Public invited to first cowdog trial at Christiansen ranch near Durham

Cowdogs will be coming from surrounding states to compete in the first Cottonwood Crossing Cowdog Trial on Saturday and Sunday, April 8 and 9, at the Gordon and Pat Christiansen ranch two miles west of Durham.

The Christiansens said they hope the trial will become an annual event.

Working cattle dogs are an asset to stockmen who handle livestock. Border collies are the predominant breed for this role, but kelpies, Australian shepherds, hanging tree, cattle master, heelers and catahoulas are also used.

The dogs’ natural herding instincts are combined with human commands to control their movements in handling the cattle.

The trial will have competing dogs gather three head of cattle in a short outrun, pen them and then move them through created obstacles.

Fresh cattle-animals that have not been “broken” by dogs before-will be used.

This is a timed event with points given for taking all three head through the obstacle course. The dog completing the course in the shortest time will be declared the winner.

Four classes will be offered: open, novice, ranch, beginner (refering to the handler) and futurity exhibition. The same classes will compete both days.

The public is invited to watch. Concessions will be available on the grounds and visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.

The trial will begin at 9 a.m. both days with handlers meeting at 8 a.m. each day.

An on-site religious service is planned for 8:30 a.m., Sunday.

For more information or to enter, contact Pat Christiansen at 620-732-3320.

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