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Dogs and handlersfrom seven states and Canada will be in Hudson over the Labor Day weekend for 29th annual Wisconsin Working Stock Dog Association trials. Competition will go from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday with finals occurring Monday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Submitted photo.

Working stock dogs coming Hudson's Badlands

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Hudson Star Observer
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River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The Wisconsin Working Stock Dog Association will bring its 29th annual Labor Day stock dog trial to Badlands Sno-Park near Hudson from Friday, Aug 29 through Monday, Sept.1, 2014.

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The sheep herding competition will feature some of the country’s best stock dogs and dog handlers. The judge will be Calvin Jones from Wales. The event is open to the public. Badlands is located at 772 Kinney Road, off Hwy. 12, east of Hudson.

Sessions will be held daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday. The final competitions will occur from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday, Sept. 1.

The art of controlling and moving sheep using a dog is an old-world skill that technology has not been improved upon. Modern advances make it tempting to think that new is always better but when it comes to moving livestock, nothing more efficient or effective than a well-trained dog, according to Cladia Mahon, secretary for the organization.

Over 80 dogs and handlers from seven states and Canada will compete at the trials. Spectators will see dogs working off verbal and whistle commands at distances of up to 550 yards from their handlers to safely move sheep through a course designed to simulate ranch work.

While the sport of stock dog handling is open to all herding breeds, the Border Collie dominates. Having been bred for centuries to herd livestock, it still takes years of refining and molding that instinct to develop dogs to the level that will be on display. The goal of the sport is to refine and preserve the working instinct of the breed, said Mahon in a press release.

Admission to the event is $7, children 10 and under free. There will be shelter and food for sale.

Like real ranch work, the trial will go on rain or shine. Spectators are invited to bring a chair and stay all day.

Visit www.wwsda.org for updated times and event information.

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