Border Collies Herd Sheep in Campo Competition
By Patty Lawrence
In Spring 2003 Campo residents Ron and Jennifer Ewers approached
us about holding sheep dog herding trials at Father Joe's Villages’
Flying “A” Ranch. We were still refurbishing the ranch
at the time and it seemed a huge task to undertake. But we agreed
to do it as good neighbors in the Campo community.
Ron and Jennifer, who are very involved in sheep dog trials all over the country, did much of the work to help us prepare for the first annual "On-the-Border Sheep Dog Trial” on Memorial Day weekend 2004. It attracted over 200 entries from all over the West as well as many on-lookers from Campo.
Father Joe, employees, and board members of Father Joe’s Villages also came to watch the three-day event. Most had never seen sheep herding trials and were fascinated with the collies and their abilities. In addition, all were impressed with the progress that has been made at the ranch.
Ron and Jennifer rented from a Basque shepherd 280 range sheep that were not used to being worked by dogs. Most of the collies fared well and some, well, let’s just say the sheep won.
The event started each day at 3:30 a.m. when Jennifer moved the 280 sheep from a holding pen to the top of the field where Ron had built chutes for the sheep to be ready for the runs. The sheep were then set out at 425 yards away from handlers and their dogs at the other end of the field. One at a time handler and dog had 12 minutes to complete their run.
Saturday ended with a great handlers’ dinner-dance in the Flying “A” Ranch barn, and ribbons and $1,000 prizes were awarded to the day’s top three dogs. The event was a huge success and the ranch was a perfect location. Handlers cannot wait to come back for the 2nd Annual On-the-Border Sheep Dog Trial.
An additional highlight of the weekend was the presence of Father Joe’s Villages’ Mo-Joe’s Mobile Café at the ranch. The staff received high praise for what some called “the best food in town.” They served breakfast to the event crew team at 7:30 a.m. and prepared lunches to order throughout the day. n
The San Diego Housing Federation recently recognized Father Joe’s Villages for outstanding achievement in special needs affordable housing at the Villa Harvey Mandel.