Look at the afternoon crowds. This is just on the rail around the arena, not in the 2 grandstands. Bagpipers piping, canons booming, knights in armor dueling, etc.
Lots of babies and balloons. People LOVED the herding. This year we had more people tell us how impressed they were with the dogs AND the handlers. Competition was fierce and the handlers were wonderful.
This was our corner. Yoko was crated the whole time. She isn't completely trusting with strangers. The other 4 are quite good with people. It was like they were in a "petting zoo." People stuck their hands in the X-pen, groped, poked and babies crawled around them. Xena doesn't see very well at 13 yrs. old. She got tired of being petted. On Sunday morning she didn't want to go with us to the festival. She put herself in a crate in the trailer. Awww...Xena. We let her stay in the truck until it was too warm for her in there.
On Sunday we had 20 people at a time around the dogs. During sheepdog intermissions we would let the dogs perform a bit for the folks. We brought the rings out and everyone loved watching the dogs. Kilt was her most amazing FUNNY self. Our class clown didn't let us down. The first bit of laughter she heard she started tossing the rings in the air, catching them and then putting them on the pole. Trouble and Jet entertained, also. Kilt NEVER tires of an audience.
I didn't get to see too much of the festival because I was running dogs all weekend. But, I managed to take in a few auditoriums of booths and some music.
We had friends over for dinner after the Saturday events. Luckily, we had a beautiful shady area to park our trailer. In the AM they had a driving competition and an obstacle competition. In the PM they had another driving competition and an obstacle competition. If you entered both which most exhibitors did, that means your dog was running in 4 classes each day. They gave $$$ to 5th place in each class. After two days of competition they figured out who was the OVERALL Champion and reserve Champion with silver belt buckles being made up for them.
The courses were changed up every class and the sheep were unforgiving if you had a pushy dog. They also knew where the exhaust was and put pressure on the dogs. I am sticking with my original statement, "If these games don't make you a better handler, nothing will." The dogs HAD to respond when you asked them to. If your timing was a hair late or a tad early, you just got yourself in a mess. The courses were TOUGH. The Y chute AGAIN this year was everyone's nemesis. I think the sheep strategized back in set out about how to fool the handlers and the dogs with the Y chute.
I believe Carrie's Cait was the combined winner on Sat. of the obstacle course. She is always one of our biggest competitors. Carrie handles Cait very quietly and they are just one of those AWESOME "teams."
JET was the winner of the combined Driving competions on Sat. Jet and Yoko tied for 3rd place in the combined obstacle courses. Sat. was a good day for us. We brought home $$$. That made Wayne VERY happy.
Gloria Atwater's Nick jumps up on resting Rhonda. Both Gloria's Nick and Rhonda's Jane worked very nicely. This really was an "open dog" competition. Some of us brought our young dogs, me included (Yoko). And, many with good USBCHA Open dogs rolled their eyes and said, "My Gosh....my dog wouldn't listen to a thing I said!" That's because of the environment, the sheep, and the PRESSURES of such tight courses.
Yoko did better on Saturday. By Sunday, she was fried, dried and pretty much laid aside. :0)
Oh what about Kilt? The larger the crowd, the hotter Kilt was to handle. We all know she doesn't stop on a dime...maybe, some 30 steps later. Plus, too much eye. The sheep hated her and rightly so. They couldn't wait to jump in the trailer just to get away from her. Awwwww Kilt.