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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - December/January 2005
The Tenth Rural Hill Farm Sheep Dog Trials

The Tenth Rural Hill Farm Sheep Dog Trials
November, the first weekend –  November 5th, 6th  & 7th,  2004

Dean Holcomb, President of the NC Border Collie Handlers Association, has confirmed that 140 dogs are registered to compete... the largest field to date. The trials will be judged by noted English judge, Danny Wilde President of the International Sheep Dog Association.

Bring your kids and dogs out to the farm... It just doesn’t get any better than this

Rural Hill Farm Admission - $5, Students 5-12 - $3, 4 and under - Free

Hayride and tour of the one-room Davidson Schoolhouse included in price of ticket

Today farmers continue to find their sheepdogs valued partners in maintaining livestock herds... profitably and safely. As the American family has moved to an urban rather than agricultural setting, these farmers have been joined by tens of thousands of suburbanites who have discovered the frustration and joy of training their dogs to usher scatter-brained sheep through a series of tasks that have their origins in the every day activities of farm life. Using arcane commands and whistles, they too have discovered the special relationship between human and working dog.

The Sheep Dog Trials - Friday – 8:30 am, Pro-novice, Novice & Nursery Class

Bring your lawn chair.  These are enthusiastic youngsters, a bit unpredictable but with moments of greatness.  They are great fun to watch.

The Sheep Dog Trials - Saturday & Sunday - 8:00 am - until ... Open Class

These dogs mean business.  Many farms and livestock businesses could not function without these thorough professionals.  The Trials are sanctioned by the US Border Collie Handlers Association.  Many dogs at these Trials will go on to the National Competition.

Sport Dog Demos

In addition to sheep herding, several sports using the energy and physical skills of the herd dog have evolved. Sanctioning boards, rules and prize money have turned simple toss and fetch into other heavily supported competitions for herding dogs. Learn about sports and activities you can participate in including Agility, Obedience Competition, Therapy Dog Training, Flying Disc and Flyball. Hosted by the Greater Charlotte Shetland Sheepdog Club.

Border Collie Rescue will be on field to educate people about Border collies and the services of their organization.

Lakecross Veterinary Hospital will offer free once-over exams and registration of Huntersville cats and dogs. Proof of rabies vaccination will be required.

The Antique Tractor Show will be presented by the Power of the Past Tractor Club. During WWI the US Army purchased and transported a large percentage of available draft horses to Europe and US farmers were forced to find another source of horsepower to work their farms. By the 1930's tractor manufacturers were building high-quality useful machines that were very durable. Deere, International Harvester, Case, Allis-Chalmers, Oliver and Minneapolis Moline revolutionized the life-style of the American family farm. The members of the Tractor Clubs are working to preserve these classic beauties as an important part of our rural heritage. Power of the Past will offer the very popular Kiddie pedal tractor pull.

Windswept Hill Farm will offer free trolley rides on Sunday and there will be a tractor drawn hay ride to the 1890's one -room Davidson Schoolhouse on Friday, Saturday & Sunday. The Davidson family placed great emphasis on education.

Learn more about the Davidsons. Seminars about local history will be offered each day.

Lucky Punkin Chunkin' - Saturday & Sunday - 12:00 - 1:00 pm - Bring your Halloween pumpkin and launch it for luck.

Listen to some great local folk music on Saturday.

Rare Livestock Breeds Expo
See Llamas, miniature donkeys, miniature horses, pigs, sheep, goats and the herd of Highland cattle. Learn about the importance of maintaining diversity in livestock breeds.

The Rural Hill Sheep Dog Trials are presented by the volunteers of the Catawba Valley Scottish Society, The Greater Charlotte Shetland Sheep Dog Club and Egypt Bottom Farm; facilitated in cooperation with Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation and sanctioned by the US Border Collie Handlers Association.

The Trials are sponsored by individuals and businesses that value the opportunity to support the community: Lakecross Veterinary Hospital, Tathwell Printing, Walker Family Chiropractic, Mac Papers, Windswept Hill Percherons, BB&T, Coca Cola, The Printer Ink, Highland Catering and Family Cleaners.

History of Sheep Dog Trials

Sheep dog trials have been held in the United Kingdom since 1873 when the first formal trials were held in Bala, Wales. The trials are a competition in performance not conformation. The competition is based on daily tasks that the dog is asked to do on the farm. Points are allotted for each phase of the work and the team of dog and handler who can do the work with the most precision and in the time interval allowed will win the most points. The trials are an Open competition and any breed may enter. However the only breed represented in previous trials has been the Border Collie.

One of 13 dog breeds that developed in Scotland, the Border Collie first appeared in the Border country of Scotland in the 1700’s. They are generally black with white markings, weighing 30 - 50 pounds standing about 18 inches at the shoulder. One of their distinguishing features is that their fore legs are often shorter than their hind legs. It is said that, "without the Border collie there would be no sheep industry in Scotland".

The tasks incorporated into the sheep dog trials are the basic skills needed to manage livestock. For instance, one of the most important things that a farm dog can do is to gather the livestock from far away hills. In the Trials this is known as the outrun (going out in a wide circle in order to get behind the livestock), the lift (approaching the animals in a calm but authoritative manner so as to get them moving in the right direction) and the fetch (bringing the livestock to the shepherd).

The next phase of trial work involves driving the livestock away from the handler toward a specific obstacle in a straight line. Then the dog is asked to drive the stock to another obstacle and then finally to a pen and to help to put them into the pen. Sometimes the dog is also asked to help divide the livestock into two or more groups in a maneuver called a shed.

The shepherd will use voice commands such as stand, way to me (go right), come by  (go left), lay down  and that'll do to work the dogs but at a distance these commands are translated into whistles.

Catawba Valley Scottish Society
Contact: Keets F. Taylor
e-mail - 

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