Without a doubt, cattle dogs are an instrumental part of any working livestock ranch. They can move swiftly to sort, regroup or pair up calves, and they certainly allow for just a few men to work a large group of cattle with ease. Starting today, we will celebrate these great animals at the 2011 National Cattledog Finals held in Redding, IA, through the weekend. This event will showcase the top fifty border collie dogs from the U.S. and Canada.
To be eligible for the National Finals, handlers accumulate points through sanctioned trials of the U.S. Border Collie Handler's Association (USBCHA). Although this will be a brand new experience for me, I'm deeply humbled to have the opportunity to co-host the annual event, alongside my esteemed partner, Dan Gill, auctioneer, cattleman and border collie handler. He has judged the finals twice and served as USBCHA director.
So, what's the point of an event like this? The program serves to educate and entertain a national audience about the valuable skills and abilities of border collies to herd livestock. The trials also exemplify how ranchers handle cattle in a humane, realistic and attractive manner. Finally, the program works to enhance the image of the Border Collie, the American cattleman and the beef industry for all viewers.
If you can't be in attendance; don't worry! The event will air this September on RFD-TV, so stay tuned for future updates and broadcast times!
In honor of the National Cattledog Finals this weekend, I want to hear your best dog stories. Who is your companion on the ranch? What skills does your dog have? How is your dog a valued employee, friend and family member in your operation? Share your stories and be entered to win one of five copies of a “Worth Four Good Men,” a limited-edition print by South Dakota artist Mick B. Harrison. Retailing for $100 each, the image depicts a working dog helping move cattle on the bluffs of South Dakota’s Missouri River. Learn more about Harrison here. Your comments will automatically qualify you to win, and the five lucky winners will be announced on Tuesday! Thanks for your stories!
Finally, congratulations to yesterday's winners, who answered the question, "What advice do you have for the under-35 crowd?" Read the responses and advice here. The lucky winners are Todd Eggerling, Robert Worstell and Alissa Johnson. Thanks to all who participated and good luck in today's contest!