Meeker sheepdog trials return |

Meeker sheepdog trials return

Heidi Rice
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Contributed photoBoisterous border collies rejoice " the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials begin Wednesday.

MEEKER, Colo. ” Grab the lawn chairs, binoculars and sunscreen and head for Meeker ” the 22nd annual Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials begin Wednesday, Sept. 3.

The five-day sheepherding competition, immensely popular with spectators, boasts a $20,000 purse and up to $5,700 in cash awards and in-kind prizes for the participants.

The sport of sheepdog trials replicates what is required of a dog helping a rancher in his daily work. Bred for their intelligence and ability to manage sheep, the dogs ” usually border collies ” test their skills in maneuvering sheep in a calm, controlled manner over the course.

The Meeker trials will feature 120 top handler/dog teams from throughout the United States, Canada and South Africa.

Attendees should bring their wallet, as well, because a new 40-by-80-foot tent will house more vendors this year, on Friday through Sunday. Along with food and crafts, demonstrations will also be featured in the tent.

“It’s like an indoor shopping mall,” said Ellen Nieslanik, director of the trials. “We’ve really expanded it.”

Also new will be parking in downtown Meeker with a free horse carriage or shuttle between the trials and historic Meeker, in northwest Colorado.

Entertainment will be provided during the lunch hour, including stockdog handling demonstrations and Scottish dancers.

From 8,000 to 14,000 people are expected to attend, Nieslanik said.

The sheepdog trials are held west of downtown Meeker on Highway 13, about 40 miles north of Rifle.

Tickets can be purchased at the gate ” a 5-day pass is $30 for adults and $15 for kids, ages 8-16; a single-day pass is $10 for adults and $5 for kids, 8-16. Children under 8 are admitted free.

For more information, call (970) 878-0080 or visit

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