Northwest Colorado is going to the dogs in September | TheFencePost.com

Northwest Colorado is going to the dogs in September

Sandra Besseghini
Meeker Classic

Tom KayKathy Knox and Ettrick Sal Penning. The team will compete again this year at Meeker.

Northwest Colorado is going to the dogs in September. Working Border Collies, that is, doing their stuff at three top notch U.S. Border Collie Handler Association (USBCHA) events. The Steamboat Stock Dog Challenge occurs over Labor Day weekend (September 3-5) at the Stanko Ranch outside Steamboat Springs, Colo., followed by the 25th annual Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trial in Meeker, Colo., September 7-11, with up to $35,000 in purse and prizes. The 2010-2011 USBCHA National Finals, held in a western state every third year, will be at the Strang Ranch in Carbondale, Colo., September 13-18, 2011. Winners share a $44,000 purse.

The USBCHA, formed in 1979 to insure the preservation of the Border Collie as a working stockdog, sanctions two classes of sheep dog trials throughout the U.S. and Canada. The Open allows experienced dogs and U.S./Canadian handlers, and Nursery is for dogs under the age of three. The top 20 percent of all dogs at a sanctioned Open trial earn qualifying points toward the National Finals, and the top 150 qualifying dogs may compete at the Finals. Nursery dogs placing in the top 20 percent of two sanctioned Nursery or Open trials or one of each qualify for the Nationals. Steamboat and the Nationals feature Open and Nursery divisions. The Meeker Classic is an Open trial.

The Monday trial at Steamboat is a non-sanctioned Open Ranch trial for Open handlers with novice or Nursery dogs or novice handlers with Open dogs. This and other non-sanctioned divisions afford both dogs and handlers the experience necessary to become top trialers, or the opportunity just to compete and have fun.

All three trials follow the USBCHA trial guidelines, patterned after those of England’s 110-year-old International Sheep Dog Society. The work required of the dog/handler team replicate those found on a working farm or ranch. The first half of the course highlights the Border Collie’s unique ability to gather sheep while the second illustrates the communication and teamwork necessary for efficient stock handling.

The basic USBCA course layout will be familiar to all but the uninitiated. The set out post and the handler’s post are from 400 to 900 yards apart, and the fetch panels between them must be 200 yards from the handler’s post. The shed ring is 40 yards in diameter, and the pen should be 9-feet-by-8-feet, with the gate on an 8-foot side. Some sanctioned trials, including Steamboat, may feature other typical obstacles like bridges or chutes.

Each trial at Steamboat and preliminary runs at Meeker and National Finals will consist of outrun, lift, fetch, drive, shed and pen. Semi-finals featuring the top 30 dogs at Meeker and the top 40 at the Nationals will be held on respective Saturdays. Each will require a single shed following the pen. Final run of the top 12 dogs at Meeker, top 17 at Nationals will involve a double lift and the International Shed. Each trial at Steamboat and preliminary runs at Meeker and National Finals will consist of outrun, lift, fetch, drive, shed and pen. Semi-finals featuring the top 30 dogs at Meeker and the top 40 at the Nationals will be held on respective Saturdays. Each will require a single shed following the pen. Final run of the top 12 dogs at Meeker, top 17 at Nationals will involve a double lift and the International Shed.

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Sheep – wary yearling range ewes – are always the major obstacle at Meeker and may be the deciding factor at the Nationals, where many finalists have had little or no experience with these notoriously unpredictable creatures. Unlike commonly used tame pasture sheep, these flighty youngsters are just down from large flocks in remote alpine pastures and on the lookout for the next predator. To level the field, each team faces a fresh packet of them in the preliminary run. Some are run a second time on Saturday or Sunday.

Steamboat also uses range ewes but, in keeping with the tenor of that trial, works them beforehand so they are not quite so wild. The atmosphere at Steamboat is low key, allowing competitors to acclimate to the altitude. The challenging course is shorter and the sheep easier to handle, building confidence in the dogs before they move on to Meeker and the National Finals. Steamboat winners often win Meeker or the Finals.

The locales of these trials are spectacular and each trail offers ancillary activities, such as demonstrations, vendors and other activities. The announcer at Steamboat gives a play-by-play and at Meeker comments on the runs, helping even the most inexperienced spectator to understand what is happening. Admission is free at Steamboat (donations welcomed) and minimal at Meeker and the National Finals.

For more information, please go to http://www.SteamboatDogtrial.com, http://www.MeekerSheepdog.com or http://www.SheepdogFinals.com.

Northwest Colorado is going to the dogs in September. Working Border Collies, that is, doing their stuff at three top notch U.S. Border Collie Handler Association (USBCHA) events. The Steamboat Stock Dog Challenge occurs over Labor Day weekend (September 3-5) at the Stanko Ranch outside Steamboat Springs, Colo., followed by the 25th annual Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trial in Meeker, Colo., September 7-11, with up to $35,000 in purse and prizes. The 2010-2011 USBCHA National Finals, held in a western state every third year, will be at the Strang Ranch in Carbondale, Colo., September 13-18, 2011. Winners share a $44,000 purse.

The USBCHA, formed in 1979 to insure the preservation of the Border Collie as a working stockdog, sanctions two classes of sheep dog trials throughout the U.S. and Canada. The Open allows experienced dogs and U.S./Canadian handlers, and Nursery is for dogs under the age of three. The top 20 percent of all dogs at a sanctioned Open trial earn qualifying points toward the National Finals, and the top 150 qualifying dogs may compete at the Finals. Nursery dogs placing in the top 20 percent of two sanctioned Nursery or Open trials or one of each qualify for the Nationals. Steamboat and the Nationals feature Open and Nursery divisions. The Meeker Classic is an Open trial.

The Monday trial at Steamboat is a non-sanctioned Open Ranch trial for Open handlers with novice or Nursery dogs or novice handlers with Open dogs. This and other non-sanctioned divisions afford both dogs and handlers the experience necessary to become top trialers, or the opportunity just to compete and have fun.

All three trials follow the USBCHA trial guidelines, patterned after those of England’s 110-year-old International Sheep Dog Society. The work required of the dog/handler team replicate those found on a working farm or ranch. The first half of the course highlights the Border Collie’s unique ability to gather sheep while the second illustrates the communication and teamwork necessary for efficient stock handling.

The basic USBCA course layout will be familiar to all but the uninitiated. The set out post and the handler’s post are from 400 to 900 yards apart, and the fetch panels between them must be 200 yards from the handler’s post. The shed ring is 40 yards in diameter, and the pen should be 9-feet-by-8-feet, with the gate on an 8-foot side. Some sanctioned trials, including Steamboat, may feature other typical obstacles like bridges or chutes.

Each trial at Steamboat and preliminary runs at Meeker and National Finals will consist of outrun, lift, fetch, drive, shed and pen. Semi-finals featuring the top 30 dogs at Meeker and the top 40 at the Nationals will be held on respective Saturdays. Each will require a single shed following the pen. Final run of the top 12 dogs at Meeker, top 17 at Nationals will involve a double lift and the International Shed. Each trial at Steamboat and preliminary runs at Meeker and National Finals will consist of outrun, lift, fetch, drive, shed and pen. Semi-finals featuring the top 30 dogs at Meeker and the top 40 at the Nationals will be held on respective Saturdays. Each will require a single shed following the pen. Final run of the top 12 dogs at Meeker, top 17 at Nationals will involve a double lift and the International Shed.

Sheep – wary yearling range ewes – are always the major obstacle at Meeker and may be the deciding factor at the Nationals, where many finalists have had little or no experience with these notoriously unpredictable creatures. Unlike commonly used tame pasture sheep, these flighty youngsters are just down from large flocks in remote alpine pastures and on the lookout for the next predator. To level the field, each team faces a fresh packet of them in the preliminary run. Some are run a second time on Saturday or Sunday.

Steamboat also uses range ewes but, in keeping with the tenor of that trial, works them beforehand so they are not quite so wild. The atmosphere at Steamboat is low key, allowing competitors to acclimate to the altitude. The challenging course is shorter and the sheep easier to handle, building confidence in the dogs before they move on to Meeker and the National Finals. Steamboat winners often win Meeker or the Finals.

The locales of these trials are spectacular and each trail offers ancillary activities, such as demonstrations, vendors and other activities. The announcer at Steamboat gives a play-by-play and at Meeker comments on the runs, helping even the most inexperienced spectator to understand what is happening. Admission is free at Steamboat (donations welcomed) and minimal at Meeker and the National Finals.

For more information, please go to http://www.SteamboatDogtrial.com, http://www.MeekerSheepdog.com or http://www.SheepdogFinals.com.

Northwest Colorado is going to the dogs in September. Working Border Collies, that is, doing their stuff at three top notch U.S. Border Collie Handler Association (USBCHA) events. The Steamboat Stock Dog Challenge occurs over Labor Day weekend (September 3-5) at the Stanko Ranch outside Steamboat Springs, Colo., followed by the 25th annual Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trial in Meeker, Colo., September 7-11, with up to $35,000 in purse and prizes. The 2010-2011 USBCHA National Finals, held in a western state every third year, will be at the Strang Ranch in Carbondale, Colo., September 13-18, 2011. Winners share a $44,000 purse.

The USBCHA, formed in 1979 to insure the preservation of the Border Collie as a working stockdog, sanctions two classes of sheep dog trials throughout the U.S. and Canada. The Open allows experienced dogs and U.S./Canadian handlers, and Nursery is for dogs under the age of three. The top 20 percent of all dogs at a sanctioned Open trial earn qualifying points toward the National Finals, and the top 150 qualifying dogs may compete at the Finals. Nursery dogs placing in the top 20 percent of two sanctioned Nursery or Open trials or one of each qualify for the Nationals. Steamboat and the Nationals feature Open and Nursery divisions. The Meeker Classic is an Open trial.

The Monday trial at Steamboat is a non-sanctioned Open Ranch trial for Open handlers with novice or Nursery dogs or novice handlers with Open dogs. This and other non-sanctioned divisions afford both dogs and handlers the experience necessary to become top trialers, or the opportunity just to compete and have fun.

All three trials follow the USBCHA trial guidelines, patterned after those of England’s 110-year-old International Sheep Dog Society. The work required of the dog/handler team replicate those found on a working farm or ranch. The first half of the course highlights the Border Collie’s unique ability to gather sheep while the second illustrates the communication and teamwork necessary for efficient stock handling.

The basic USBCA course layout will be familiar to all but the uninitiated. The set out post and the handler’s post are from 400 to 900 yards apart, and the fetch panels between them must be 200 yards from the handler’s post. The shed ring is 40 yards in diameter, and the pen should be 9-feet-by-8-feet, with the gate on an 8-foot side. Some sanctioned trials, including Steamboat, may feature other typical obstacles like bridges or chutes.

Each trial at Steamboat and preliminary runs at Meeker and National Finals will consist of outrun, lift, fetch, drive, shed and pen. Semi-finals featuring the top 30 dogs at Meeker and the top 40 at the Nationals will be held on respective Saturdays. Each will require a single shed following the pen. Final run of the top 12 dogs at Meeker, top 17 at Nationals will involve a double lift and the International Shed. Each trial at Steamboat and preliminary runs at Meeker and National Finals will consist of outrun, lift, fetch, drive, shed and pen. Semi-finals featuring the top 30 dogs at Meeker and the top 40 at the Nationals will be held on respective Saturdays. Each will require a single shed following the pen. Final run of the top 12 dogs at Meeker, top 17 at Nationals will involve a double lift and the International Shed.

Sheep – wary yearling range ewes – are always the major obstacle at Meeker and may be the deciding factor at the Nationals, where many finalists have had little or no experience with these notoriously unpredictable creatures. Unlike commonly used tame pasture sheep, these flighty youngsters are just down from large flocks in remote alpine pastures and on the lookout for the next predator. To level the field, each team faces a fresh packet of them in the preliminary run. Some are run a second time on Saturday or Sunday.

Steamboat also uses range ewes but, in keeping with the tenor of that trial, works them beforehand so they are not quite so wild. The atmosphere at Steamboat is low key, allowing competitors to acclimate to the altitude. The challenging course is shorter and the sheep easier to handle, building confidence in the dogs before they move on to Meeker and the National Finals. Steamboat winners often win Meeker or the Finals.

The locales of these trials are spectacular and each trail offers ancillary activities, such as demonstrations, vendors and other activities. The announcer at Steamboat gives a play-by-play and at Meeker comments on the runs, helping even the most inexperienced spectator to understand what is happening. Admission is free at Steamboat (donations welcomed) and minimal at Meeker and the National Finals.

For more information, please go to http://www.SteamboatDogtrial.com, http://www.MeekerSheepdog.com or http://www.SheepdogFinals.com.

Northwest Colorado is going to the dogs in September. Working Border Collies, that is, doing their stuff at three top notch U.S. Border Collie Handler Association (USBCHA) events. The Steamboat Stock Dog Challenge occurs over Labor Day weekend (September 3-5) at the Stanko Ranch outside Steamboat Springs, Colo., followed by the 25th annual Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trial in Meeker, Colo., September 7-11, with up to $35,000 in purse and prizes. The 2010-2011 USBCHA National Finals, held in a western state every third year, will be at the Strang Ranch in Carbondale, Colo., September 13-18, 2011. Winners share a $44,000 purse.

The USBCHA, formed in 1979 to insure the preservation of the Border Collie as a working stockdog, sanctions two classes of sheep dog trials throughout the U.S. and Canada. The Open allows experienced dogs and U.S./Canadian handlers, and Nursery is for dogs under the age of three. The top 20 percent of all dogs at a sanctioned Open trial earn qualifying points toward the National Finals, and the top 150 qualifying dogs may compete at the Finals. Nursery dogs placing in the top 20 percent of two sanctioned Nursery or Open trials or one of each qualify for the Nationals. Steamboat and the Nationals feature Open and Nursery divisions. The Meeker Classic is an Open trial.

The Monday trial at Steamboat is a non-sanctioned Open Ranch trial for Open handlers with novice or Nursery dogs or novice handlers with Open dogs. This and other non-sanctioned divisions afford both dogs and handlers the experience necessary to become top trialers, or the opportunity just to compete and have fun.

All three trials follow the USBCHA trial guidelines, patterned after those of England’s 110-year-old International Sheep Dog Society. The work required of the dog/handler team replicate those found on a working farm or ranch. The first half of the course highlights the Border Collie’s unique ability to gather sheep while the second illustrates the communication and teamwork necessary for efficient stock handling.

The basic USBCA course layout will be familiar to all but the uninitiated. The set out post and the handler’s post are from 400 to 900 yards apart, and the fetch panels between them must be 200 yards from the handler’s post. The shed ring is 40 yards in diameter, and the pen should be 9-feet-by-8-feet, with the gate on an 8-foot side. Some sanctioned trials, including Steamboat, may feature other typical obstacles like bridges or chutes.

Each trial at Steamboat and preliminary runs at Meeker and National Finals will consist of outrun, lift, fetch, drive, shed and pen. Semi-finals featuring the top 30 dogs at Meeker and the top 40 at the Nationals will be held on respective Saturdays. Each will require a single shed following the pen. Final run of the top 12 dogs at Meeker, top 17 at Nationals will involve a double lift and the International Shed. Each trial at Steamboat and preliminary runs at Meeker and National Finals will consist of outrun, lift, fetch, drive, shed and pen. Semi-finals featuring the top 30 dogs at Meeker and the top 40 at the Nationals will be held on respective Saturdays. Each will require a single shed following the pen. Final run of the top 12 dogs at Meeker, top 17 at Nationals will involve a double lift and the International Shed.

Sheep – wary yearling range ewes – are always the major obstacle at Meeker and may be the deciding factor at the Nationals, where many finalists have had little or no experience with these notoriously unpredictable creatures. Unlike commonly used tame pasture sheep, these flighty youngsters are just down from large flocks in remote alpine pastures and on the lookout for the next predator. To level the field, each team faces a fresh packet of them in the preliminary run. Some are run a second time on Saturday or Sunday.

Steamboat also uses range ewes but, in keeping with the tenor of that trial, works them beforehand so they are not quite so wild. The atmosphere at Steamboat is low key, allowing competitors to acclimate to the altitude. The challenging course is shorter and the sheep easier to handle, building confidence in the dogs before they move on to Meeker and the National Finals. Steamboat winners often win Meeker or the Finals.

The locales of these trials are spectacular and each trail offers ancillary activities, such as demonstrations, vendors and other activities. The announcer at Steamboat gives a play-by-play and at Meeker comments on the runs, helping even the most inexperienced spectator to understand what is happening. Admission is free at Steamboat (donations welcomed) and minimal at Meeker and the National Finals.

For more information, please go to http://www.SteamboatDogtrial.com, http://www.MeekerSheepdog.com or http://www.SheepdogFinals.com.