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Paging Charlie--Soldier Hollow report?


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Hi Andrea.


After living up at the set out for 5 days or so - most of the time grazing sheep and loading pens and chutes - I can barely stand to think about it. Still, what do you want to know?


The results are on the SH website (www.soldierhollowclassic.com).

It was the biggest SH ever. Something like 24,000 spectators in total, with about half that there for the finals. On the last day, when Barbara Ray and Britt shut the pen gate with just a few seconds to go (which ended up being the winning run), the crowd roared so loudly that even way up at set-out we were all stunned. The sheep were uniform, healthy, and tough. But they had trained up pretty well by the last day so many handlers had a very good go.


There was a pretty large number of "east coasters" there this year. Being at the top of the mountain, I couldn't always see very well how the runs were going. But it seemed to me that the easties proved they can certainly handle these wild, wily, and sometimes aggressive western range sheep.


Each year, when we take delivery of the sheep the day before the trial, we always load them in the pen, move them through chutes and down the mountain in groups of 10 or so and into the exhaust. Just to settle them in. They went down the mountain ok. But it took us hours(!) to get them loaded into the pen and into the chutes. Any pressure at all and they'd jump over the 4 foot or so panels. They would jump over people, too. They had a habit of kicking you in the head as they jumped over your shoulder. I thought we were DEAD and was sorely tempted to just sneak away and go home before the next day's humiliation when we couldn't get any sheep set. But they settled down eventually, and our wonderful sheep spotters (Anna Guthrie, Connie Fontaine and their great dogs) really stepped up to the plate. Anyway, the sheep were really TOUGH, and the many handlers who had a decent go really are to be commended, even if they didn't end up in the money.


I got to run a dog this year. I had planned to run my Rocky dog, who is quite happy to work range sheep and usually gets the job done. But he broke his leg in June. So I ran my old Wink. She has put in a good run or two on range ewes in the past, but she is not really enough dog and has too much eye for these guys. Once they figured her out, they ate her lunch. Oh well.



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CGT, you are to be commended for your hard work. I attended the Soldier Hollow Trials on Sunday and you folks definitely had your work cut out for you. They were pretty frisky and aggressive sheep (they took off after several of the dogs down by the shedding ring and even one which was in the cooling tub). It was a wonderful event and as a spectator had a terrific time.


I posted a few photos in the Photo Gallery section, if you are interested -- they are no way as good as Denise Wall's, but they do show the course.

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Hey Charlie,

So you had fun huh? :rolleyes:

Scores certainly indicated that the sheep started out tough and only let up occasionally as the days went by.

So, given your perspective, to whom would you have given the top end award as per Bluegrass tradition?

Deb, the short video of Scott penning was way cool. Really illustrated how tough undogged range ewes can be to pen.


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Top end award? Does that mean best lift?


All the lifts kinda run together in my mind, so I won't try to say. There was one moment that really stuck in my mind, though. When Red Oliver's old Ned came up for the second lift on Monday he came right by me. He was so tired he was just barely walking around the sheep. By the fourth day the sheep were more tame: they were only prone to try one getaway and/or head-butting standoff right after the lift. Still, I figured the dog was toast and would be left in the dust, if not simply annihilated. But instead he got those sheep going and seemed to dig down deep, got perky again, and moved them down the field like a champ. Remarkable.



(But the heat and the international shed took its toll. After the sheep regrouped a couple of times Red took the honorable way out and called it quits.)



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