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MEEKER I Expect crazy things to happen out at Ute Park when wary range ewes challenge top border collie/handler teams at the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials, Sept. 5-9.
Competitors from across North America, Brazil and South Africa, with an eye on $25,000 in purse and cash prizes, use highly refined skills to try to maneuver the feisty yearlings over a rugged half mile course replicating situations found on a working ranch. The young ladies, unused to people and dogs, pick from a bagful of sometimes breathtaking tricks trying to outwit that predator, the border collie. If judge Andrew Dickman from Oxton, Scotland, says, “Thank you very much,” you will know that the ewes have won that round, disqualifying the team.
Both those new to the sport and aficionados will appreciate the commentary of announcer Ray Crabtree, a sheep rancher, boot maker, teacher, DJ, and border collie handler from Kuna, Idaho.
Second grade students from Meeker and Rangely schools will attend the Classic free of charge, with transportation costs covered by ETO Energy. Thanks to the dedicated teachers who have developed a unique curriculum around the event, the children can explain a great deal about the dog trials and facts about border collies and sheep. But, they will not have seen most of the ancillary activities that delight all ages.
Zippity Do Dogs (agility) Dogs and Westside Woofers (flyball) dogs provide more excitement as club members at all skills levels perform continuously Friday through Sunday. There will be lamb cooking and border collie seminars again, along with a unique Kilt Fiber to Fabric Workshop presented by Sheep Camp Wool Mill. Willson & McKee, a Celtic music duo will also sing and play traditional Celtic music on ancient instruments at a free concert on the courthouse lawn on Saturday evening.
And, of course, look for all those intriguing things Classic spectators have come to expect — pancake breakfasts, barbecues, a unique craft fair, art contest and auction, sheepherder’s wagons, petting farm, demonstrations, a bagpiper and more. Consult the detailed schedule elsewhere in this issue.
Tickets are sold at Wendll’s Wondrous Things, the Meeker Chamber of Commerce and at the gate. Discounted tickets for RBC residents are not sold at the gate. Avoid lines and parking hassles; take the free shuttle or horse carriage from downtown Meeker Friday-Sunday.
For additional information visit www.meekersheepdog.com or call 970-878-0111.