World's largest cattledog trial
— Trials held this week in Steamboat Springs, CO
The world’s largest cattledog trial is being held this year in beautiful Steamboat Springs, CO. The trial involves five classes consisting of more than 120 dogs from June 18-22.
But this is not just any trial—this is the National Cattledog Association (NCA) National Finals. And these are not just any dogs—these are the best cattledogs in the country. To be able to compete in this trial, these dogs and their handlers must qualify by placing in NCA-sanctioned trials held throughout the year across the US and Canada.
NCA President Juan Reyes, of Wheatland, WY, believes that the NCA, which is only in its third year, is as popular as it is because it meets a real need:
“Many of our members are ranchers and appreciate the importance and value of a good dog on the ranch. The NCA is all about the dogs. It is the mission of the NCA to educate ranchers about the value of a dog in cattle handling and part of that mission includes helping to develop better dogs. NCA trials provide an opportunity to test the dogs’ abilities in challenging settings that reflect real life situations encountered on the ranch.”
Watching a good cattledog run a challenging course is a real treat. The dogs must have very good “stock sense” and must work with the handler as a well-coordinated team.
The NCA National Finals includes five separate classes, including two open (advanced) classes, two intermediate classes and a nursery class (for young dogs). Each class includes two preliminary runs and a final run for the top teams in each class— the best of the best. Handlers are on foot for the nursery class and for one of the open and intermediate classes. For the second open and intermediate classes, in keeping with the traditions of the West, the handlers are on horseback. The dog, the horse and the handler must work together to move the cattle. The horseback events are very popular with spectators.
The NCA National Finals are being held for the second year in a row on the spectacular Flying Diamond Ranch belonging to John and Tammy Adams. The ranch is just outside Steamboat Springs, with beautiful green fields and stunning mountain vistas, and provides an ideal venue for a cattledog trial.
There will be food and other vendors available and other activities, including clinics for beginning handlers and opportunities to meet and talk with some of the very best dog handlers in North America and to meet their dogs. More information can be found online at nationalcattledog.com or by calling the NCA office at 970/224- 2437. — WLJ