Thousands of visitors from all over the world are expected to travel to the Vale of Glamorgan in September for the 2012 International Sheep Dog Trials.
The three day event will cost around £100,000 to stage and will feature the top 15 dogs from each of the four home nations, - England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The 60 dogs will be selected at the respective National Championships through the summer, beginning with the Welsh Trials on 19 July in Montgomery.
The International Sheepdog Trials is the highlight of the annual trialling calendar in the UK and Ireland, and the 3-day spectacle culminates with the crowning of a new Supreme Champion. Additionally four young sheepdog handlers will each represent one of the home nations to compete in the Young Handler Competition and the International Brace Championship will feature teams of one person handling two dogs.
Chairman Meirion Owen said: "The International Sheep Dog Trials was last held in Cardiff in 1971 so this is a wonderful opportunity for enthusiasts and the general public to see some of the world’s finest dogs and their handlers in action.
"It’s great that the Trials are being held on a farm that is so easy to reach. The TV series One Man and His Dog has brought the art of sheepdog trialling into the living rooms of people who wouldn’t otherwise have known anything about it and this year’s event will give people the opportunity to experience it for themselves."
This year’s event also features a Food and Country Festival and has Welsh Government First Minister Carwyn Jones as President. The wonderful location at Redlands Farm, Bonvilston, is just a short drive from Cardiff and the airport.
The competition is expected to be hotly contested, but Wales has a very proud history of hosting and competing in the International and has won four of the last five Supreme Championships. The 2011 winner in Scotland was Welshman Eirian Morgan with his dog, Spot and Welshman Kevin Evans and his dog Mirk were crowned Supreme Champions the last time Wales hosted the International in 2008.
The trials have an impressive list of sponsors, including the Welsh Government, the Vale of Glamorgan council, Tesco, Gilbertson and Page.
Note: The original objective of the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS) to secure the better management of stock by improving the shepherd's dog remains. The Society was founded in 1906 in Haddington, East Lothian (Scotland), with the intention of stimulating interest in the shepherd and his/her calling. The International Sheep Dog Trial has been held annually since 1906, with the exception of the war years (1915-1918 and 1939-1945), and 2001 ( Foot and Mouth Disease).
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