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Gettysburg to host National Sheepdog Finals

(9/7) Gettysburg Pennsylvania is the site of this yearís United States Border Collie Handlerís Association (USBCHA) National Sheepdog Finals. At a time when many dogs are being pampered in pet spas and hotels, there are still men and women who believe in the worth of the working dog. One hundred and fifty handler and dog teams will be in Gettysburg in September to find out who is this yearís best working sheepdog.

Since 1979 the USBCHA has been holding Sheepdog Finals for any handler/dog team who qualifies. Points are earned throughout the year at Sheepdog trials around the country and Canada. The one hundred and fifty teams are whittled down over a period of days to the final twenty, who then must use all of their skills to move their last group of sheep at great distances through a series of panels and pens.

The Finals attract handlers of all ages from all walks of life. There are lawyers, ranchers, doctors, labourers and mothers who have qualified for the bragging rights of being the best of the best. This year, eighty five year old Walt Jagger, from Hop Bottom Pennsylvania will be walking out to the post yet again. A border collie trainer for many years, Mr. Jagger will be trialing with a little female named Kit. Although not able to move as quickly and easily as in the past, Mr Jagger still loves to work and train his dogs on his Sheepy Hollow Farm in Hop Bottom and enjoys getting to as many trials a year as he can.

A modest man, Mr Jagger doesnít talk much of the many successes heís had over the years but what shines through is his love and respect for the border collie breed. "The best dogs Iíve had and trained are the ones that want to please the most" says Mr. Jagger. "Our best trial runs may not necessarily give me the top score, but theyíve exhibited the dogís accomplishment to me and left me feeling very good."

This yearís Sheepdog Finals preliminary rounds will start on September 18th with the Open finals on September 23rd. Nursery Finals (age classification) will run from the 24th with the last dogs running on the 26th. For more information about the Sheepdog Finals in Gettysburg, go to www.sheepdogfinals2007.com

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