Sunday Creek Sheepdog Trial to honor LaBree
The Sunday Creek Sheepdog Trial near Miles City, Mont., will go on – this year with a large void, but in memory of Rene LaBree, a rancher and longtime dog trainer and trial competitor. LaBree’s vision was to host a local sheepdog trial as there was not another in the state, and she wanted to invite her friends to Eastern Montana and share the sport with the community. Starting in 2016 she did that successfully, welcoming the public to her place and sharing her passion for working dogs with many. After a long-fought battle with cancer, LaBree passed away in March of 2019. This year her friend and mentee, Dana Penrod, is organizing the trial scheduled for June 29-July 1, both to carry on the tradition and to celebrate LaBree.
“We had planned to host this trial again, but this year we will be doing it as a celebration of the life of Rene and the many people she impacted,” Penrod says. The year Penrod met LaBree and started working dogs with her was the first year LaBree hosted her sheepdog trial. “Rene entered me up in the novice class without telling me, even though I wasn’t certain I was ready,” says Penrod. “Because of her passion for the working dog and helping beginners I am now addicted to this wonderful sport.”
The Sunday Creek Sheepdog Trial is sanctioned by the U.S. Border Collie Handlers’ Association. Two competitions each will be held for the skill levels of open, nursery, open ranch and novice dogs. The dogs’ skills in gathering, driving, sorting and penning a group of sheep are evaluated on a points basis in each class.
This year more than 80 dogs are expected to compete with handlers from Texas, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Canada registered. The event is open to spectators at no charge. “Rene always wanted people from the community to come watch these wonderful dogs work and be able to appreciate just how intelligent they are,” Penrod says.
Spectators are welcome to come and view the days’ events, which will start at 7 a.m. each day and last until about 5 p.m. The location is approximately 6 miles from Miles City. Take Highway 59 north past the airport to Highway 489 (Kinsey Highway). Go 4 miles, and turn left on N. Sunday Creek Drive. Go 0.7 miles to the start of the course on Tuesday Drive. Parking is available, and spectators are welcome to set up lawn chairs in a designated area near the course. Concessions will be available throughout the event. Please leave all pets at home and be courteous to the human and canine competitors.
For more information, contact Dana Penrod at 406.234.2648 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about sheep dog trials, visit the U.S. Border Collie Handler’s Association site at http://www.usbcha.com.
– Sunday Creek Sheepdog Trial