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Meet the Judges

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Angie lives on her family’s ranch in central Oklahoma with her husband Scott and daughter Kyann. They maintain a flock of 300 White Dorper ewes, a small herd of Kiko goats and Angus cross cows. Angie has been trialing and training Border Collies for 31 years. To date she is the youngest person to win the USBCHA Open Finals and the first handler to win Open and Reserve Championships at the same Finals. She is the second of only 4 women to have won the Open Finals. Additionally Angie is a twice Reserve National Champion , twice National Nursery Champion , Meeker Classic Champion and Solider Hollow Champion. Angie has the honor of being the first woman from North America to judge the finals and has judged it twice, The Bluegrass Classic twice and The Meeker Classic in addition to numerous other trials across the country over the years. Nominated by Laura Vishoot

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Michael Gallagher

Michael is an accomplished handler who, at 21 years of age, was the 2005 International Young Handler. He was the 2010 International Supreme Champion, 2013 and 2014 Canadian National Champion, 2013 and 2014. Kingston Double Lift Final Champion, 2014 USBCHA Final 4th place finisher, 2008, 2010 and 2011 North of Ireland Double Lift Champion, 9-time Irish National Team Member, 2019 Irish National Champion and third at the 2011 World Sheepdog Finals. Michael has judged major international trials in the UK, Europe, and North America, including the Belgium National Finals, Kingston, the Bluegrass Classic, USBCHA Finals and the All Ireland Inter Provincial Double Lift Gather Final. 2-times Irish National & International driving Champion. He is a highly respected judge and handler. Nominated by Mary Minor

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Bruce Fogt

Bruce acquired his first Border Collie pup in 1976 from his neighbor, the nationally recognized stock dog trainer, Lewis Pence. Shortly after beginning to train his first dog, Bruce began training stock dogs for others; friends with sheep who needed a dog. This soon became an enjoyable part time business. Then, in 1981, he turned his hobby into a full time occupation. Since that time he has trained hundreds of dogs for farm use and trial competition. In 1996 he published a book titled “Lessons From A Stock Dog”, training guide for people interested in training their own stock dog.Bruce has trialed extensively throughout the U.S. and has competed and judged in trials as far away as South Africa. He is a two-time winner of the United States Border Collie Handlers Association National Finals, and has won the prestigious “Purina Award for The Outstanding Field Trial Herding Dog.” He has judged many trials over the years, including the National Finals on four occasions. Bruce, his wife Linda, and daughter Haley, live on a sheep farm near Sidney, Ohio, where they raise and train Border Collies. Nominated by Mike Neary

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Don Helsley

Don is one of North America’s most respect handlers and trainers, with over 30 years of competing, and actively judging over the last 20 years. He has judged numerous prestigious trials across the country, including the Canadian Finals, the USBHCA National Finals, Soldier Hollow, the Meeker Classic and the Bluegrass Classic (twice). He has also successfully competed in numerous trials and double lift Finals. Prior to raising and training Border Collies, Don trained and showed cutting horses. After 35 years with Idaho Power, Don now devotes all of his time to training, trialing, and teaching, including giving valuable judging clinics. Don is a quiet man, with a reputation for fairness and honesty. He has succeeded in the trialing world – not only as a competitor but also as a well-respected judge.Nominated by Mary Minor

About the Judging

Open - Preliminary Round - 100 total points

In the Preliminary Round there will be 5 sheep set for the handler and dog to navigate through the course. For judging purposes, there are 6 different elements in this round. There is a maximum time allotted, however, there is no advantage to finishing quickly. If the times expires while a handler is still on course, they receive all points up to that point. No points from the element they are on, or subsequent elements, will be awarded.

Nursery Field - 90 total points

The Nursery program showcases the ability of younger dogs in sheepdog work. The dog's third birthday must fall after July 1st of the current calendar year.

These dogs will still have 5 sheep set, however, you will  notice the sheep are not set as far away as they are for open. The drive is also shorter and there is no shed element for nursery dogs.

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The Outrun/Gather - 20 points

All handlers and dogs will start from the same location, known as the post. The sheep will be set in a common location by the set-out crew. The handler may send their dog to the left or right side of the field, but once the dog is sent in one direction, it should not cross the field to the other side of the sheep. The dog should run in a pear like shape, wide enough it doesn't disturb the sheep as it approaches, but not excessively wide either.

The Lift - 10 Points

The lift is the point of where the dog introduces itself to the sheep and makes that first move down the field. The dog should come into the sheep's bubble with confidence, but not diving in and sending the sheep fleeing. The dog should be in a location, such that the sheep begin their path straight to the handler.

The Fetch - 20 points

The straight line from the set-out point, through the fetch gates and to the handler is known as the fetch. Ideally the sheep should be marching along in a rhythmed jog, with the dog holding them to a straight line. At this point the judge just wants to see sheep noses coming straight at them. 

The Drive - 30 points

Once the sheep have turned the handler's post, the drive portion of the course begins. The drive is divided into 3 segments. The drive way, is where the dog is taking the sheep directly away from the handler and through the drive-away gate. Once they cross the plane of this gate, the handler will have the dog turn the sheep for the cross-drive segment. During the cross-drive the judge is looking to just see the sides of the sheep. After the plane of the cross-drive panels is broken, the final leg of the drive to the shedding ring or pen begins. During the drive the sheep should still be marching along. Too much stopping and going or running may upset the sheep, making them less cooperative and also result in points being deducted.

The Shed* - 10 points

As the sheep enter the shedding ring, the handler will leave the post to go work with their dog to complete the shed. During the shed, the handler and dog are to separate 2 sheep from the remaining three. The dog is to take control of the 2 sheep, not letting them join back with the group, until the judge calls the shed good. This process must happen inside the shedding ring, the sheep may leave the ring once the dog has come through and taken control, but not before.

*You will not see this element being preformed in the Nursery Classes.

The Pen - 10 points

Once the sheep are regathered from the shed, the dog is to take the sheep to the pen. The handler will open the pen and must maintain contact with the rope that is attached to the gate. Both the dog and handler have a responsibility to keep the sheep from breaking around their side of the pen and to convince the sheep to enter. Watch out, too much pressure applied by the handler and dog will cause the sheep to feel trapped and make a break for it. The pen is completed once the gate is shut.

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Open - Semi-Final Round - 110 total points

This round will still be comprised of 5 sheep, however, you will notice that two of the sheep will have red collars on them.


During the shed element of the course the handler must select 2 un-collared sheep to shed off and take control of. They will then move on and pen all 5 sheep. Once the pen is completed the will move onto a 7th element.

The Single - 10 points

After successfully penning the sheep, the dog will return the sheep to the shedding ring. At this point the handler and dog work as a team to shed off and take control of one of the collared sheep.

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