by Carol Delsman, Executive Field Representative
Ann Lampley with "Dusty" on PT Sheep
June 5th and 6th, 2004, were the first dates since 1995 that an AKC herding
event was held in Alaska, thanks to the GSD Club of Alaska and all of
their great efforts, in conjunction with the Alaska Herding Group Club
and all of it's hard-working members. The Alaska Herding Group Club is
a newly A-sanctioned Herding Group Breed club working towards full Conformation
and Obedience status at the present time, and hoping to pick up the herding
sanctioning next. Both clubs worked closely together to make this 2-day
event happen, and it was a great success! The sheep were willing and the
dogs and handlers were talented. Almost every entrant qualified on BOTH
of their runs for their HT and PT titles!
Julia Durych and "Mordica's Wild Card showing how well
they have trained
Judge Steve Waltenburg giving Julia some calming words of
The herding facility set on 120 acres, Sunset Acres Farm in Wasilla,
owned by Rick Williams and Suzanne Nevada, has only been clear of a record
deep snowfall since the end of April, which basically gave the handlers
and their dogs just 6 weeks of practice time in the large arena. Most
of the practice sessions in the winter, with temperatures often below
zero, were held in a small pen near their house and on walk-abouts down
their long driveway and back. For those of you who practice in large arenas
most of the year, you can only imagine how hard everyone worked in that
short span of time to make their dreams of having a successful herding
test come true.
Heidi Vania and "Dot Com" on Ducks
Ember Glo Tervurens pile up the titles.
It was a great weather weekend, fairly sunny and in the mid-70's both
days with light winds. The sheep used were very nice Shetland-cross sheep
that have seen a variety of upright breeds as well as Border Collies,
so were responsive to good handling and correct positioning of the dog.
It was nice to see that they were not knee-huggers, nor were they so light
that beginning dogs couldn't handle them. Breeds in attendance were Belgian
Tervurens, Belgian Sheepdogs, German Shepherd Dogs, Border Collies, Shelties,
Australian Shepherds, a Caanan, a Rottweiler and an Australian Cattle
Dog. One of the GSD's was a lovely 12-year-old gal who received her HT
The judges also were just great. Many thanks to Judges Steve Waltenburg
and Linda Rorem, as well as to Carol Delsman, AKC's Herding Representative
on site, for all of their talents that they shared with both clubs. Everyone
was eager to learn more about the AKC herding venue, and the judges and
rep all spent time with the attendees afterwards giving suggestions and
helpful hints which were very appreciated. Being in Alaska has it's disadvantages
- traveling to any other AKC herding events requires air transportation
for both the handlers and the dogs, as it is nearly impossible to drive
to the nearest state some 1400+ miles away to get more trialing or training
experiences unless you have a week or two off work. This makes it even
more important to the participants that AKC herding trials are now, once
again, being offered in Alaska.
The Alaska Herding Group Club was formed to promote the herding breeds
specifically, in the conformation and obedience rings, but more importantly,
to also promote and preserve the herding instinct and abilities of which
the breeds were developed for. Along with the GSD Club of Alaska, it appears
that they all have once again gotten off to a great start with the future
of more AKC herding events shining on the horizon.
Suzanne Nevada and Betty show quiet, confident work on sheep.
New HT titles!
Workers L to R Stock handlers, Secretary Sue Striebich, and
Chair Sharon White