Like I thought, the rodeo was a great success for all involved.  The girls preformed fantastic and herded them with great strength and precision.  Chris met many people, but was totally distracted when the girls and I were out in the arena working the sheep.  During those times, Chris was totally focused on the sheep, much to my delight.

Being the only dogs allowed at the rodeo, I took them through the booths area looking for a program.  The people at the booth had not seen the dogs and me because we had entered in the back area of the rodeo.  They commented on how did they miss this group of dogs.  Inferring that dogs were not allowed once again at the rodeo.  Someone told them that these were the workers and then so did I.  I got my program and went back to Matt to sit down and look through it.

There was a nice bio about me and a bio about the three girls, along with pictures of Kate and Tam both in portrait form and in working form.  I was very pleased with the program and even my website was on it as a plug.

In between the mutton busting preliminaries, and the finals, they had a few events and one of them was flag carrying, and the singing of the national anthem.  Everyone stood during the singing and had either their hand on their heart or were saluting.  We even had the Marine Color Guard on horseback there in the arena.  It was very emotional time.

I walked alone one time to find food for both of us for lunch.  I got approached by many people, and even several young men, either thanking me for a great performance working the dogs, or telling me what a good job they did and shaking my hand looking totally impressed.  

Later, after the mutton busting finals were over, I took the whole flock of sheep down to the opposite end of the arena, and turned them back and drove them back to the other end and out of the arena and into the side pens.  This little maneuver was new.  I had earlier asked the rodeo coordinator if she would like me to do that, and she said absolutely yes.  The crowd seemed to like it as they clapped when they were put away.

This year the sheep were a little challenging.  Several of them would turn and face one of the girls, challenging them.  I would quickly encourage one of the other dogs to hurry over and double up on the ewe that was causing problems, giving much needed extra starring down.  That technique worked, but given the time, both of the girls can turn range ewes on their own, we just didn't have much time to waste as the event needed to move along.  

One time, I got a comment that one of the dogs was running 50 miles per hour through the crowd.  The crowd was inside the arena, children with their parents, waiting their turn to ride the sheep.  Kate used to be very sensitive working around other people, and now she has plenty of confidence so that type of work is not a bother to her.  People or dogs never bothered Tam; she would keep working no matter what!  Anyway, the girls are SUPPOSED to work their sheep NO MATTER WHAT.  Sheep are the priority.

After we put up the dogs, we found some shade to park in and left them in the pick up and walked through the booths for a while, looking at all of the stuff for sale.  Several times during that walk, I again got approached and told how neat watching the girls were, and that we all did a great job.  And many of the people that approached me wanted more.

I referred them to make comments to the rodeo organizer.  I figured there is limited time at the rodeo, as they are trying to fit all of the events in a limited time frame, so I don't think that we could do much more than we had done.  But maybe in the future we can finagle some kind of fun trial with the sheepdogs at the rodeo grounds.  Who knows?  All I can do is ask.  But I really think it would have to probably be the week after or before the rodeo, there just isn't enough time during it.

I had Matt take a few pictures of the mutton busting.  I wanted to include one here in this blog, so those who have never seen it, could.  I will down load the picture soon and post it here.

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