Step back in time at the Meeker Sheepdog Trials this weekend |

Step back in time at the Meeker Sheepdog Trials this weekend

Staff Report

The 16th annual Meeker Classic Championship Sheepdog Trials runs through Sunday.

North America’s top dogs and handlers meet unforgiving terrain, high altitude and the West’s feistiest sheep in one of the nation’s most prestigious sheepherding competitions.

While tame stock may be used in other competitions, the Classic’s yearling sheep have just arrived from their summer high pastures, where neither herder nor herd dog disturbed their tranquility. Notorious for bolting in headlong charges, these sheep can so upset the rhythm of dog and handler teamwork that many a handler “calls” a run before completion to save the spirit of his frustrated dog.

Elimination runs will be held Friday, followed by semi-finals at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7. Sunday, Sept. 8, features the top 10 finalists vying for a $10,000 purse.

Food and entertainment provide additional allure. Hearty pancake breakfasts precede semi-final and final events. Saturday evening’s barbecue dinner kicks off a Calcutta and jackpot competition while a delicious lamb barbecue fills Sunday’s noon menu.

At noon on Saturday, spectators will be treated to a unique fly ball competition featuring Denver’s RUFF Fly Ball Club and a “doggie” tetherball demonstration showcasing Lou Dean’s Border Collies from Blue Mountain, Colo. These events repeat at noon on Sunday with an additional demonstration of dog agility by the Western Agility Group.

Hugh Thackaberry’s live bagpipe music may be heard throughout the weekend. Craft and food booths offer interesting diversions all five days.

Entries for the Classic’s annual art contest will be on display and for sale. Thursday evening the public is invited to view all entries and join in the announcement of this year’s winning artists at a reception hosted by Meeker’s Fawn Creek Gallery and the Meeker Hotel.

The trials site is just west of Meeker on Highway 13. Tickets, sold at the gate, are $10 for one day. A five-day package price is $20 for adults and $10 for children ages five to 10. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, organized school groups may attend free of charge.

Please leave your dog at home, but don’t forget to bring lawn chairs. Bleacher seating is limited. For more information call 970-878-5510 or visit

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