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NWSS Stock Dog Sale

While the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) is known worldwide for its premier livestock shows and sales, it is also hard at work building a reputation for selling another type of stock. 2011 marked the fourth annual NWSS Stock Dog Sale in the historic attached stockyards. On a mild Thursday afternoon, hundreds of spectators including a good number of potential buyers lined the rails to watch a working version of man’s best friend go to the highest bidders.

“This is a pretty good crowd for the sale,” observed Juan Reyez of Wheatland, Wyo. Reyez leads the NWSS sale, but manages a 6,000-7,000 head feedlot along with running 1,200 registered Angus cows as his full-time business. “We’ve had (spectators) standing on the catwalk because they didn’t have enough space around here to watch. I think this goes back to you’d rather pay a little vet bill than workman’s comp,” he quipped with a laugh.

Reyez’s comment reflected accepted wisdom that a good cattle dog can do the job of at least two to three cowboys on horseback. For larger operations, a good dog is a positive addition to a team of cowboys rather than a complete replacement. They can do things a mounted cowboy or handler on foot can’t do. Correctly handled, their speed, agility and stealth can intimidate and eventually discipline even the most objectionable cow. There’s also the fact the dogs are willing workers, don’t carouse, never sleep in and always show up ready to go.

“I tell ya, they don’t talk back to you,” added Reyez with a smile. “You go to the kennel, they are willing to go to work. People pet their dogs and give them treats, (but) the treat and the petting for these dogs is going to work. I would need a lot more help if I didn’t have four or five of them.”

Others at the sale held similar opinions.

“Nowadays it’s so hard to get help on a ranch,” stated working dog breeder Pete Carmichael of Timberlake, S.D. Carmichael brought a young gray Border Collie named Joe to the sale who fetched the second highest price of $3,600. “Most of these people that are interested in these dogs are ranchers,” he continued. “They need work and where else can you get that cheap of help? You buy one of these 2-year-old dogs, you got probably 10 years. All it takes is a little feed and some care and you got them everyday.”

“A well trained cow dog, I can take him out on my own and we can do pretty much what we want,” offered Joe Fleecs of Nebraska, a working dog owner showing up at the sale to observe techniques used inside the cattle pen and to find out how much young cattle dogs were bringing at auction. “I used to ride the horses and bring the cattle in,” he added. “Now I just take the dog out and let him go and we can pretty much bring them in with just the two of us.”

Asked if paying thousands of dollars for a cattle dog was worth it, Fleecs’ answered with conviction.

“Yeah,” he stated right away. “For the cattle and if they work the alleys and the chutes, yeah. Because it saves time and you don’t need as many people around. You can send the dog in and he will do the job. It’s really convenient to have a good dog.”

With that type of sentiment common among those in attendance, the eight dogs for sale – mostly young Border Collies full of potential – arrived with their breeders inside the large outdoor pen and ran cattle while bidders on location and over the internet pushed prices from a low of $1,900 to the highest bid of $4,250. Every dog on scene brought immediate bids north of $1,000 followed by quick counters, causing auctioneer John Korry to earn his money for the day.

“I really do like it,” offered Korry about calling Denver’s stock dog sale. “I was amazed how a dog like this will work for a new owner and the quality of dogs and the consignors (here). They really put a lot of effort into bringing a good product to the sale.”

“To me, they’re invaluable,” summed up Reyez about high-quality working stock dogs. “And they’re also your friends. They’re amazing individuals. I think the more we learn about them, the better they get. We’re doing some amazing things with these dogs.”

While the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) is known worldwide for its premier livestock shows and sales, it is also hard at work building a reputation for selling another type of stock. 2011 marked the fourth annual NWSS Stock Dog Sale in the historic attached stockyards. On a mild Thursday afternoon, hundreds of spectators including a good number of potential buyers lined the rails to watch a working version of man’s best friend go to the highest bidders.

“This is a pretty good crowd for the sale,” observed Juan Reyez of Wheatland, Wyo. Reyez leads the NWSS sale, but manages a 6,000-7,000 head feedlot along with running 1,200 registered Angus cows as his full-time business. “We’ve had (spectators) standing on the catwalk because they didn’t have enough space around here to watch. I think this goes back to you’d rather pay a little vet bill than workman’s comp,” he quipped with a laugh.

Reyez’s comment reflected accepted wisdom that a good cattle dog can do the job of at least two to three cowboys on horseback. For larger operations, a good dog is a positive addition to a team of cowboys rather than a complete replacement. They can do things a mounted cowboy or handler on foot can’t do. Correctly handled, their speed, agility and stealth can intimidate and eventually discipline even the most objectionable cow. There’s also the fact the dogs are willing workers, don’t carouse, never sleep in and always show up ready to go.

“I tell ya, they don’t talk back to you,” added Reyez with a smile. “You go to the kennel, they are willing to go to work. People pet their dogs and give them treats, (but) the treat and the petting for these dogs is going to work. I would need a lot more help if I didn’t have four or five of them.”

Others at the sale held similar opinions.

“Nowadays it’s so hard to get help on a ranch,” stated working dog breeder Pete Carmichael of Timberlake, S.D. Carmichael brought a young gray Border Collie named Joe to the sale who fetched the second highest price of $3,600. “Most of these people that are interested in these dogs are ranchers,” he continued. “They need work and where else can you get that cheap of help? You buy one of these 2-year-old dogs, you got probably 10 years. All it takes is a little feed and some care and you got them everyday.”

“A well trained cow dog, I can take him out on my own and we can do pretty much what we want,” offered Joe Fleecs of Nebraska, a working dog owner showing up at the sale to observe techniques used inside the cattle pen and to find out how much young cattle dogs were bringing at auction. “I used to ride the horses and bring the cattle in,” he added. “Now I just take the dog out and let him go and we can pretty much bring them in with just the two of us.”

Asked if paying thousands of dollars for a cattle dog was worth it, Fleecs’ answered with conviction.

“Yeah,” he stated right away. “For the cattle and if they work the alleys and the chutes, yeah. Because it saves time and you don’t need as many people around. You can send the dog in and he will do the job. It’s really convenient to have a good dog.”

With that type of sentiment common among those in attendance, the eight dogs for sale – mostly young Border Collies full of potential – arrived with their breeders inside the large outdoor pen and ran cattle while bidders on location and over the internet pushed prices from a low of $1,900 to the highest bid of $4,250. Every dog on scene brought immediate bids north of $1,000 followed by quick counters, causing auctioneer John Korry to earn his money for the day.

“I really do like it,” offered Korry about calling Denver’s stock dog sale. “I was amazed how a dog like this will work for a new owner and the quality of dogs and the consignors (here). They really put a lot of effort into bringing a good product to the sale.”

“To me, they’re invaluable,” summed up Reyez about high-quality working stock dogs. “And they’re also your friends. They’re amazing individuals. I think the more we learn about them, the better they get. We’re doing some amazing things with these dogs.”


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