Joyce Jordan Burns, wife of Tony Burns, Red Ledges co-founder, grew up raising cattle and sheep on the Jordan L Ranch in Heber Valley. In the winter, Joyce’s father Bill Jordan secured grazing rights for the flock in the west desert near Tooele—which meant relocating the sheep each fall and spring.
Over the Labor Day weekend, September 2-5, 2022, Red Ledges is set to honor this legacy by sponsoring the annual Soldier Hollow Sheepdog Classic. The Soldier Hollow Classic is an invitational event that complies with the United States Border Collie Handlers Association (USBCHA) course and judging standards.
The participating dog and trainer teams are evaluated based on the following stages of the course:
- Outrun — 20 points: The dog starts near the handler and runs to where the sheep are set. During this event stage, the team is penalized if the dog receives any commands from the trainer, as this section of the event tests the dog’s ability to find the sheep.
- Lift — 10 points: After finding the sheep, the team is scored on the dog’s ability to smoothly control four to five sheep and move the flock toward the first gate. The team will lose points if the dog is too aggressive and causes the sheep to scatter.
- Fetch — 20 points: The fetch is the part of the course where the dog escorts the sheep through the first gate and behind the trainer’s post. This is a tough phase because points are deducted if the:
- Sheep and dog miss a panel.
- Trainer gives too many commands.
- Sheep do not move in a straight line.
- Drive — 30 points: The next phase of the course is known as the drive. At the Soldier Hollow Sheepdog Classic, the dog maneuvers the sheep through a triangular pattern which includes two more gates. If the team misses the gate, they may not retry the gate.
- SHED — 10 points: When the first sheep enters the SHED ring—the handler also enters, to help the dog separate two sheep from the group of four to five sheep. Once the judge “calls” this section complete, the trainer moves over to the pen.
- Pen — 10 points: As the trainer moves to the pen and takes hold of the gate rope, the dog must regather the sheep. The trainer cannot let go of the rope until the sheep are closed inside. Although the trainer may help the dog, too much assistance will lead to further deductions.
The teams competing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will follow the course stages as outlined above—giving teams the ability to earn 100 points per run. However, on Monday, the top 17 teams will compete on a more challenging course known as the double lift and international SHED.
This course type increases the difficulty because the dog has two outrun and lift sections. In other words, the dog will run to one small flock and move them toward the first gate. However, before going through the gate, the dog will then run to a second small flock—combining both groups of sheep.
Once combined, the dog will lead the flock of 16-20 sheep through the course. The larger flock size changes the SHED section, as the dog and trainer must separate five marked sheep from the flock. Once completed, the team must close the five sheep into the pen.
Mark you calendars for next year’s Soldier Hollow Sheepdog Classic!