The National Western Stockdog Sale is back
As an accomplished cattle dog pursues an elusive steer, the upcoming National Western Stockdog Sale will pursue excellence. The event is held during the National Western Stock Show in Denver.
National Cattle Dog Association Superintendents Jeannie Allen of Alamosa, Colo., and Bob Wagner from Nunn, Colo., who are coordinating and organizing the event, said there will be many exciting activities to watch prior to and during the auction.
Allen said sale day action begins with the Stockdog Trial at 1 p.m. on Jan. 25, 2020, to be immediately followed by a live auction at 2 p.m. Online and phone bidding will be available, as well.
She noted that the National Western Stock Sale will feature a truly elite group of stockdogs shown at the trial. To qualify for the sale, these high-caliber working dogs must first be evaluated by a screening panel of people who possess decades of experience in combined ranching/stockdog training.
Dogs that make the cut for the auction will be fully trained and seasoned working animals whose legitimate ranch experience has been reviewed by the panel via video submissions. The sift is a rigorous process to assure that only the finest quality stockdogs are available at the sale.
Trial and sale attendees will be able to watch the clever canines maneuver cattle through an obstacle course during the National Western Stockdog Sale Preview. More than an entertaining performance, the demonstration requires responsiveness and respect for livestock, Allen said.
She well-knows the requirements for excellence. Allen has owned ranch dogs since 1998, and served as a professional trainer for five years. Adamant that working dogs need to work, she proclaimed, “Every good Border Collie needs to be used, not just sit around in a kennel.”
Furthermore, she believes that stockdogs don’t just enjoy working. “They live for it,” she said.
Natural herding instinct, meticulous training and an inherent desire to perform ranching-related tasks are invaluable traits of working stockdogs, Allen said.
She again commented about the dogs presented for sale at the stock show, clarifying, “These are not primarily trial or trick dogs. You could go to trials with them for a hobby, but move cattle for a living.”
And many ranching livelihoods are positively influenced by good working stockdogs.
One of Allen’s own finest will be among dogs that have made the cut for inclusion in the National Western Stockdog Sale. “Scootch”, a 2-year-old Border Collie raised by Beau Beyer, was 7 months old when Allen astutely purchased him.
At the time, he was Beyer’s best young prospect. “He’s lookin’ like the right kind,” the Kansas breeder had proudly asserted. And, as she trained him, Allen happily discovered that Scootch absolutely was the right kind.
Of course, as with all youngsters, Scootch had to learn some “rules of the road.” Allen recalled her humorous, initial but impromptu face-to-face meeting with the eager lad when she picked him up at the National Cattle Dog Finals in Cheyenne, Wyo.
While watching the Nursery Class, she heard a nearby commotion and then spotted a young dog stubbornly hanging from a horse’s tail, going round and round! Wide-eyed, she realized this was the dog she was there to claim: Scootch! He’d gotten away from the teenage girl whose family had hauled the dog for Allen from Kansas.
His “Who’s a naughty puppy?” playfulness was quickly and totally rectified. Not only is Allen a dog trainer but she and her husband — a horse trainer — also own 40 horses. Scootch promptly learned the intended target was cattle, not equines. He is now a fantastic, well-seasoned working stockdog.
A FRESH START
The 2020 National Western Stockdog Sale will be a reincarnation of sorts after a two-year hiatus. Superintendents Wagner and Allen both acknowledged disappointment that the previous 10-year-long run of sales had slowly began to draw very young and less experienced dogs. Wagner said that it had become somewhat of a dumping ground for puppies rather than a prestigious sale for top-quality, fully trained stockdogs.
“We took some time off to start fresh,” he said.
The carefully planned renewal appears to have worked. Allen estimates that the potential average price for dogs at the 2020 sale should be around $4,000. Serious buyers — cattlemen and breeders — will be well-pleased with the caliber of stockdogs available for purchase.
Wagner said that sometimes people decide to buy based on what they’ve seen from a particular animal they favored while watching the trial. He added that any of these top-of-the-line consigned stockdogs should be able to work cattle for anyone who buys them.
Deadline for qualifying a dog for the January 2020 National Western Stockdog Sale is Dec. 20. Contact Jeannie Allen by phone at (719) 588-7558, or email at email@example.com. Further information about the sale and additional stockdog events can be found on Facebook at National Western Stockdog Sale, and at website http://www.stockdogsale.com.
— Metzger is a freelance writer from Fort Collins, Colo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.