Soldier Hollow Sheepdog Classic Returns To Midway

sheepdog classic
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Wish your dog could do that? If you have canine envy, then by all means, sit out this year’s Soldier Hollow Sheepdog Classic Championships.

But if you want to see all the action of brainiac pooches performing like snake charmers for thousands of appreciative fans then get up to Midway, Utah, this Labor Day Weekend.

The annual Sheepdog Classic, lures dog handlers from Canada to Ireland and throughout the U.S., to the rolling terrain of Utah where they put their herding dogs like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds to the test.

sheepdog classic

photo by Tom Kelly

What The Heck is a Sheepdog

Classic?

 

These highly skilled dogs will be working up to 400 yards away from their handlers on the hillsides of the former 2002 Olympic Nordic events venue. Only whistles and hand commands to tell them how to sort wild range Rocky Mountain ewes and bring them down along a preset course and through free-standing gates and into a small pen all in under 13 minutes.

Basically, a handler uses whistles and voice commands to coach his dog up the hill to herd the sheep through a 600-yard course, which includes a series of free-standing gates.

sheepdog classic

photo by Tom Kelly

Each sheep must clear every gate and then the dog separates out a set number of tagged sheep — typically five sheep donning red bandanas — and corral them into the ending pen. No nipping is allowed so no one need worry about animal cruelty unless you consider the peskiness of the wild sheep to give a dog the run around.

The top herding teams win gold, silver or bronze medals.

The Classic is the world’s largest sheepdog event, drawing more than 25,000 attendees including families that come for the food and vendor booths as well.

sheepdog classic

photo by Brett Neilson

There’s More To Do At The

Sheepdog Classic

 

But it’s not all sitting around. In addition to the spectator event, there’s a festival going on outside the fence. Vita Bone Dog Activities like Camp Chef cooking demos, and wild and exotic animal shows, hula hooping, bean bag toss games, the lost sheep game, face painting, balloon artists, coloring contest (with free ice cream for every entrant) and more will keep little ones entertained too.

The event runs through Monday. See the schedule and details here.

 

 

 

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