Sheepdogs Put to the Test

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The 22nd Annual Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials wrapped up Sunday in Meeker Colorado. Teams of handlers and sheepdogs from all over the country and the world competed for a $20,000 purse.

Four time South African Nationals winner Faansie Barron spoke with 11-News about what exactly goes into competing and winning these trials. He says the Meeker Trials are some of the toughest in the world because the sheep are nearly feral, not used to dogs or humans and very hard to control.

The final round consists of 170 points from each dog-handler team, and is based on a number of tasks that are consistent with actual work for ranchers and their dogs. One judge scores two outruns, two lifts, two fetches, a drive, a shed, and penning the sheep. Basson says judges are very tough and base scoring on technical aspects of the dog, handler and the sheep they're herding.

Jim Swift is the only local from the Grand Valley to participate in the this year's Meeker competition. He and his dog Molly didn't make it to Sunday's finals but they did qualify to compete in nationals next week in South Dakota. 11-News wishes them the best of luck!

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