Herding dogs will be rounding up sheep, cattle and geese

Marilyn Hahn of Eagle Point is putting on the largest dog trial of her life at the Expo September 21-23. Hahn, leader of the Snowy Butte Australian Shepherd Club, is planning on a huge event that will bring dogs from around the northwest to Medford on that weekend.

Hahn says what is different about this event is that they will bring in dogs that will be more versatile than those attending regular events. Some of the events will require handlers to be astride a horse while others the handler is afoot the winners will claim hefty prizes for their efforts, the first time the club has been in a position to do that. The trials will take place in the Isola Arena, also a first, beginning on Friday morning and continuing until the event is over at the end of the day. Three more events will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, the group will run two trials and follow the next day with a single trial. The difference between the two days is that on Saturday, the dogs will work without the horse, and they will herd cattle, sheep and geese. The Goose event promises to be hilarious as sometimes the goose turns on the dog and the unsuspecting dog ends up being herded by the goose.

Events are broken up into the cowdog trial and the regular stock dog trials winners as mentioned will receive cash prizes and earn points in the national organization. The stock dog trial on Saturday and Sunday are judged by ASCA nationally accredited judges. The dogs will be working cattle, sheep and geese using the Australian Shepherd National Club’s prescribed courses. These trials are sanctioned and follow prescribed rules of the mother club.

Snowy Butte is a smaller group of about 30 members who formed their club about six years ago. They hold monthly training sessions from the month of November through April and weekly training sessions on cattle on Saturday mornings during the winter months. According to Hahn, the club holds herding lessons during those winter months and private lessons are available through the club to beginning members. The club is somewhat informal, with the emphasis being place on learning.

Hahn related some interesting information that may not be common knowledge. College scholarships are available through the parent club to individuals that own a dog and participate in the events like this one at the expo.

Several sponsors have provided funding for the weekend event. Big R stores, the Fair Board and Dr. Tom Terbeck were the major contributors. and Randy Wolf of Wolf Performance also made a sizeable contribution to make certain the event was well funded.


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