real deal. A native of Greeley, he has made his living doing everything from cowboying to guiding to performing. He can brand, calve, rope, ride broncs, fence, hay, shoe horses, pack and drive teams, and has won many honors in the rodeo arena.
His colorful background has set Gary in good stead to practice his heart’s desire: to write, perform and record the stories, poems, songs and humor of his Western heritage, becoming one of the most dynamic and sought-after writers and performers in his field.
A singer, songwriter, yodeler, humorist, cowboy poet and self-proclaimed general nuisance, McMahan is known for his award-winning songs, captivating stories, uproarious humor and national championship yodeling.
His songs have been recorded by artists such as Garth Brooks, Ian Tyson, Chris LeDoux, Riders in the Sky, Dave Stamey and Juni Fisher. His songs, stories and poems embody what many believe to be the heart of the new West. And, he has 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 been published by the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev., and he has shared the stage with performers such as Doc Watson, Baxter Black, Ian Tyson, Riders in the Sky and Chris LeDoux. He has played hundreds of cowboy poetry gatherings, banquets, festivals and concerts throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia.
Additionally, local Lions Club members will host their traditional barbecue/fundraiser for Saturday evening on the courthouse lawn. For a fun-filled night of good food and great entertainment, don’t miss this special attraction brought to Meeker compliments of the Meeker Classic and the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Parks District.
Another crowd-pleasing feature of the event will be held at Ute Park during the noon-hour break on Saturday and Sunday. It’s a sight that never fails to stop you—border collies working at their handler’s direction to quietly and effectively work livestock.
The best help on a farm or ranch is often the well-trained dog that gathers livestock and assists in working them in the pasture or in the corral. Traditionally, it’s cattle and sheep that are coerced in this practice that is seen in livestock production and on the competition field.
The border collie’s intelligence and adaptability can be utilized for several tasks including managing wildlife and other domestic livestock—including ducks.
Spectators will have to the opportunity to watch a team of border collies work Indian runner Ducks.
Indian runners are a domesticated duck that stands erect and prefers to run or walk as it forages. Originating in Indonesia, these ducks were walked to market and sold as egg layers or for meat.