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Sheepdog trials attract competitors nationwide

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Leeman said the dogs will be responsible for retrieving a group of sheep that will be released three at a time. The dogs must direct the sheep through an obstacle course and finally into a free-standing pen. They must also separate one sheep from the other two, which she noted can be exciting.


Well be using my sheep and theyll run an obstacle course. Its not as exciting as the Super Bowl, but the sheep dont always go with the plan and it can be exciting, she said.


Wilson County is no stranger to Leemans sheep dog demonstrations as she shows off the Border Collies skills every year at the Wilson County Fair. Leeman said she always has a good crowd at the fair of curious onlookers as she works with her dog Sue to show what sheep and cattle dogs do not only in competitions but also every day on her farm.


In 2002, Leeman said the National Finals were held at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in November of that year and drew a good crowd throughout the event.


That was the one and only time the National Finals have been held in Tennessee, she said.


Leeman will not be competing at the event next weekend, but was responsible for finding and paying the sanctioned judge to come out and determine the best dogs and handlers. But she travels quite often to compete with her dog Sue, most recently at an event on Labor Day Weekend.


I didnt place, but it was a lot of fun. Ive done this for years and I love it, she said. Competition is just play, but what the dogs do every day on the farm is amazing.


Border Collies are known for their high IQ and are bred to herd sheep and cattle, sometimes hundreds at a time. Leeman said while the dogs get to show off those skills to the public during trials and the National Finals, the unseen tasks they do on farms across the world are the most important.


Theres no substitute for what they do on real farm work, its truly amazing, she said.


Leeman said next weekends trials are open to the public and there is no cost to attend and watch the handlers, and the dogs, work their magic. However, if you are planning to attend, Leeman said to bring chairs to sit on as the event is outside in her 20-acre field.


Spring Creek Farms is located at 575 Vance Lane in Lebanon. For more information, you may call Leeman at 969-0561.


Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at phall@wilsonpost.com.

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