Vashon Sheepdog Classic: Where Each Dog Has Its Day{11}

Vashon Sheepdog Classic – June 9 – 12, 2016
vashon sheepdog classic border collie

I love it when a familiar place surprises me, when I discover something that has been right under my nose, in plain sight as they say, doing handstands, waving its arms, flashing its veritable pearly whites at me, in hopes of catching my eye, attention, and curiosity. The Vashon Sheepdog Classic is one such event. Years ago, when I first started seeing plywood cutouts of crouching sheepdogs dotting the island as event signs, I didn’t know what to think. Well, actually, I must admit I had a preconceived idea, that watching dogs chase sheep was the animal channel equivalent of watching paint dry.

Event organizer Maggie McClure sharing the finer points of this amazing sport

Event organizer Maggi McClure explaining how she and the dog work as a team.

I am here to publicly admit that I was so wrong, hugely wrong, make that woefully wrong. After spending my first day at the Vashon Sheepdog Classic helping a friend at his vendor booth, I found myself turning my back on customers to see what the spectators were oohing and ahhing about. And then I became a bad recruit, trading in my interest for caesar salad and onion ring orders for the winsome athleticism of a sheepdog in motion with a job at hand.


Lamb butchery: Brandon Sheard of Farmstead Meatsmith shares his knowledge and knife skills.

For the uninitiated, the sheep dog trials are not about a chase, in fact there is no chase. The sheepdogs, guided through whistles and commands gingerly move, almost choreograph, the sheep to desired places and paddocks on one of the loveliest stretches of rolling pasture on the island. Spectators are treated to bucolic vistas worthy of an opera backdrop. If Downton Abbey had an official sport, this would be it — white linen suits and shady valets optional.


Recently I was treated to Island chefs Lauren Garaventa and Molly Biehn special lamb and spring vegetable soup in honor of the Vashon Sheepdog Classic. It was the best bowl of soup I’ve ever had, truly. Rumor has it they are opening up shop in Vashon town. I’ll keep you posted — slurp!

Tom’s Top Ten Reasons for Attending the Vashon Sheepdog Classic, June 9 -12, 2016

  1. Amazing dogs
  2. Dreamy Vashon Island setting at Misty Isle Farms
  3. Local food, spirits & craft booths
  4. Most attended herding event on the West Coast
  5. Educational exhibits: “The Story of Wool” &  Lamb Butchery
  6. Fiber Arts Village with demonstrations daily
  7. Bagpiping while sheep are moved up the field
  8. Great day trip from either Seattle or Tacoma
  9. Unique sporting event
  10. Proceeds go to local island charities

Misty Isle Farms Old Mill Road Pastures – Vashon Sheepdog Classic

Center map
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Hope you all can make it, and remember it’s early this year, June 9 -12, 2016.